Micron reassures about 20nm Intel NAND

Micron said that the 20nm NAND flash memory that it is going to produce with Intel will not be any less reliable than the NAND flash made using the 25nm fabrication process.

Micron said that a lot of the reliability problems were partly tackled by the use of high-k metal gate (HKMG) technology. HKMG costs a lot more dosh, but Micron thinks the cost/benefit figures are worth it.

Ronald Foster, chief financial officer at Micron told X-Bit labs that normally each new generation of multi-level cell NAND flash memory is somewhat less reliable than memory produced using older fabrication methods.

Foster said that the cost of using HKMG was not out of proportion for what you would typically see moving from one technology.

HKMG is a way around the problems and is the right answer to reliability problems. He said that there are no long-term problems associated with the reliability of the device and it is the right way to scale from 25nm to 20nm. It also gives Micron leg room to move onto further shrinkage in the future, Foster hinted.

Intel and Micron have already announced the world’s first 20nm, 128Gb, MLC NAND flash device which is the first in the industry to enable 1Tb of data storage in a fingertip-size package by using eight die.

It can achieve speeds of 333MT/s, providing customers with a more cost-effective solid-state storage product for tablets, smartphones and high-capacity solid-state drives (SSDs). The key to its success is due to a new cell structure that enables more aggressive cell scaling than conventional architectures.

The  cell structure is supposed to overcome the inherent difficulties in advanced process technology and manages to get performance and reliability on par with the previous generations. However, it breaks the scaling problems of the standard NAND floating gate cell by integrating the first HKMG stack on NAND production.