Intel-Micron 25nm NAND in mass production

Following a sampling programme earlier this year, Intel-Micron Flash Technologies (IMFT) has now announced that the move to 25nm is now in full swing, with the first batches of 25nm NAND chips now entering mass production.

The 8GB chips measure 167mm2, and are based on multi-level cell (MLC) technology with two bits per cell. The move to 8GB chips with tiny 25nm transistors will enable device makers to squeeze a much greater capacity into small devices.

In fact, according to IMFT, it could reduce the chip count by 50 per cent in comparison with previous generations.

IMFT reckons a 256GB solid state drive (SSD), for example, can now be built with just 32 chips, compared with 64 using the previous generation of technology. The partnership also points out that a 32GB smartphone now only needs four chips, and a 16GB flash drive only needs two.

The 25nm chips originally started sampling in February, and it looks as though IMFT is now on schedule to with its promise of mass production in the first half of this year.

Intel and Micron expect the densely-packed chips to be used in a variety of devices, from solid state drives, to USB memory keys, SD cards, MP3 players and camera memory.

Intel and Micron’s NAND-partnership first kicked off in 2006 with a 50nm process, which was followed in 2008 by a 34nm process.

However, it will be interesting to see where IMFT goes after this. Samsung has already started sampling 20nm NAND chips, and Toshiba has also announced plans for sub-25nm flash memory.