Micron puts 34 nm flash memory into mass production

Boise (ID) – We may be seeing the next capacity jump in memory cards soon, as Micron today announced that it has begun mass production of 34 nm NAND flash memory chips, resulting in 16 Gb and 32 Gb devices that should pave the way to 16 GB mainstream cards as well as 64 GB cards on the high end.

Micron said that its new 32 Gb multi-level cell (MLC) NAND chip is 17% smaller than its first-generation 32 Gb chip, while the 16 Gb chip has an area size of just 84 mm2. The company said it is also sampling higher-performance 8- and 16 Gb single-level cell (SLC) NAND chips using the 34 nm process. The first commercial products to use the new chips are Lexar’s Platinum II 32 GB Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC(tm)) memory card and the Lexar 16 GB microSDHC mobile memory card. The 34 nm process should lead the way to memory cards with a capacity of at least 64 GB on the high-end.

According to Micron, the new chips integrate an ONFI 2.1 synchronous interface that delivers transfer speeds of up to 200 MB/s. In comparison, traditional SLC NAND is limited to 40 MB/s. The company said that the interface will allow manufacturers to design products that deliver twice the throughput of today’s existing SATA 3 Gb/s solutions.

For the average consumer the new product means that we should be seeing the mainstream flash capacity to increase from today’s 4-8 GB to 8–16 GB. 32 GB SDHC cards are currently the high-end, with prices typically north of $100. The new flash memory generation should bring those prices down quickly.