Looking to one-up the likes of Intel, Micron and Samsung, Toshiba today announced a new venture to build a test production line for advanced flash memory chips which will use a smaller process technology. The company produces 32nm and 43nm memory chips, but the plan is to begin production on "sub-25nm" chips that would enable larger storage capacities to be shoved into the same form factors that we use today.
According to reports, the world's second largest NAND flash memory maker has already ordered chip-making equipment from ASML and will drop a whopping $160 million during 2010 in this project. If all goes according to plans, Toshiba will begin output of NAND chips with circuitry widths in the upper 20 nanometre range soon, while production of chips with circuitry widths in the lower 20 nanometres is slated to start as early as 2012.
The announcement came roughly two months after Intel and Micron's joint venture company, IM Flash Technologies, unveiled their 25nm NAND-based flash memory technology. Besides allowing for larger storage capacities in smaller devices, the increased competition should also help drive down prices of existing and upcoming memory chips.