FLASH MEMORY DUO Sandisk and Toshiba have one-upped rivals Intel and Micron by announcing that they will produce NAND flash memory chips using a 19nm process node.
Sandisk and manufacturing partner Toshiba announced that they will be sampling a 64Gb 2-bits-per-cell NAND flash chip fabbed at the 19nm process node this quarter. The move trumps an announcement made last week by IM Flash, a joint venture between Intel and Micron, in which it announced production of 20nm NAND flash chips.
Sandisk has said that it expects the 19nm 64Gb NAND flash chips to enter high-volume production in the second half of 2011. As is common with these announcements, Sandisk revealed that just as these chips hit full production speed, it will start sampling 3-bits-per-cell units on the same process node.
While Sandisk was revealing future plans, Toshiba outlined possible uses for the chips saying it can cobble together 16 65Gb chips in one package to produce 128GB drives for use in smartphones and tablets. Just like IM Flash before it, Sandisk said that shrinking NAND flash chips down to 19nm does not sacrifice reliability.
The pace of development in NAND flash has been picking up, fuelled by demand from smartphone and tablet manufacturers. The ever smaller process nodes are currently being used to increase capacity rather than decrease power usage.
Devices sporting Sandisk and Toshiba's latest chips should tip up at the tail end of the year, though expect them to appear first in more expensive, high-end devices. µ