Feeds

Flash chip makers promise bigger, cheaper SSDs

Intel and Micron go 25nm

Reducing security risks from open source software

Chip giant Intel and its Flash-making friend Micron have begun producing solid-state storage chippery at the 25nm 'node', a move that will boost storage capacities and cut costs to consumers.

During 2009, Intel released its first solid-state drives (SSDs) based on 34nm Flash chips produced by the subsidiary it jointly owns with Micron.

The smaller the node, the more transistors chip makers can cram onto a standard 300mm wafer - the circular sheets of silicon on which chips are engraved and then sliced out as individual products for packaging.

Not all of chips punched from each wafer work, of course. So fine are the lines of circuitry within each chip - be it memory, Flash or microprocessor - that glitches are inevitable. Chips are tested and the duff ones destroyed. The number of working ones is called the yield, and it's the goal of every chip maker to increase their yields.

The cost of a wafer produced at a given process node is the same, so the fewer chips you need to throw away, the more you can sell. And the more chips you can etch into a wafer the better, too. This increases the likelihood of a given chip being good after its been cut out of the wafer.

New production nodes take time to 'bed in', so yields tend to be low at the start and improve over time. But once 25nm is up and running, it won't be long before the combination of greater numbers of Flash chips to start with, plus better and better yields, lead to cheaper chips - and so, in turn, cheaper SSDs.

Estimates put the price of 25nm Flash at about $0.50 (£0.32) per gigabyte - assuming all the chips are good. The price for 45nm Flash is $1.75 (£1.10) per gigabyte.

And because the Flash chips are smaller, SSD makers can cram more into the same space, upping drive storage capacities.

It takes 64 34nm chips to make a 256GB SSD. The same drive can be made with only 32 25nm chips. So you can have cheaper 256GB SSDs or opt for pricier - but not double the price - 512GB SSDs.

Intel and Micron are producing sample chips now, but hope to begin mass-production in Q2. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Child diagnosed as allergic to iPad
Apple's fondleslab is the tablet dermatitis sufferers won't want to take
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
For Lenovo US, 8-inch Windows tablets are DEAD – long live 8-inch Windows tablets
Reports it's killing off smaller slabs are greatly exaggerated
Seventh-gen SPARC silicon will accelerate Oracle databases
Uncle Larry's mutually-optimised stack to become clearer in August
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Big Blue Apple: IBM to sell iPads, iPhones to enterprises
iOS/2 gear loaded with apps for big biz ... uh oh BlackBerry
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.