Micron unveils the world's smallest UFS 4.0 storage chip

Micron UFS 4.0 chip jpg.webp

Micron, the Idaho-based producer of storage and memory chips, has unveiled the world’s smallest UFS (Universal Flash Storage) package. Measuring just 9×13mm in dimension, it is an incredibly compact UFS 4.0 chip. The semiconductor company is currently sampling the new solution.

Micron promises faster AI performance with its compact UFS 4.0 chip

Unveiled at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2024, Micron’s compact UFS 4.0 storage chip is built on its advanced 232-layer 3D NAND memory. The company claims a sequential read speed of 4,300 MB/s and a sequential write speed of 4,000 MB/s. These speeds are twice as fast as the firm’s 176-layer UFS 3.1 NAND. The new chip is also 25% more power efficient than the previous-gen solution.

According to Micron, these improvements enable faster loading of large language models (LLMs) in generative AI applications. The company touts 40% faster loading for a smoother experience when initializing AI tools. “Micron UFS 4.0 raises the bar for mobile storage with enhanced performance, flexibility, and scalability to accelerate the rollout of generative AI-capable smartphones,” said Mark Montierth, a GM at Micron.

This isn’t the first UFS 4.0 solution from Micron. The American semiconductor firm debuted its next-gen storage chip last June. In its first attempt, the company matched Samsung’s first-gen UFS 4.0 chip in terms of size (11×13mm) while delivering faster speeds. Samsung promised a sequential read speed of 4,200 MB/s and a sequential write speed of 2,800 MB/s for its solution.

Micron hasn’t improved the speed with its latest offering but shrunk the size to save some space inside devices. The company believes this will allow manufacturers to provide larger batteries. “These significant space savings result in an optimal size for next-generation foldable and ultra-slim smartphone designs,” the firm said in a press release. Its enhanced power efficiency will further extend the battery life.

Micron’s UFS 4.0 storage chips also feature some proprietary tech for enhanced performance. High-Performance Mode or HPM optimizes performance during heavy usage. It allows the device to prioritize critical tasks over background tasks, resulting in an over 25% speed boost. One Button Refresh or OBR allows for 10% faster app launches by automatically cleaning and optimizing data.

The company is currently sampling the new storage chip

The world’s smallest UFS 4.0 storage chip will be available in 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB capacities (no UFS 4.0 for 128GB solutions yet). Micron is currently sampling the chip with its clients. It is unclear when the new solution will be available commercially. The company is aiming the chip at the next generation of flagship Android smartphones.