Micron flash chip offloads memory management for portables

The chips will come in 8GB and 16GB capacities

Flash memory maker Micron Technology said that it will ship a new high-density flash memory chip for portable media players that relieves mobile processors of NAND management functions.

Micron said its new 8GB and 16GB block-abstracted NAND (BA NAND) is its highest density flash memory for use in personal media players and other applications. The multi-level cell (MLC) flash memory was built using 34nm lithography process technology with a built-in memory controller that eliminates the need for manufacturers of controllers and systems to re-design their chips in order to adopt successive generations of NAND.

In other words, by ridding processors of CPU-intensive operations such as error correction, block data management and wear-leveling algorithms, the new BA NAND flash memory should boost the performance of a device and allow mobile device manufacturers to more easily incorporate ever-denser, higher capacity flash memory without upgrading the CPU, according to Kevin Kilbuck director of NAND market development at Micron.

"It's next to impossible for controller manufacturers to support the latest iterations of flash memory," Kilbuck said.

Besides number crunching, portable media player processor chipsets carry the load for interfaces to other memory such as DRAM, an SD card slot, external USB devices or an LCD screen.

"Being able to optimize applications with the latest generation of NAND flash technology is crucial to many embedded systems," said Tim Lewis, director of marketing at mobile processor maker ZiiLABS Pte Ltd.

Micron will begin shipping the new flash memory chips in the second half of the year.

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