updated 09:45 am EDT, Tue August 11, 2009
Intel 3 Bit Per Cell Flash
Intel and Micron this morning said they have developed some of the densest NAND flash memory ever. The two have expanded on their already small 34 nanometer (nm) manufacturing process to add 3-bit-per-cell storage. By packing extra data into each memory cell, the firms say they can create a 32 gigabit (4GB) single chip that measures less than 0.2 inches square. While 3-bit isn't new and has been used by SanDisk, combining it with 34nm makes for not only the smallest chip of its type but also relatively inexpensive since more can be produced and more will fit in a given space.
Manufacturing will be handled by Micron, which is delivering samples to companies today and starts volume production in the fall. No customers have been immediately named, though Intel already uses 34nm technology in its latest solid-state drives and should use 3-bit-per-cell to increase their capacity and lower prices. Multiple chip packages can usually stack on top of each other and should allow for much higher-capacity cellphones, media players and removable cards as a result.