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Intel-Micron Joint Venture Develops 25nm NAND

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the greedy-capitalists dept.

Data Storage 121

Ninjakicks writes "IM Flash Technologies is a joint venture between Intel and Micron that is targeted for producing NAND flash memory. With a focus on R&D, IMFT has doubled NAND density approximately every 18 months. Tomorrow IMFT will announce the launch of their 25 nanometer NAND technology — a major advancement in the semiconductor industry. Intel and Micron can now lay claim to the smallest production ready-semiconductor process technology in the world. IMFT took members of the press on a tour of the new 25nm fab and it's an interesting view into this bleeding-edge manufacturing process."

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Rall's Law intervenes (1, Troll)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976258)

The dielectric properties of Gallium could make these new fabs casualties of Rall's law: that the semi-current entropy increases inversely proportional to n*log(n) of the gate width. Einstein was right after all.

Re:Rall's Law intervenes (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30976340)

Thats not the case if you use a high-fraternity flux capacitor. I've heard the prazatonic implementation of intergalactical space bizanium will allow you to propate the quadraceptic meld process down to 0.2nm.

Re:Rall's Law intervenes (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30976468)

Actually, it is the case. You just have to reverse the polarity of the neutron flow.

Re:Rall's Law intervenes (2, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976760)

The trouble is you have to keep the computer travelling at faster than 88 miles per hour.

Re:Rall's Law intervenes (1)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976780)

Generating polarized neutron beams in a standard hard disk form factor is probably not practical.

Re:Rall's Law intervenes (2, Insightful)

frieko (855745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976872)

Duh... shrink ray!

Re:Rall's Law intervenes (1)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#30979218)

No good, if you shrink the neutrons they turn into neutrinos and leak out all over the place.

Re:Rall's Law intervenes (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#30977046)

Yes, but you have to be careful and *not* cross the streams.

Re:Rall's Law intervenes (2, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30977762)

Especially Realplayer streams.

Re:Rall's Law intervenes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30976502)

I hate to correct you here, but equilibrium is dependent upon factors of e, therefore the propation must be the 4th Fibonacci value derivation of the meld process. This means that we are looking at a biceptic meld process not a quadraceptic meld process. On the other hand, alternative perflutenials provide for seventh and tenth derivations as well, meaning that Octoceptic and Triacontakaitetraceptic meld processes are potentially mastenkrotic (though quite unlikely!)

Re:Rall's Law intervenes (4, Funny)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 4 years ago | (#30977110)

I hate to correct you here, but equilibrium is dependent upon factors of e, therefore the propation must be the 4th Fibonacci value derivation of the meld process.

You're joking, right? I thought everybody knew that Fibonacci values were bilaterally stochiocentric and corrupted the Van der Waals stress index at the third integral. How are you going to poststratify the gnomon clatch that way? Gods you're such a n00b.

Re:Rall's Law intervenes (4, Funny)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 4 years ago | (#30977400)

How are you going to poststratify the gnomon clatch that way?

I use a hammer for that.

Re:Rall's Law intervenes (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30977778)

42.

Re:Rall's Law intervenes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30976514)

YMMV depending on use of bunny ears.

Re:Rall's Law intervenes (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30977482)

Thats not the case if you use a high-fraternity flux capacitor. I've heard the prazatonic implementation of intergalactical space bizanium will allow you to propate the quadraceptic meld process down to 0.2nm.

Just like over-inflating a balloon....

Re:Rall's Law intervenes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30977562)

Excellent troll. I actually tried to understand this word salad for a few minutes.

Great News (3, Interesting)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976260)

This is sorely needed to bring down costs for SSD's. The price and capacities available are coming down at a disappointingly slow pace.

Re:Great News (4, Informative)

rm999 (775449) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976392)

I think more troubling in the SSD market has been poor design at the low end (see http://www.anandtech.com/printarticle.aspx?i=3531 [anandtech.com] for more detail). 150 dollars for a 64 GB SSD is fine, but when random write speed is an order of magnitude slower than a standard hard drive that costs an order of magnitude less, something is severely wrong.

Early adopters such as myself got pretty screwed over. Until consumers can trust the technology, I don't think price matters. Manufacturers need to put effort into building a high quality product first - they need to design good controllers and firmware.

Re:Great News (4, Interesting)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976566)

Those JMicron drives were absolutely horrible - 4KiB of SRAM cache, later doubled to 8KiB? Even Intel's lowest end SSDs have 256KiB, plus another 32MiB of RAM for caching the locations of free spots to write files.

Oh, btw - the cache has to be SRAM so that if the power goes out, it can write the files when it comes back on. SSDs absolutely must have a RAM cache so that they can efficiently locate places to write files, or they will stall while the controller tries to locate one. That's why the low end controllers perform so horribly in random write.

But now even the worst controllers aren't too bad. If I remember right JMicron's newest low-end controller has 128KiB of cache, and there are cheap Intel knockoff SSDs coming out that perform decently. (same controller, but less RAM cache and less space) If what you want is blazing fast loadtimes in games, they aren't bad options, but they're still slower than a fast HDD and have way less space.

Re:Great News (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976580)

http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=49278&vpn=OCZSSD2-2SLD30G&manufacture=OCZ%20Technology&promoid=1210 [ncix.com]

30GB OCZ Indilinx drive for a little over $100 CAD. Not a bad option, but not much space.

Re:Great News (1)

haruchai (17472) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976798)

As I found out when running Windows 7 on a Patriot Warp v2, 30GB is not enough. Unless you spend some time stripping
the OS down to barebones, you'll quickly run out of space. And forget about hibernate if you have lots of RAM.
Even with fast SSD booting, there are times when you'll want to save your programs state rather then start it up all over again.

Re:Great News (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30976886)

Fighting for peace is like fucking for chastity

This has always bothered me. Do you know of another way to produce more virgins?

Re:Great News (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976936)

Don't run your OS off it then. Install three or four games that you play quite a bit.

It is an option. You just have to factor the lack of space in.

Re:Great News (3, Informative)

haruchai (17472) | more than 4 years ago | (#30977106)

It would help if Windows would allow you to put the hiberfil.sys file on a different drive but you can't even move it to a different partition on the same drive.

Re:Great News (1)

OzBeserk (654927) | more than 4 years ago | (#30979222)

http://www.mydellmini.com/forum/windows-7/2441-windows-7-ultimate-solid-state-drive-speed-tweaks.html [mydellmini.com] has a list of tweaks for windows on a SSD. Amongst them is disabling hibernate on the assumption that you're start up time is good enough.

Disclaimer: I've came across this researching SSD's before I buy & haven't tried it yet. Thought it might help you.

Re:Great News (1)

riT-k0MA (1653217) | more than 4 years ago | (#30977988)

3 or 4 games?
Obviously you have never installed Crysis...

Re:Great News (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#30978248)

No, I only play fun games. :P

I figured, one 12GB game, two 6-8GB games, and a 2-4GB one. But I suppose depending on what you play, it could be 2 to 150 games.

Re:Great News (0, Offtopic)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30977258)

Oh, btw - the cache has to be SRAM so that if the power goes out, it can write the files when it comes back on. SSDs absolutely must have a RAM cache so that they can efficiently locate places to write files, or they will stall while the controller tries to locate one. That's why the low end controllers perform so horribly in random write.

lol wut.

Re:Great News (2, Informative)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30977792)

Oh, btw - the cache has to be SRAM so that if the power goes out, it can write the files when it comes back on.

SRAM [wikipedia.org] . I do not think it means what you think it means.

Re:Great News (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#30978240)

Poor wording on my part.

Before I got a UPS, I had my power cut out or surge from time to time. On two separate occasions files were being written when my computer shut off, and got stuck in a strange not-a-file not-a-dir state. The files and their parent folders could not be deleted, but I could format the partition to clear them. One happened to be in my temp folder, which is how I first discovered the issue.

As long as power is restored shortly, SSDs are supposed to complete the write... or is that only server grade ones? Either way, SRAM holds data longer than DRAM, so if the controller is programmed to, there's a chance it'll work.

Re:Great News (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30979606)

Server-grade disks are intended for use in RAID configurations, so they need the cache to be battery-backed because otherwise they suffer from the write hole problem (write to one disk, power goes out, stripe is inconsistent). Often, the server grade disks will have no cache at all (which makes them a terrible choice for home users), because the server grade RAID controller will have a big, battery-backed, cache.

All drives, mechanical and SSD, exhibit the problem you are describing. This is why we've had journaling filesystems for the past decade or so.

Re:Great News (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 4 years ago | (#30979540)

SRAM is not persistent, it doesn't survive power outages.

It's called 'static' because it doesn't need to be refreshed.

Re:Great News (3, Insightful)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976692)

I think in that case, the hardware vendors simply released a product that wasn't ready for prime time. Possibly to try to recoup R&D costs. I can't imagine that they weren't aware of the performance issue with invalid page data.

Larger capacities made possible by this 25nm technology should help to alleviate the issue somewhat, or at least extend the time before it becomes noticeable. That plus support for the TRIM command should go a long way towards deflecting the issue.

Re:Great News (1)

Waccoon (1186667) | more than 4 years ago | (#30978238)

Near constant studders and stalling? Yeah, I'm sure they weren't aware. My dad bought me an OCZ Apex and it was worse than useless with XP. I have an SSD with a Samsung controller, now. It rocks.

All those USB key drives that fail after a few weeks of usage? ATI drivers with crappy installers? DRM that refuses to work after you use msconifig? Obviously the technology just needs to mature before they get the kinks out.

Re:Great News (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30977214)

That part is mostly fixed, I got a OCZ Vertex (Indilinx controller) and I don't notice any problems. Neither do those with Intel SSDs, as far as I know. The biggest issue is that I checked, and right now it costs more for the Vertex than I paid in April last year. If they could say halve the price, then 30-40GB SSDs would be in the "normal" price range for laptop HDDs, only being much smaller. Then you could talk to people about big vs fast, because it wouldn't add such a huge premium to the cost which is a huge turn-off. Right now you have to be willing to pay quite a lot to make your computer a little faster.

Re:Great News (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30977372)

Things have really changed since that article was published 10 months ago.

Im pretty happy with my OCZ Vertex 60gig on win7. It doesnt have the problems the jmircon based drives have and the prices on them are pretty good. I just saw the 60gig model go for $179 after rebate. Write/read speeds on Win7 are excellent even after you fill up the drive because win7 and the 1.4 firmware support TRIM natively. Now there's a vertex turbo model that gives a 10-20% performance increase.

Its funny how the market is playing itself out. OCZ for the low-end and Intel for the enterprise end. Without TRIM these things are pretty useless.

Re:Great News (1)

Courageous (228506) | more than 4 years ago | (#30977524)

Well. I'm sorry if this is a not-nice comment, but it was pretty obvious as the market developed that the early versions just weren't ready, and what the probable pit falls of the technology were likely to be. I.e., I don't think it took hind sight to know that early adoption was risky.

Re:Great News (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30979250)

Hopefully it's getting better. I bought a couple of these [kingston.com] , 128GB model, and so far I've not been disappointed with read or write speed (in fact it's been snappier than the Seagate I had before). Granted, I'm not running a busy server. As for it not supporting TRIM, oh well, it's half-to-a-third the price of a Corsair, and WinXP which is the OS I put on one of them doesn't even support TRIM.

Re:Great News (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30979628)

150 dollars for a 64 GB SSD is fine

For me the problem isn't the $150 but the 64GB. I'd probably be willing to spend up to $200 for a reasonable SSD for my netbook (which has a hard drive) but I probably won't buy one until it's closer to a dollar a gig, so I can get the space I need to actually do stuff. Performance is nice, but if it's 2-3x faster (real-world), it's worth 2-3x more, not 10x more (current laptop drive to SSD price ratio @160GB @Newegg). That's speaking as someone for whom speed is nice and useful, but not critical.

That's OK, though, that's only a couple more cycles, 2-3 years out, and by then the firmware should be pretty solid too.

Re:Great News (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 4 years ago | (#30979704)

Performance is nice, but if it's 2-3x faster (real-world), it's worth 2-3x more, not 10x more

Nice sentiment, but wrong. A car example: high-end sports cars are about 2-3x faster than a Tata, and cost well over 10x more.

From a business perspective, it can sometimes be worth spending a large amount of money in order to gain a very slight performance advantage.

Re:Great News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30977466)

It won't "bring down costs"; it will increase them. Over a period of YEARS some genuine mass production might amortize all the expense, but consumers will never get to realize the benefit of that because "next year's model" will come along and cut it short (and add more expense all over again). The social benefit of mass production is never fully realized.

Re:Great News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30977814)

History mocks you for that comment.

Re:Great News (1)

Courageous (228506) | more than 4 years ago | (#30977500)

What's happened is that demand has been higher than expected.

Re:Great News (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 4 years ago | (#30978818)

Given that Intels SSD's don't seem to exist at the moment (the X25-E has been unavailable from major European distributors since 10/2009) I'd just like them to make some.

Only 25nm? (4, Funny)

BronsCon (927697) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976262)

If it's only 25nm, how do you use your hand?

Oh! NAND. Gotcha.

Cheap SSDs in my lifetime? (1)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976300)

Maybe?

I want a cool, quiet 300G for 200 dollars. Imagine....a computer needing to cool only the CPU/Chipset.......I can only dream.

Re:Cheap SSDs in my lifetime? (2, Interesting)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976504)

SSD's aren't going to be cheap soon, they have enough advantages over rust that they'll be an overpriced alternative until we stop using rust completely, which is still some time off.

You'll probably never buy a new 300G SSD for 200. You might buy one of a much larger size for $200 because by the time it happens we'll be using MUCH larger drives.

Re:Cheap SSDs in my lifetime? (4, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976608)

Integration and hardware costs keep the cheapest hard drives somewhere around $40 (for new stuff). Someone will be tempted to play in that space with a $20 SSD, at which point people will get out their fingers and determine the per GB cost of the $20 drive and be very unhappy with larger drives that cost much more than that.

Also, in 2007, they were ~$7.50 per GB:

http://www.engadget.com/2007/04/25/ssd-prices-in-freefall-wont-overtake-hard-disks-anytime-soon/ [engadget.com]

Vs less than $3 today (just google it). So the prices haven't come down quite as much as the article predicts, but there are 11 months left in the year, and I made that calculation using an intel drive (which probably carries a slight premium to the market).

Re:Cheap SSDs in my lifetime? (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30979648)

To add another data point to that, I paid £30 for a 128KB flash SSD back around 1994. I'm not sure what the exchange rate was back then, but I'd imagine it was around $50, so that makes it $409,600/GB. That means that the price per GB for flash halved just under 16 times between 1994 and 2007. They've been doubling in capacity per $ more or roughly annually for the as long as they've existed.

Re:Cheap SSDs in my lifetime? (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976592)

I want a cool, quiet 300G for 200 dollars.

For anyone unfamiliar with SSD drives, they are indeed completely silent, but they're definitely not cool. Perhaps best described as moderately warm to the touch. For many, that could translate as "your notebook will still feel too hot".

Re:Cheap SSDs in my lifetime? (1)

haruchai (17472) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976814)

What SSDs are you running? I've a Patriot Warp v2 32GB, an OCZ Solid 60GB and a Kingston V-series 128GB - all run very cool.
If anyone using one of those in a notebook feel that is too hot, they must be from the planet Hoth.

Re:Cheap SSDs in my lifetime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30980784)

Completely silent? What I wouldn't give for that. I hear a high pitched tone coming from my SSD always, and it varies by what kind of activity the drive is performing.

No sir, I don't like it. (0)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976322)

While this may have impressive consequences for the NAND market and for end-user storage solutions, there is a much larger problem which everyone is skirting around. It isn't about how NAND can only be used for storage and not for executable ROM like NOR Flash. It isn't about how stuffing more memory into a smaller space will allow for insanely huge SSD drives in devices ranging from cellphones to television sets.

It's about how Intel is going to leverage their CPU monopoly to take over the Flash memory market. They have not been able to make any headway with their StrataFlash due to their lukewarm support and eventual divestiture of the StrongARM CPU series. So by building this new super-efficient NAND solution, they are positioning their Atom CPU as *the* architecture for embedded systems.

If I were ARM and ARM CPU vendors, I'd be very wary and worried.

Re:No sir, I don't like it. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30976350)

Don't worry, as we speak Rambus is quietly patenting the shit out of everything in this space. A few years from now their patents will pop-up and bring Intel to its knees.

Re:No sir, I don't like it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30976460)

While this may have impressive consequences for the NAND market and for end-user storage solutions, there is a much larger problem which everyone is skirting around. It isn't about how NAND can only be used for storage and not for executable ROM like NOR Flash. It isn't about how stuffing more memory into a smaller space will allow for insanely huge SSD drives in devices ranging from cellphones to television sets.

It's about how Intel is going to leverage their CPU monopoly to take over the Flash memory market. They have not been able to make any headway with their StrataFlash due to their lukewarm support and eventual divestiture of the StrongARM CPU series. So by building this new super-efficient NAND solution, they are positioning their Atom CPU as *the* architecture for embedded systems.

If I were ARM and ARM CPU vendors, I'd be very wary and worried.

That sounds rather paranoid.

Given that Intel happily sells flash devices to all comers, I don't see how their manufacturing a better flash chip means that they are setting up a monopoly for their Atom CPUs.

Have you taken your medication today?

Re:No sir, I don't like it. (1)

bb84 (1301363) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976470)

This is why other companies need to get on this faster. Isn't that the whole purpose of markets, business and competition--to make something better than competitors first? If the ARM manufacturers don't like it, then get up and make something better! Stop bitching about Intel's monopoly and give me another option.

Re:No sir, I don't like it. (1)

Artraze (600366) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976490)

I strongly doubt that... x86 has so much cruft associated with it, it will never be able to hedge ARM out of the market, esp since the later is so entrenched at this point. Do you think cell phone designers want to work with the PCI bus? Chipsets? And what software is available for a non PC-compatible x86 setup?

Anyways, this is all moot anyway: the demand for high density flash is almost entirely in the memory card market. No embedded system realistically needs more than 1GB internal memory (and generally 256M is plenty). For bulk storage, an SD card is not just a good idea, but actually desirable for consumers. There's just no market for some huge flash somehow tightly coupled to a CPU.

Re:No sir, I don't like it. (1)

Artraze (600366) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976540)

It occurred to me just after posting that there would be a decent sized chunk of market in DRMed devices that couldn't allow the use of memory cards, e.g. the iPods. However, there devices are far from being the entirety of the ARM based mobile computers and their switching wouldn't mean anything significant for the market.

Re:No sir, I don't like it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30978172)

The DRM is on the individual files, not the memory, so it's not really because of that. I can think of two main reasons:

1) So you can pay $100 more for extra memory. If you decide to upgrade later, you have to buy a whole new iPod or iPhone.

2) To reduce the number of moving parts. The iPhone/iPod doesn't have a removable battery, either.

Re:No sir, I don't like it. (1, Funny)

socceroos (1374367) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976550)

No embedded system realistically needs more than 640K internal memory

There, fixed that for ya.

Re:No sir, I don't like it. (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976544)

This has nothing to do with Intel's CPU monopoly (which is only really a monopoly in a fairly narrow segment of the CPU market), it has to do with Intel putting a lot of money into process technology. Even when their designs were inferior to AMD's, they remained competitive because they could fab them on a better process and so get higher yields, higher clocks, and lower power consumption for the same chip than AMD.

Intel's SSD products work with anything with a SATA controller, be it ARM, x86, PowerPC, SPARC, or some custom architecture you just wrote to an FPGA. They are not tied to CPUs in any way. NOR flash often is. You quite often get some NOR flash attached to ARM chips for execute-in-place programs, such as the Symbian kernel and apps, freeing up some of main memory.

NAND flash can only be accessed as a block device, so you can't tie it to a CPU at all easily; it has to go through some kind of controller so the OS can pretend that it's a disk. I suppose you could slap a load of DRAM and a separate MMU and DMA controller on it and have something that would look like a big blob of RAM, but the performance characteristics would be horrible to work with.

Re:No sir, I don't like it. (4, Insightful)

mirix (1649853) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976748)

Even when their designs were inferior to AMD's, they remained competitive because they could afford to paid off dell, HP, et al.

Fixed.

Re:No sir, I don't like it. (1)

mirix (1649853) | more than 4 years ago | (#30977650)

s/paid/pay/

Re:No sir, I don't like it. (1)

mako1138 (837520) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976996)

The only time Intel has had an inferior CPU design was the P4 era. And the P4 had _high_ power consumption, in part because the new 90nm process had high leakage currents. They got themselves around that problem by making bigger heatsinks.

Re:No sir, I don't like it. (1)

Courageous (228506) | more than 4 years ago | (#30977554)

Was NetBurst P4? Anyway, whether or not it was or wasn't, NetBurst was inferior. If Core hadn't come out of the Israeli lab, Intel was within 18 months of wholesale defection of HP, Dell, and IBM to AMD. Would have happened sooner if AMD had trustable manufacturing capacity.

C//

Re:No sir, I don't like it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30978798)

Yes, it was. Netburst taught Intel a big lesson about diminishing returns to pipeline depth.

Re:No sir, I don't like it. (2, Interesting)

KillShill (877105) | more than 4 years ago | (#30978006)

Wintel duopoly mean anything to you?

Inte£ was an abusive monopolist long before most people think. Starting back in the late 80's.

They are always treated with kid gloves but M$oft gets no quarter....

It always makes me chuckle when some Linux noob quotes "M$" but running on an Inte£ cpu/video.

Re:No sir, I don't like it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30978384)

I think you should come up with a few more awesome symbols to put in your stuff...something that really sticks it to the man. Maybe it will take a little longer to type stuff out that way and we won't have to read so much of your shit.

Re:No sir, I don't like it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30976866)

Dude, at least nobody will ever accuse you of thinking "inside the box".

I thought my brain goes off in whack direction, but yours, as consistently indicated by your posts, just goes in the direction, let's just say, less travelled.

Something other than NAND? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976474)

Could this process be used to build, say, CPUs?

Re:Something other than NAND? (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976572)

I'm not certain, but I know that Intel plans on using a 22 nm process as the next step after the current 32 nm process that is being used for their newest chips. They've estimated that the first chips using a 22 nm process would be released in the second half of 2011. There may be a technical reason not to use a 25 nm process for CPUs, but if they already have a 22 nm process being developed for CPU usage, there's no point in using a 25 nm process.

Re:Something other than NAND? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30976698)

Fair warning, I didn't read through the whole article, but in general:

No, this won't be directly applicable to CPUs. Microprocessors and memory are two vastly different beasts, on the manufacturing side. Memories are arrays of of the same thing, over and over - neatly organized, same size devices, requiring the same power supply and same operating characteristics. Microprocessors have many different structures, different size transistors for different things, different power supplies, different signaling levels to turn on some transistors and not others. The relative simplicity - really, the relative uniformity - makes memories easier, because you don't have to worry (as much) about balancing the effects of the shrink and the method to shrink across several elements. What's good for some might be bad for others, so the fewer elements you have, the more leeway you have.

That's not to say that this won't have anything to do with CPU development, it's all very inter-related But you can't just start making microprocessors of this dimension because you have working memory.

Re:Something other than NAND? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30976788)

Much more to the point, NAND can tolerate a very high defect rate in the individual cells, whereas a CPU can tolerate almost none (with some defects you can disable a core or some of the cache and still salvage the part). Further, NAND gates operate much much slower than CPU transistors and their operational results are checked against error correcting data. A CPU transistor doesn't have that luxury.

Re:Something other than NAND? (1)

movercast (1037472) | more than 4 years ago | (#30977464)

Defects and resolution are two separate issues. Yes, NAND is much more tolerable to defects because its full of backups and whatnot. But, what does that have to do w/ printing @ 22nm?

Re:Something other than NAND? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30979226)

New process -> high defect rate?

Re:Something other than NAND? (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976728)

A simple answer is no. A longer number is not so simple.

32GB MicroSDHC (1)

Mr.Radar (764753) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976632)

Does this mean we'll finally get 32 gigabyte MicroSDHC cards?

Re:32GB MicroSDHC (1)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976778)

I don't feel like finding a source, but it was my understanding that we'd get 32GB microSDHC cards with the previous (current) technology (35 nm?). I have no idea what the holdup is, though.

Re:32GB MicroSDHC (1)

Asadullah Ahmad (1608869) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976806)

I would certainly hope so. But at the very least it will take a year to get these 25nm ones in the market.

Re:32GB MicroSDHC (2, Informative)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30977938)

Probably soon enough. But if I recall correctly, 2GB was the maximum for SD, and 32GB is the maximum for SDHC cards. After that you need SDXC.

Re:32GB MicroSDHC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30980312)

4GB is maximum for SD, and there was a short time when you could buy 4GB SD or 4GB SDHC, but now 4GB SD are hard to get.

Please, (1)

The Wild Norseman (1404891) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976820)

Allow me to be the first to give them a NAND-ing ovation.

Double patterning has limits. (4, Interesting)

viking80 (697716) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976826)

in the olden days, xx nm really meant feature size. With Intel and other fabs pressing mfg to half the size every 2 years, it seems mfg has gotten quite creative in their definition of feature size. Latest feature size is a fraction of the wavelength of the light used for patterning, and to achieve it, double and sometimes triple patterning is used. That is basically multiple exposures with slight offsets. The result migh be called 25nm but might really be 50nm, and edge sharpness when you are at 1/4lambda is so suspect that you really have to add some margins here and there, and some features dont really lend themselves to double and triple patterning, so you really have a mix including 50nm process for these.

Kind of like a marketing gimmic, just here it is engineering selling it as 25nm to their own marketing departmens.

Re:Double patterning has limits. (4, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#30977242)

Double patterning is really the only solution unless someone comes up with a radically new process since the max aperture in water (1.35) has already been reached. Holographic lithography, electron beam, and other techniques have been proposed but none has been commercialized because of the incredible costs that will be incurred developing the entire ecosystem of machinery and software to use them. Intel's already announced that they will be using multi-patterning down to 15nm since EUV won't be ready in time.

Re:Double patterning has limits. (1)

movercast (1037472) | more than 4 years ago | (#30977468)

k1, lambda, NA. Choose wisely.

Re:Double patterning has limits. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30977260)

The practice of optically shrinking an existing die without redesign/relayout is known as half-node stepping. If you read the analysis of these 25 nm parts over at Anandtech [anandtech.com] you will see that this is clearly not a half-node step. These parts are running charge trap memory cells whereas the previous generation used floating gate cells. Personally, I'll take the increased storage density any way I can get it.

Re:Double patterning has limits. (1)

movercast (1037472) | more than 4 years ago | (#30977432)

xx nm is still feature size. The method you utilize to get there may be very complicated, but at the end of the process you still have a feature that measures xx nm. Why does that not count?

Re:Double patterning has limits. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30978546)

I think he's saying that if your part has 10% 25nm features, 30% 32mn, and 60% 45nm; that's not really a true "25nm" part :)

(ie because some of the structures you need to etch have concave or oblique geometry so that a multi-exposure of part of the structure would ruin adjacent parts (capacitors and stuff, I guess)).

Re:Double patterning has limits. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30978362)

The primary driver for process shrink is cost savings and for some applications power savings. Nobody wins or would be willing to work with added design complexity if real benefits were not being realized on a new process. Judging by actual transistor count vs die size significant progress continues to be made.

Yes design rules and sizing keep getting more and more "interesting" but when you look at transister vs die size on completed projects in a given technology reality seems to still be in rough agreement with "marketing".

Micron? Seriously? (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976964)

I hadn't heard anything about them in perhaps a decade. I can't believe they're still around! Didn't they used to have a desktop line too? Or am I thinking of someone else altogether?

Re:Micron? Seriously? (2, Informative)

ihavnoid (749312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30977226)

Wikipedia to the rescue:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micron_Technology [wikipedia.org]

They split their PC manufacturing business into a spearate company, which declared bankruptcy in 2008. Now, they focus on manufacturing memory.

To most of the people, Micron is known as their consumer brand Crucial Tehnology and Lexar Media.

Re:Micron? Seriously? (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30977236)

They had a PC subsidiary, yeah: Micron Computers, from 1995 to 2001. They spun it off in 2001, and it continued under the name MPC until it went out of business in 2008.

It was never a huge part of their business, though. Micron's a large semiconductor company, and been a dominant player in memory chips for decades. The other stuff they've dabbled in --- consumer PCs, motherboards, briefly video cards, etc. --- seems never to have taken off.

8GB per chip (2, Interesting)

physburn (1095481) | more than 4 years ago | (#30977240)

That not bad storage per chip. Now they need to be able to pack 16 of them into a standard flash stick, for 128GB flash sticks. I'll bet they top out at 64GB per stick though. Flash memory is obeying Moore's law and doubling every 1.5 years, Hard Disks aren't growing as quickly any more, so Flash is catching up, all the same, it will probably be 2020 before Flash drives match hard drives for cost.

---

Storage [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

Re:8GB per chip (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30977338)

That not bad storage per chip. Now they need to be able to pack 16 of them into a standard flash stick, for 128GB flash sticks. I'll bet they top out at 64GB per stick though.

If you're willing to pay, there's already a 256GB memory stick [kingston.com] , I see it in stock for about 800$ + VAT here, so I guess this makes it possible to go to 512 GB. Not that I really see the sense in this product given the access speed, but I guess it's good for bragging rights.

Re:8GB per chip (2, Interesting)

Courageous (228506) | more than 4 years ago | (#30977572)

Withstanding recently trends in the flash market pointing to a slow down of the very fast price drops that have been happening, flash will beat 15K drives on price within 2 years or so. SATA is 6+ years. That may as well be an eternity in technology time. All bets are off. By then, one of the platter manufacturers could pull a density rabbit out of the hat.

Re:8GB per chip (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 4 years ago | (#30978776)

All bets are off. By then, one of the platter manufacturers could pull a density rabbit out of the hat.

But would that even matter? For daily use 200GB have been more then plenty enough for me and that for quite some years. Sure I might have an additional 1TB drive for a video collection, but the core drive in the PC where OS data is stored doesn't really need to be super huge, 256GB at a good price should be enough for almost everyone and if the software would improve to allow caching/swap of frequently used HDD data on the SDD it could even be much less.

At this point I think raw price of the device is more important then the actual storage you get. A fast SSD drive in the $50-$100 range that HDDs currently have should be enough for mass market adoption of SSD, even when the SSD has only a fraction of the storage.

1 TB USB Flash drive! (0)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30977326)

I really would like a 1TB USB flash drive so i can carry around my pr0n collection everywhere and use my new iPad to view it all when I am on vacation!

Micron? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30978468)

Bah, I'll be much more impressed when we see an Intel-Voltron joint venture.
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