Thursday, May 29, 2008

Intel and Micron Leapfrog the Competition

Intel and Micron announced today that it will be sampling a 34nm 32Gb MLC NAND flash to customers in June with production slated for the second half of 2008. Owing to the aggressive gate half-pitch, immersion lithography with self-aligned double patterning employing spacers is most likely being used. Also expect changes in the bitline and wordline materials as well as a higher k interpoly dielectric in comparison to the 50nm generation.

At 172mm2, Intel-Micron's 32Gb product will be the only 32Gb monolithic MLC device capable of fitting in a TSOP package. If the ramp of IMFT's 50nm 16Gb device is any guide, we should expect to see volume in December or in early Q1/09. It's quite remarkable that Intel-Micron have managed to catch up and surpass the other NAND flash vendors on process technology in the short span of three years. IMFT achieved this milestone by skipping the 6xnm and 4xnm nodes. However, any cost advantage could be short-lived if IMFT fails to ramp up the technology smoothly and SanDisk/Toshiba ramps its 43nm 32Gb x3 in Q1/09 as planned.