Fujitsu ships high-speed flash memory

Fujitsu last week started shipping samples of its new 128M-bit flash memory chips, which are targeted at makers of car navigation systems, printers and mobile phones, the company said. The new flash chips include a 32-bit data bus that supports faster data processing speeds.

The 128M-bit capacity is the largest available for NOR-type flash memory, a flash memory type that stores program data and accelerates a device's processing speed, according to Fujitsu. Flash memory allows data to be rewritten and stored without power.

The new chip is produced using a 0.17-micron process and was jointly developed with Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD).

Car navigation systems and printers have added communication functions that require high volumes of data and 3G (third-generation) services mobile phones also need to store high volumes of data, said Chiaki Kuwahara, a spokeswoman for Fujitsu. "The company expects high demands in these products' markets."

In addition to being able to store large volumes of data, the new flash memory chips have a wider data bus of up to 32 bits, which allows larger blocks of data to be processed at one time and reducing the time it takes for data to be processed, Kuwahara said. The chips have a read-data speed of 25 nanoseconds in page mode.

In addition, the chip's dual operation function allows for simultaneous reading, writing and erasing operations, the company said. The chips also include security functions, such as Hi-ROM (Hidden Read-Only Memory), which prevents illegal copying of large files; hardware-based protection of the boot-block sectors to prevent inadvertent rewrites; and new sector protection, which protects all sectors and preserves the data already written to them.

Fujitsu is currently offering the chips at a sample price is 6,000 yen (US$48.8), Kuwahara said, adding that the company expects to produce 1 million chips per month when mass production begins in March 2002. The 128M-bit flash chips will be manufactured by Fujitsu-AMD Semiconductor Ltd., a joint venture between the two companies located in northern Japan.

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Kuriko Miyake

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