25-nm flash starts sampling at IM Flash Technologies

IM Flash Technologies, the joint venture between Intel and Micron, has hit yet another process technology milestone. AnandTech reports that the firm is now sampling its first 25-nm device, a 2-bit-per-cell, multi-level-cell NAND flash memory chip with a 64Gb (8GB) capacity.

The chip has a die size of 167 mm²—reportedly about 5 mm² smaller than IMFT's 34-nm, 4GB chip, which forms the basis for Intel's second-generation X25-M solid state drives. Those SSDs are currently available in 80GB and 160GB flavors, but as AnandTech notes, third-gen X25-Ms built on the new silicon will come with capacities of 160GB, 320GB, and 600GB.

IMFT expects the 25-nm MLC NAND to hit mass production some time next quarter. Intel, meanwhile, has 25-nm X25-M SSDs on its roadmap for the fourth quarter of the year. (For reference, those second-gen X25-Ms only hit the market last summer. Firmware issues did force the company to halt shipments for a few weeks shortly thereafter, though.)

The 25-nm device. Source: Intel.

According to AnandTech, IMFT believes its 34-nm process put it roughly six months ahead of the competition. With the new, 25-nm NAND, that lead time has purportedly grown to an entire year. Staying ahead of the competition on the manufacturing front has been a key ingredient of Intel's success in the processor market, and it looks like IMFT is operating along similar guidelines.

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