Micron Technology and Taiwanese partner Nanya Technology are studying advanced 20-nanometer chip manufacturing technology for future DRAM production, the president of Nanya said.

The advanced chip making technology is important to improve chip performance, reduce power consumption and lower costs. The technology advances will be critical to companies over the next few years to remain competitive in the DRAM business, said Jih Lien, president of Nanya Technology, at a press event in Taipei.

Making chips with 20nm technology would put Micron and Nanya in competition with industry leader Samsung Electronics, which is currently installing 30nm technology on its production lines. Samsung has said that 2Gb (gigabit) DDR3 (double data rate, third generation) chips made using its 30nm manufacturing technology consume 30 percent less power than chips made using 50nm production technology and can be made at more than double the cost-efficiency.

Samsung is ahead of its chip rivals with 30nm technology for DRAM. Micron and Nanya recently said they are installing 42nm technology on DRAM production lines and have a 30-something-nanometer chip production technology in the making at research labs (they call it 3Xnm). Lien did not give a timeline nor provide further information about the 20nm technology that his company and Micron are exploring.

One company Micron has a part of, IM Flash Technologies, a joint venture with Intel, is using 25nm technology to make flash memory chips. The company does not make DRAM.

The nanometer measurement describes the size of transistors and other parts on a chip. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter, about the size of a few atoms combined.