IMFT (Intel–Micron Flash Technologies) have successfully produced 25nm MLC NAND flash memory samples, and will start producing them in volume during Q2 2010.
The first 25nm product will be an 8GB (64Gbit) 2 bits per cell MLC NAND flash part, with a die size of only 167mm2. This process has required the use of Immersion lithography, and it is believed that this is the first time that Intel has used Immersion lithography technology.
When we start approaching this type of NAND scaling, the time is getting near where the manufacturing process will reach single figure nm transistors. At this stage we will soon be able to count the atomic particles themselves that make up a single transistor.
Intel themselves have hinted that they will produce a third generation SSD drive later this year, and it seems logical that they will use this 25nm MLC NAND part. At this level of scaling much larger capacity drives are possible without the cost of the drive going through the roof, as capacity increases.
IMFT also believe they will have a substantial lead in the SSD market with the 25nm part, and one can’t argue that point, providing they can get the drive to market on time, at a reasonable cost per Gigabyte.
Don’t be surprised to see these new SSD arrive late in 2010, with 160GB, 320GB, and perhaps 640GB versions available.