In April of last year, Intel and Micron announced they were moving to a 20nm process for NAND flash production. With it came the promise of chips that are 40% smaller than the previous 25nm versions, meaning higher memory production, cheaper manufacturing costs, and lower power consumption. We also can’t forget this paves the way for larger memory cards and SSDs to start shipping.
The move to a 20nm process has proved successful with Micron announcing on December 6 that mass production of 64Gb 20nm NAND parts has begun. Even more impressive is the fact that 128GB devices have also started being produced in small quantities, which is a world first.
128GB parts not only double the storage of the more common 64GB NAND, they also increase performance. In real terms it means Micron and Intel can store 1 Terabit of data on a fingertip, and therfore should bring down the cost of production once again. For consumers it will mean cheaper storage and/or larger storage capacities for their memory cards and SSDs.
In real terms a 128GB device translates into 16GB of storage. 8 of those die can be combined to form a single memory chip carrying 128GB of memory. So 128GB memory cards will definitely become more widely available in the near future, as will SSDs containing a significantly higher amounts of storage in the same form factor.
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Mass production of 64GB parts this month will be followed with 128GB samples becoming available in January next year. We should see 128GB devices entering mass production in the first half of next year. Hopefully that means much higher capacity flash storage devices before the end of 2012, and prices for existing drives falling rapidly.