Intel is already making 20nm MLC chips and is apparently preparing new SSD products using the smaller flash cells. The main concern with the newer technology is the durability of the drives, as it is well known that this is the greatest problem with today’s SSDs.
Smaller NAND is cheaper to manufacture, it allows for greater density and higher capacity drives, but it makes SSD have a much lower natural program-erase (P/E) cycle.
A P/E cycle for a solid state disk is a complete write of every NAND cell inside the drive and a complete erase to prepare for another write.
SSDs using 30nm NAND have an average 35,000 P/E rating, while most drives using 25nm NAND have a 3000 P/E rating.
The decrease in reliability is dramatic when going from 30nm NAND to 25nm NAND, and if the same happens when moving to 20nm manufacturing, we are very curious what P/E rating the new drives will have and how Intel and other SSD makers will manage the problem.
The company is reportedly
getting ready to release new solid state drives in Q2 2013 and this product line will be codenamed Sierra Star.
’s SSD products have not been the top performing solutions on the market for more than three years now and nobody is expecting any performance records from the new line.
The most important aspect is that most of Intel’s SSDs are quite expensive when compared to the competition and we’re hoping that once manufacturing moves to the 20nm node, the prices will fall by a significant margin.
Intel manufactures its own NAND, so the company really has the ability to surprise the market with some competitive pricing, but that’s not to be expected.