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New 20nm class NAND is 30 percent faster than existing 30nm NAND

NAND flash memory seems to be invading nearly every electronic devices that we use today. Everything from cameras to smartphones to notebook computers to digital media players make use of the storage technology.

So it should come as no surprise that companies are always looking to new process technologies to not only lower the cost of production for NAND flash memory, but also to improve performance and storage densities.

Samsung has made an announcement today that should be sweet music to photographers and smartphone users around the globe. The Seoul, Korea-based company has announced the production of 20nm class MLC NAND flash memory for use in Secure Digital (SD) cards and smartphone storage. The new 20nm class NAND will usher in the mainstream use of 32Gb MLC NAND and will result in storage devices ranging from 4GB to 64GB.

"In just one year after initiating 30nm-class NAND production, Samsung has made available the next generation node 20nm-class NAND, which exceeds most customers requirements for high-performance, high-density NAND-based solutions," said Soo-In Cho, president, Memory Division, Samsung Electronics. "The new 20nm-class NAND is not only a significant step forward in process design, but we have incorporated advanced technologies into it to enable substantial performance innovation."

According to Samsung, SD cards based on new 20nm class technology will be 30 percent faster than the company's existing 30nm-class products. In addition, the new 20nm class devices will be capable of 20MB/sec read speeds and 10MB/sec write speeds (Class 10 speed rating).

Samsung hopes to have full production-spec modules running off the assembly line later this year.

Samsung made headlines late last week over concerns that some of its plants have been linked to cases of leukemia in workers.

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By Smartless on 4/19/2010 3:04:30 PM , Rating: 3
At this rate, flash memory will outpace hard drive technology for size. More space for more porn. Oh wait these are mostly for cameras. More space for making your own porn?

RE: Wow....
By DanNeely on 4/19/2010 3:09:44 PM , Rating: 2
For now at least. Flash is ramping process rates faster than CPU's because it's a simpler circuit. Unfortunately the amount of power needed to erase a cell doesn't shrink with the process; as a result flash is going to hit a wall it can't shrink beyond because the smaller wires it produces would melt under the needed current at larger process than what conventional logic chips are expected to be able to shrink to.

RE: Wow....
By Alexstarfire on 4/19/2010 3:40:15 PM , Rating: 3
I'm sure we'll figure out something to do when we get to that point. If there is one thing humans are good at it's ingenuity.

RE: Wow....
By AssBall on 4/19/2010 3:40:26 PM , Rating: 3
This is true, Dan, but when you can fit twice as many in the same form factor, for half the price, erasing cells becomes less important. It seems that it is already to the point where this stuff is cheap enough that it is thought of as disposable. It might as well be write-once memory. I'll try to explain what I mean.

For many people, if they even can; by the time they fill up 32GB of NAND, they are more than willing and ready to just buy a newer, bigger cheaper card (or whatever form-factor). Not all professional photographers and the like would agree, obviously, but they certainly don't use flash memory as casually as the rest of us. You could make an argument with high definition video storage too, but you'd normally have an even cheaper (per GB) 2-4 terabyte mechanical/magnetic drive setup for that.

RE: Wow....
By Calin on 4/20/2010 2:20:33 AM , Rating: 2
Professional photographers (and wanna be) burn thru storage, as they shoot their pictures in native camera format. It's one thing to shoot compressed JPEGs at 1-2 MB an image, and another thing to shoot a 50 MB uncompressed image.

RE: Wow....
By B3an on 4/20/2010 10:01:51 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah i agree, if anything, pro photographers like myself go through Flash memory faster than most people.
I would still like the see larger than 64GB though. A RAW (uncompressed) 21mp image with my camera can take upto 25MB each. And shooting a 1080p movie can eat up 1GB+ for about 10mins footage.

RE: Wow....
By Silver2k7 on 4/21/2010 3:14:22 AM , Rating: 2
2600+ images on a single cf card isnt enough ?
I would hardly ever think of taking so many picutres in a day..
perhaps if doing manual focus macro all day..

But I guess the only reason for wanting larger cf cards would be for shooting video.

RE: Wow....
By SAnderson on 4/19/2010 3:54:59 PM , Rating: 5
Wrong. FLASH based on the CMOS transistor will NEVER EVER pass a HDD in Cost/GB. Never. The lithography path ends in a few years with nothing in place as of now to take its place past Double Patterning with Immersion. ~$900-1000 per wafer, 85-90% yield (when fully matured), ~400 die per wafer at 64Gb (25nm) thats ~$3 per die so $24 for 64GB. Every new process node doubles the density for about the same die per wafer but cost per wafer is going to go up due to the use of more and more immersion levels.

RE: Wow....
By Breathless on 4/19/2010 3:58:49 PM , Rating: 3
well, poop on you

RE: Wow....
By AssBall on 4/19/2010 4:20:50 PM , Rating: 2
It may never pass magnetic disk tech in terms of $/GB. That probably will be less of a factor than it used to be really soon, however. These newer processes can run CMOS at incredibly high frequencies, making data just next to INSTANTLY available compared to mechanical/magnetic tech. As our software constantly increases in capability and demand, so does our data. Data transfer rates to the storage medium thusly become much more significant.

At some point you have to ask yourself how speed/time factors into storage costs when looking at overall value.

Or you can try to watch your future digital 16 GB HD 3D content with 12.21313412314 dolby surround and all sorts of god knows what standards and features from a tape (tapes are even cheaper $/GB than HDD's). Good luck with that.

RE: Wow....
By MGSsancho on 4/19/2010 8:24:46 PM , Rating: 2
You make a good point that maybe in the future movies wont be delivered on optical disc and possible on drives. but with quad layered blu ray disc at 100GB (yes I know there are 200 still in labs)

I think what we will see is more use of hybrid storage. Disc for long-term storage and for density, NAND flash for intermediate and caching. L1, L2, L3 and DRAM have been used in processors for years and we are now getting more used to varying storage for general use. current recommendation are still a SSD for your OS and a magnetic disc for media. maybe we will see fast SSDs for OS, moderate SSDs for apps and disc for media? maybe simply having more RAM and OSes getting better at caching frequently used apps along with intelligent disc IO (vista started this?) Meanwhile we have file systems that can use tiered storage (ZFS) at our disposal.

However optical disc for content deliver will still be used for its quality and price to distribute. Pressing disc is cheap once you recover the R&D cost (this applies to all tech and we know this.) Cost of physically driving trucks and all that jazz to current brick-and-mortar establishments is a cost we don't know. People still want to higher quality and the have the physical media to play on offline devices so they will still be around IMO. Unless we have better internet connections we wont be getting the bit rates we see of current blu ray movies. I think optical (holographic maybe) disc will still be here for full content for quality and we will see more stuff streamed. Yes I know modern cables boxes has IP address, usually connect at 3mb and just stream stuff from your cable company, Yes I know u-verse is really VDSL2 and it picks up multicast streams. There are many streaming services that do not depend on what I call appliances (cable box, u-verse box, ps3, xbox, wii, etc) such as computer applications, browser based solutions and other devices such as boxee that also stream content.

This really comes down to using the right tool for the job. DRAM, non-volatile NAND and magnetic disc of varying sizes/speeds/features will continue to flourish in the markets where they are most applicable. New Technologies will become available to consumers (PRAM?) and it will be delightful to see where they can fit into the memory eco-system.

RE: Wow....
By ianweck on 4/20/2010 2:49:48 PM , Rating: 2
What is the math when foundries start using 450mm wafers? That is only a matter of time, especially if the lithography path "ends" as you say.

Err, what the hell?
By Qapa on 4/19/2010 3:06:39 PM , Rating: 1
Nice news and all but, what the hell has the last sentence:

"Samsung made headlines late last week over concerns that some of its plants have been linked to cases of leukemia in workers."

... anything to do with this news piece??

RE: Err, what the hell?
By bupkus on 4/19/2010 7:19:51 PM , Rating: 1
An incidental note, noticeably left for the end of the article.

RE: Err, what the hell?
By bupkus on 4/19/2010 7:57:36 PM , Rating: 1
Curious that anyone should vote down a statement as innocuous as this. Must be someone who feels personally offended by the slighted hint of criticism. Dude, don't be so sensitive; your ego can't be that fragile?

RE: Err, what the hell?
By AssBall on 4/19/2010 9:25:36 PM , Rating: 4
Sometimes I think people just skip the article and race to the comments so they can exercise their massive superiority with the amazing and all powerful rate down button.

RE: Err, what the hell?
By JKflipflop98 on 4/20/2010 5:41:43 AM , Rating: 2
There ya go. All fixed :)

RE: Err, what the hell?
By JKflipflop98 on 4/20/2010 5:42:41 AM , Rating: 2
LOL wtf? 2 seconds after I see it's gone back to 2, you've been downrated again.

RE: Err, what the hell?
By Dark Legion on 4/21/2010 4:31:32 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, when you rate someone and then reply to the same thread, your rating goes away.

RE: Err, what the hell?
By JKflipflop98 on 4/22/2010 12:26:20 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, but it wasn't me. I just noticed that someone evened him out, then he got downrated again.

RE: Err, what the hell?
By Starcub on 4/20/2010 11:04:46 AM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't have down rated you for it, but I think you missed the mark in calling it incidental. News sites like this generate revenue from advertisers. The greater the hit count on thier stories, the more valuable they are to advertisers.

Not actually on a 20 nm process
By Reikon on 4/19/2010 6:56:25 PM , Rating: 5
Argh. Nobody is getting the details of this news item right.

This is 20 nm CLASS flash, which means 20-something nm. In reality, it's probably 28 nm, not 20 nm.

Samsung was still working on making 22 nm as of last month.

RE: Not actually on a 20 nm process
By jonp on 4/20/2010 10:36:07 AM , Rating: 2
Here is a link that might shed some more light:

"Game reviewers fought each other to write the most glowing coverage possible for the powerhouse Sony, MS systems. Reviewers flipped coins to see who would review the Nintendo Wii. The losers got stuck with the job." -- Andy Marken

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