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Friday, February 01, 2008
Intel and Micron Develop Ultra Fast NAND Flash Memory

Intel and Micron today unveiled a high speed NAND flash memory technology that can greatly enhance the access and transfer of data in devices that use silicon for storage.

The new technology ? developed jointly by Intel and Micron and manufactured by the companies? NAND flash joint venture, IM Flash Technologies (IMFT) ? is five times faster than conventional NAND, allowing data to be transferred in a fraction of the time for computing, video, photography and other computing applications.

The new high speed NAND can reach speeds up to 200 megabytes per second (MB/s) for reading data and 100 MB/s for writing data, achieved by leveraging the new ONFI 2.0 specification and a four-plane architecture with higher clock speeds. In comparison, conventional single level cell NAND is limited to 40 MB/s for reading data and less than 20 MB/s for writing data.

"The computing market is embracing NAND-based solutions to accelerate system performance through the use of caching and solid-state drives," said Pete Hazen, director of marketing, Intel NAND Products Group. "At up to five times the performance over conventional NAND, the high speed NAND from Intel and Micron, based on the ONFi 2.0 industry standard, will enable new embedded solutions and removable solutions that take advantage of high?performance system interfaces, including PCIe and upcoming standards such as USB 3.0."

The companies claim that the new NAND memory, when used in a hybrid hard drive, can allow the system to read and write data anywhere between two or four times the speed when compared to conventional hard drives. In addition, high speed NAND can enable a high-definition movie to be transferred in digital video cameras five times faster than conventional NAND.

With the pending USB 3.0 interface, high speed NAND is expected to effectively deliver on the increased data transfer rates of the new specification, where conventional NAND would act as the bottleneck in system performance. USB 3.0 is aiming for 10 times the bandwidth of current USB 2.0 solutions, or approximately achieving 4.8 gigabits per second.

As NAND continues to move into the PC platform, the Non-Volatile Memory Host Controller Interface (NVMHCI) can take advantage of high speed NAND in solutions such as Intel Turbo Memory, allowing for even better system performance. NVMHCI is designed to provide a standard software programming interface allowing operating system drivers to access NAND flash memory storage in applications such as hard drive caching and solid-state drives.

Micron said its SLC high speed NAND product which is sampling now, can read data at speeds up to 200 Mbps and can write data at speeds up to 100 Mbps and was designed on the 50 nm node. Mass production is expected to begin in the second half of the year.

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