When making a solid state storage drive, the maximum capacity ultimately depends on the individual capabilities of each flash chip, which is why Micron is going to cause a stir, however unnoticed by consumers at large.
Being one of the greatest innovators in terms of flash memory (as well as DDR3 RAM, but that has no bearing this once), Micron often releases special products and reveals new milestones.
The latest product to be introduced via a press release qualifies as both: a NAND Flash memory devices with a capacity of 128 Gigabits.
Based on the 20nm manufacturing process technology, it stores three bits of information per cell, hence its TLC name (triple-level-cell).
It also measures 146 square millimeters, which makes it 25% smaller than Micron's 20 nm multi-level-cell (MLC) NAND device of similar capacity.
It is for this reason that the new chip is expected to become a force to be reckoned with on the markets of flash card, flash drives, etc.
"This is the industry's smallest, highest-capacity NAND flash memory device—empowering a new class of consumer storage applications," said Glen Hawk, vice president of Micron's NAND Solutions Group.
"Every day we learn of new and innovative use cases for flash storage, underpinning the excitement and opportunity for Micron. We are committed to enriching our portfolio of leading Flash storage solutions that serve our broad customer base."
Oddly enough, Micron doesn't specifically mention solid state drives in its press release, despite the new device opening doors for 1 TB and 2 TB versions.
At any rate, sample shipments will only start in the second quarter of the year, which means that commercial devices will have to wait until Q3, most probably.
A paper on the 128Gb TLC NAND device will be presented at the next International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) on Feb. 19, in San Francisco, California.