SanDisk Introduces 4-Gigabit Flash Chip

From SanDisk’s press release:

SanDisk Corporation, reinforcing its leadership in the development and fabrication of high capacity NAND flash memory chips, today introduced a 4-gigabit (Gb) single-die, multi-level cell (MLC), NAND flash memory chip with double the capacity of its present largest single-die NAND flash memory chip. Advanced design concepts implemented in the new 4Gb NAND flash device and its associated next generation SanDisk controllers enable faster MLC write speeds necessary for increasingly demanding digital consumer electronic devices. SanDisk also announced a 8Gb NAND flash memory chip that stacks two of the 4Gb NAND flash memory chips in a single package.

The new generation NAND MLC memories will enable the production of flash memory cards having double the storage capacity of today’s cards, at a reduced cost per megabyte, thereby further expanding the wide-ranging adoption of NAND flash in consumer and mobile applications. For example, just one of the 8Gb flash memory chips is required in fabricating a 1 gigabyte flash card, which could accelerate the flash storage opportunity in MP3 players, solid state camcorders, and USB flash drives.

Mass production of the device is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2004. SanDisk does not currently plan to sell 4Gb NAND components and will use 100% of its output in its flash memory products that are currently expected to start shipping in the third quarter.

Toshiba and SanDisk jointly developed the 4Gb NAND flash memory chip under their 1999 comprehensive agreement on joint development of NAND flash memory, and will separately sell it to their respective customers. The new chips will be produced with advanced 90 nanometer (nm) process technology by FlashVision Japan, the joint venture between Toshiba and SanDisk located in Yokkaichi, Japan.

SanDisk’s NAND flash memory offers high density, non-volatile data retention and is widely employed in flash memory cards and as semi-embedded memory in digital consumer products such as digital still cameras, multimedia cell phones and Cruzer USB Flash Drives.

Sanjay Mehrotra, SanDisk’s chief operating officer, said, “The MLC-based memory cards that will be built using the new 4Gbit die and 8Gb chips will achieve higher write speeds via careful design integration between both the flash memory chip and our latest generation controller chips. This is also the first time that the NAND MLC design on a new technology (90nm) is being released at the same time as the binary NAND 2Gb die. The 4Gb NAND MLC die will be the highest density single die memory to enter production in the second half of 2004 and is a testimony to the success of the Toshiba-SanDisk FlashVision partnership.”

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