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Micron move heralds Intel 320GB SSD

Waves around own 34nm process NAND

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With Intel rumoured to be set to raise its SSD capacity up to 320GB through a shrink to a 34nm process, its Flash partner Micron has introduced - guess what - NAND chips using a 34nm process.

Micron has just announced a net loss of $290m for its third fiscal 2009 quarter, on net sales of $1.1bn.

Intel and Micron own a joint-venture, Intel Micron Flash Technologies, which manufactures NAND chips. Micron has now announced mass-production of 16Gb and 32Gb two-bits-per-cell multi-level cell (MLC) chips using the new 34nm process, and is sampling faster 8Gb and 16Gb single-level cell (SLC) chips.

Micron says both 16 and 32Gb products feature an ONFI 2.1 synchronous interface that delivers transfer speeds of up to 200MB/s: "The fastest read and write throughputs offered in today’s NAND devices." Customers can expect this high-speed interface to be designed into all future high-density Micron NAND products.

Micron subsidiary Lexar Media is offering flash memory cards, such as a 32GB Platinum II SDHC memory card, and USB flash drives using the new 34nm process chips.

The Micron results statement said: "Revenue from sales of NAND Flash products was flat in the third quarter compared to the second quarter. Significant cost reductions in NAND Flash production contributed to comparably lower average selling prices to Intel Corporation, the company’s IM Flash joint venture partner.

"However, the effects of these lower average selling prices to Intel were offset by an overall 20 per cent increase in NAND Flash sales volume and a significant increase in average selling prices to all other trade customers."

This backs up the idea that what Micron is doing now with its 34nm process Intel must surely be ready to follow. ®

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