October 8, 2007 – Toshiba Corp. is planning a production ramp of 30nm flash memory chips by the middle of its fiscal year 2009 (mid- to late CY09) in a bid to pull ahead of South Korean rival Samsung Electronics Co., according to the Nikkei daily.
The Japanese chipmaker expects to migrate from current 56nm production to 43nm at its Yokkaichi plant in Mie Prefecture, about three months after the site ramps to full production. Confident that materials and other technology development targets are now almost met, Toshiba is now targeting mid-FY09 to start making 30nm chips. Samsung is now making chips with 51nm process technologies.
Toshiba hasn’t officially attached a dollar figure to its 30nm transition, but is expected to keep investments within its 1 trillion yen (US $8.55B) budget for its semiconductor segment through FY09, the paper noted.
Pushing to 30nm is more than just a race against Samsung — it’s a race to a new level of profitability. Finding cost efficiencies is crucial when productivity is increasing 40%/node, and 30nm costs are about half of those at 56nm — but flash memory prices have eroded nearly 70% of their value this year, the paper noted.