IMFT hits flash density high with 20nm 128Gb die

Intel Micron Flash Technologies, the joint partnership between two companies whose names you can probably guess, has announced the creation of the first 128Gb MLC NAND chips based on a 20nm process size, opening the doors to 2TB laptop SSDs.

While solid-state storage systems have plenty of advantages over traditional spinning disks - not least of which is near-instantaneous random access and high sustained performance figures - its chief advantage is size: individual SSD chips are tiny and surprisingly capacious, making them perfect for smartphones and other embedded devices.

Currently, however, it remains the case that users looking for high-capacity storage for a laptop or desktop - in 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch form factors - are better off sticking with traditional storage devices, while those aiming for speed should plump for an SSD.

IMFT's latest breakthrough, however, could mean that you no longer have to make that distinction: with the company able to cram eight of its 20nm silicon creations, each offering 128Gb capacity, into a single chip package, it would be possible to create 1TB 2.5-inch SSDs using just eight such chips - or to create a 2TB drive by doubling up the numbers.

The result: a drive that offers the same capacity as a traditional disk in the same form factor, but with lightning-fast seek times and hundreds of megabytes per second transfer rates.

There are a couple of caveats here, however: IMFT has admitted that the technology isn't quite ready for mass production with parent companies Intel and Micron both stating that they won't be using the silicon in shipping products until 2013 at the earliest, while the company is also somewhat reticent to discuss price.