This breakthrough in process technology will mean that there will be cheaper, higher capacity Flash memory coming to the market later this year. The technology developed by Intel Micron Flash Technologies (IMFT) is a significant step over other companies currently developing relatively larger processes, ranging from 24-28nm. This can reduce die size by 30 to 40% compared to IMFT's current 25nm 8GB devices versus 8GB 20nm devices, the latter of which has a die size of 118mm² compared to 167mm² at 25nm.
a comparison of two 32GB devices at 34nm against a 64GB device on each 25nm and 20nm respectively
The current 20nm 8GB samples are pre-production but IMFT have said that the 20nm has comparible performance and endurance to the 25nm NAND. As the process develops IMFT should expect to gain greater quality and stability to be ready for market use.
"Our goal is to enable instant, affordable access to the world's information," said Tom Rampone, vice president and general manager, Intel Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group. "Industry-leading NAND gives Intel the ability to provide the highest quality and most cost-effective solutions to our customers, generation after generation. The Intel-Micron joint venture is a model for the manufacturing industry as we continue to lead the industry in process technology and make quick transitions of our entire fab network to smaller and smaller lithographies."
While the benefits are clear, such as more accessable and attractive solid state drives and saved space in portable devices for other components, it remains unseen if people will be happy at the cheaper prices, or if the well informed choose a more stable and proven manufacturing process. One thing is for sure, due to the delicate nature of secure data storage, the increase of instability within smaller manfacturing processes will help develop the attitude that 'technology is disposable', allowing companies to milk the consumer cash cow.
Maybe one day the cost of these disposable items will be negligable. Maybe one day manufacturers will be responsible for recycling the waste they cause too!
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