Intel and Micron Technology on Thursday introduced a high-density chip that the companies say can pack 32 Gb of storage on a smaller footprint than other similar devices.
The NAND device is targeted at solid-state drives, which are increasingly being offered at a premium in notebooks to deliver faster boot times and more durability and reliability than traditional hard disk drives. The new product was manufactured by the companies' joint venture IM Flash Technologies.
In building the chip, the partners used a 34 nanometer manufacturing process that increases the density of the device in order to cram more memory in a smaller space, which is important for ultra-portable notebooks and other mobile PCs. "This new 32 Gb device provides the best bit storage density available in the industry," Brian Shirley, VP of Micron's Memory Group, said in a statement.
The new devices are smaller than the size of a thumbnail, but can store more than 2,000 digital photos or up to 1,000 songs. The chips are also available in a two eight-die stacked package to deliver 64 Gb of storage.
The companies claim their latest product can drive capacities beyond 256 Gb in a standard 1.8-inch form factor for solid-state drives. Intel and Micron also plan to introduce lower density products by the end of the year.
The companies expected to ship samples of the latest chip to customers in June. Volume production is expected in the second half this year.
While solid-state drives have a number of advantages over hard disk drives, the biggest disadvantage is price. SSDs are multiple times more expensive than HDDs, and are unlikely to replace the latter anytime soon in most applications. However, SSDs are finding a place among businesses looking for rugged notebooks for field workers and in mini-notebooks with screen sizes less than 10-inches. Besides weight, SSDs also use up less batter power than HDDs.
The article has been edited to clarify Gb as gigabits, not gigabytes