Today Intel divested itself of a portion of the assets of IMFT, the joint venture NAND flash manufacturing arm it shares with Micron Technology. This is an effort by Intel to groom the business to better suit Intel’s evolving vision of its role in the NAND flash business.
One memory chip was so important that it was presented three times at this week’s International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) and that was the Toshiba/SanDisk 128Gb NAND flash. This chip was shown by Eli Harari in Monday’s keynote, then was featured twice in the Wednesday afternoon Nonvolatile Memories session – once by Toshiba and once by SanDisk.
The NAND chip, measuring 170.6mm², is said by both companies to be the densest NAND available. Compared to the Intel/Micron 64Gb 20nm NAND at 118mm², the device gives twice the bits in a 45% larger die area, so the companies’ claim rings true, since the only other NAND makers: Samsung and Hynix, have processes that fall far behind at 27nm and 26nm respectively.
The annual International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) is a gathering in which the brightest minds in semiconductors come to meet and share the results of their recent research and development efforts. This year the four keynotes at the opening plenary centered on a “Green” outlook, through Storage, Control, Computing, and Energy.
Naturally, as “The Memory Guy,” I focused all of my attention upon the storage keynote, given by SanDisk’s recently-retired CEO Eli Harari. Some of the more interesting points I came away with were: Continue reading “Harari Delivers Inspiring Keynote at ISSCC”
A few articles at Computerworld, Tom’s Hardware, and The Verge were recently passed my way. These reported on a paper presented at last week’s USENIX conference that predicted how NAND flash’s future performance declines would impact tomorrow’s SSDs.
The paper found that SSD performance is likely to decrease over time as SSDs increase in capacity. The report postulates that SSDs of the future: “may be too slow and unreliable to be competitive against disks of similar cost in enterprise applications.”
Sadly, the Tom’s Hardware and Verge articles focused more on one of the assumptions behind the paper Continue reading “NAND SSD Performance to Decline over Time”
Macronix, a company known for its leadership in mask ROMs and low-density NOR flash has just entered the NAND flash market. This adds a new player to a very small pool of competitors: Samsung, Toshiba, SanDisk, Hynix, Intel, and Micron.
The company’s first NAND products are SLC chips of two densities: 512Mb and 1Gb. Compare this to the offerings of the market’s other participants which range up to 256Gb. Spot price tracker InSpectrum doesn’t even track pricing of densities below 4Gb!
There still seems to be a good market for these low-density parts: According to WSTS Continue reading “New NAND Player: Macronix”
Today Micron CEO Steve Appleton was killed in an airplane accident. Objective Analysis has issued an alert to our clients and subscribers giving details of the wreck, Appleton’s contributions to the company, and some thoughts on the company’s succession. The Alert can be viewed by visiting the Objective Analysis Reports page.
Most of all my thoughts and sympathies go to Appleton’s family and his former co-workers, all of whom are mourning his death. Although we realize that Mr. Appleton will be missed, but we know that Micron will continue to follow the path set up by Appleton’s predecessor, Micron founder Jerry Parkinson, to maintain its position as one of the leading memory chip suppliers.
Micron Technology and Intel announced today (6 December, 2011) that the two companies are sampling a 128 gigabit (that’s 16 gigabytes) NAND flash chip manufactured by the company’s IMFT joint venture.
This is a doubling of the capacity of the 64Gb chip the companies announced in April, but they assure us that the size of the die hasn’t doubled, and the accompanying photo supports this. Intel tells us that the die will fit into standard BGA and TSOP packages. Continue reading “Micron, Intel, Introduce 128Gb NAND Chip”
The panelists were:
- Troy Winslow, director of product and channel marketing for the Intel NAND group
- Radoslav Danilak, SandForce founder and now CEO of StorCloud
Here are mine:
- Enterprise SSDs will be used in all data centers
- There is still a lot of growth in NAND
- Controllers will get more sophisticated
- System software will be designed for NAND first
- Tablet PCs will morph into newer devices
- Not everyone can be a successful SSD supplier
- NOR has a long future in code storage
- NAND in PCs is a threat to DRAM, not HDDs
- The death of flash is not imminent
- SSDs in PCs will lose out to NAND + HDD
Over ten future posts I will elaborate on these. As I do I will add hot links to the list above to guide readers to these predictions. If any of the hot links are inactive, come back later and check again.
Many are detailed in reports on the Objective Analysis Reports page.