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article imageIntel and Micron Boost Flash Memory Speed by Five Times

By Chris Hogg     Feb 2, 2008 in Technology
Intel and Micron have unveiled a high-speed NAND flash memory technology that dramatically increases transfer rates in consumer electronics and reduces the bottleneck that plagues conventional NAND flash memory.
Digital Journal -- The new technology, created by Intel and Micron through their joint venture, IM Flash Technologies (IMFT), is five times faster than conventional NAND. For consumers, this means transferring data, video or photos in a fraction of the time it currently takes.
NAND flash is used in MP3 players, USB drives, removable storage cards, cell phones, cameras and countless devices that require small, speedy memory that efficiently consumes power.
The new flash memory will transfer at speeds up to 200 megabytes per second (MB/s) for reading and 100 MB/s for writing data. Conventional single level cell NAND is limited to 40 MB/s for reading data and less than 20 MB/s for writing data Intel and Micron reported in a news release.
The companies say the speed boost is as a result of NAND architecture and improvements in the read-write circuitry.
"We are working with an ecosystem of key enablers and partners to build and optimize corresponding system technologies that take advantage of its improved performance capabilities," said Frankie Roohparvar, Micron vice president of NAND development, in a news release.
For those of you still not sure why this is such a big deal: photographers and anyone who shoots video relies on flash memory to store photos and video, and anything that delivers a speed boost saves a lot of time.
NAND Flash Memory made by IM Flash Technologies.  - Photo courtesy IM Flash Technologies
NAND Flash Memory made by IM Flash Technologies. - Photo courtesy IM Flash Technologies
This high-speed NAND flash memory will likely get picked up first by professional photographers and videographers looking for a quick and reliable way to record data. Intel and Micron say, however, it will also be sold at a premium price (at least at first) so your average Joes and Janes are less likely to be early adopters. It will go mainstream and prices will come down once more devices (iPods anyone?) incorporate the technology.
As Intel and Micron describe, when used in a hybrid hard drive, high speed NAND will also read and write data at speeds that can be four times faster than a conventional hard drive.
For consumers, this means transferring files like high-def video from a digital video camera at a rate that is five times faster than conventional NAND.
"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.
The companies hope to mass produce the high-speed NAND flash memory in the second half of 2008.
More about Intel, Micron, Hard drives
 
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