Intel, Micron Break Out 3-Bit-per-Cell NAND Flash

Intel and Micron, which have a joint flash venture called IM Flash Technologies, announce at the Flash Memory Summit that they have developed 34-nanometer NAND flash memory capable of containing 3 bits of data per cell, which allows 50 percent greater data density than the currently standard 2-bits-per-cell technology.

SANTA CLARA, Calif.-Intel and Micron Technology, which have been collaborating for several years on solid-state drive development, announced Aug. 11 that they have come up with a new, higher-capacity flash memory for flash cards and USB drives.
The two companies, which have a joint flash venture called IM Flash Technologies, announced at the Flash Memory Summit here that they have developed 34-nanometer NAND flash memory capable of containing 3 bits of data per cell, which allows 50 percent greater data density than the currently standard 2-bits-per-cell technology.
This will provide higher capacity for USB flash drives and other devices, Micron said.
Micron said it is currently sampling the new processors and expects to be in production with 32GB drives by the fourth quarter.
As with all digital storage media-including the perpendicular magnetic recording used in spinning-disk hard drives-the more information that is crammed onto the media, the less stable the media becomes. As a result, production for the new 34-nm 3-bpc flash chips will be relegated only to flash thumb drives until the bugs can be worked out so they can be used in heavier-duty deployments.
SanDisk and Toshiba revealed six months ago that they are working on 4-bit-per-cell processors. No timetable for that development has yet been set.
Intel, which on July 21 launched the world's first 34-nm solid-state NAND flash drives for desktop and laptop computers, acknowledged Aug. 4 that there are problems with the X25-M processor firmware (faulty BIOS password coding) that comes with the drives, but said a fix has been found.
Intel followed up Aug. 10, saying it has validated that fix. Here's the update.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he has...