Intel, Micron Start Mass Production Of 34-nm Memory Chips

The product can fit 4 GB of memory on a core and eight cores on a layer for a total of 64 GB of memory on a two-layer stack.
Intel and partner Micron Technology on Monday said they have begun mass production of their 34-nanometer NAND flash memory chip.

The chip is built with a manufacturing process that enables the companies to shrink chip components in order to get more memory in the same amount of space. The latest product can fit 4 GB of memory on a core and eight cores on a layer for a total of 64 GB of memory on a two-layer stack within a package.

The technology fits into a standard 48-lead thin small-outline package (TSOP), which is a type of surface-mount integrated-circuit package found in MP3 players, mobile phones, and other devices where space is a premium.

"The tiny 34-nm, 32-GB chip enables our customers to easily increase their NAND storage capacity for a number of consumer and computing products," Brian Shirley, VP of Micron's memory group, said in a statement.

The latest chips are manufactured on 300-mm wafers and are smaller than the size of a thumbnail. The memory is targeted at makers of digital cameras, personal music players, and digital camcorders. In addition, the new technology can be used to increase the storage capacity of solid-state drives, the companies said.

The partners didn't say when products from device manufacturers using the new memory would hit the market. Intel and Micron, however, said they expect to release more products using the 34-nm process early next year.

An inventory glut in the memory market has caused a drop in prices that has seriously hurt revenue of manufacturers. Micron last month said it would cut production of memory chips and reduce its workforce by 15%.

Micron also said that its joint venture with Intel, called IM Flash Technologies, would stop making chips at Micron's Boise, Idaho, facility. In April, market researcher iSuppli slashed by two-thirds its 2008 forecast for global revenue growth in the NAND memory market. The major reason for the drop was weakening consumer spending, which has fallen even further due to the current economic downturn.