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SanDisk expands its NAND flash portfolio

There are two breaking announcements coming out of the SanDisk camp today. The company announced that it will begin production of 43nm multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash memory and that it has made a breakthrough in three-bit-per-cell NAND flash memory.

SanDisk's 43nm MLC NAND flash production will allow the company to double the density of its memory chips in comparison to current 56nm 16Gb technology. The move to 43nm production also means lower production costs and offers the promise of more cost-effective solid-state disk (SSD) solutions in the future.

"We’re excited about commencing the production ramp of the 43nm generation of MLC NAND flash memory with its significantly lower cost benefits," said SanDisk Executive VP of technology Dr. Randhir Thakur. "The 43nm technology generation will become our major focus during 2008 as we continue to provide leading-edge technology and cost benefits to our customers."

SanDisk's 43nm production process was co-developed with Toshiba and shipments of 43nm, 16Gb chips will begin in the second quarter of 2008. SanDisk will ship 32Gb chips during the latter half of the year.

SanDisk and Toshiba aren't just working on 43nm process technology, however. SanDisk also made the revelation that the two companies have made advances in the development of three-bit-per cell NAND flash memory.

The use of three-bit-per cell technology, aka x3, allows SanDisk to cram 20% more die per wafer than traditional 56nm MLC flash which uses two-bits-per-cell technology.

"We consider x3 as a major commercial breakthrough for flash memory that will extend Moore’s Law in this and future generations of NAND flash storage," remarked Dr. Khandker N. Quader, SanDisk's senior vice president of flash memory design and product development.

SanDisk expects to have commercial samples of its "x3" NAND flash memory available in the March/April timeframe.





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