SanDisk announces mass production of high-capacity flash

Will begin mass production of the first high-performance X3 and X4 flash memory that will enable up to 64GB of memory in a single chip.

SanDisk Tuesday announced that it will begin mass production of the first high-performance X3 and X4 flash memory, using 32- and 43-nanometer lithography process technology, respectively. The denser flash technology will enable up to 64Gbit of memory in a single chip, or twice what multilevel cell memory offers today, the company said.

SanDisk said that it also built new X3 (3 bits per cell) and X4 (4 bits per cell) disk controllers to manage the greater complexities and performance requirements of the denser memory.

Khandker Quader, senior vice president for memory technology and product development at SanDisk, said the new memory and controller technology is "a major milestone for flash memory storage that will provide significant long-term benefits to SanDisk and play a critical role in future NAND flash scaling."

The X3 technology, which will offer up to 32Gbit per memory chip, will be used to produce microSD cards with up to 32GB capacity. The X4 process chips will offer up to 64Gbit per chip, or 64GB per standard SD card. Both will be used for applications such as music, movies, photos, GPS and games.

"This allows us to vastly improve our costs of manufacturing," Quader said, referring to the ability to lower the overall cost of flash memory.

SanDisk will begin offering the new microSD and SD cards in the second quarter. Quader said SanDisk also plans to manufacture 2-bits-per-cell flash memory using 32nm lithography in the second half of this year.

"We're looking at a wide range of product applications," Quader said. "For example, full-size SD cards will be used in USB storage devices, audio-video applications, memory sticks, and we are looking at 3 bits and 4 bits per cell enabling new solid-state disk products."

Quader could not say when SanDisk plans to use 32Gbit flash technology to produce SSD drives for laptops and other mobile devices.

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