Hynix mass produces 20nm NAND chips

Korean memory master Hynix has squeezed the size of its NAND transistors all the way down to a piddly 20nm, and the semiconductor firm says flash chips based on the new tech are already in the mass production phase.

Hynix isn't the first memory maker to jump on the 20nm train; its fellow South Korean rival Samsung announced it was sampling its first 20nm chips back in April. However, Hynix says it first started developing the technology back in February 2009, and this is the first news we've had about mass production of 20nm NAND chips.

According to Hynix, the intricately engineered chips are currently being pressed at its 300mm fabrication plant in Cheongju. Like Samsung, the top capacity of the new chips is 64Gb (8GB), providing double the capacity of Hynix's current 32Gb (4GB) chips, which are fabricated on a 30nm process.

The company's executive vice president and chief technology officer, Dr S. W. Park, says the chips will be mainly targeted at mobile devices, including smartphones and tablet PCs.

In addition to the memory, Hynix has also announced a deal with Israeli NAND specialist Anobit, which sees Anobit providing a controller for Hynix's NAND memory. According to Hynix, the resulting combination is a reliable storage system that's also "high speed". The controller will be paired up with Hynix's current 30nm NAND chips initially, but will be partnered with the 20nm chips when they're available.

Hynix's new 20nm NAND chips are scheduled to become available in September 2010.