Micron releases smallest 128Gbit flash chip

Triple-level cell NAND chip 25% smaller than previous NAND chip

Micron Technology today introduced the industry's densest 128Gbit NAND flash memory device utilizing its 20-nanometer (nm) process technology and packing three bits of data per cell into the chip.

Three-bit flash technology is referred to as triple-level-cell (TLC), a highly compact storage medium compared with far more common, two-bit, multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash. The most expensive, highest performance and longest lasting NAND flash is single-level cell (SLC) flash.

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A 20nm NAND flash die.

Micron's new chip measures 12mm x 12mm, and it is more than 25% smaller than the same capacity of Micron's 20nm multi-level-cell (MLC) NAND device. The 128Gb TLC device is targeted at the low-cost removable storage market (flash cards and USB drives), which is projected to consume 35% of total NAND gigabytes in calendar 2013, according to research firms.

Micron is now sampling the 128Gb TLC NAND device with select customers; it will be in production in second quarter of calendar 2013.

"This is the industry's smallest, highest-capacity NAND flash memory device, empowering a new class of consumer storage applications," said Glen Hawk, vice president of Micron's NAND Solutions Group.

Micron is presenting a paper on the 128Gbit TLC NAND device at the upcoming International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) on Feb. 19 in San Francisco.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at  @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

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