Samsung moves 1GB flash to advanced production process

Samsung has begun mass-producing 1G-bit flash memory chips using a 70 nanometer manufacturing process, it said Tuesday

Samsung Electronics has begun mass-producing 1G-bit flash memory chips using a more advanced manufacturing process, the company said Tuesday, helping to fuel the rapid growth in flash memory use for gadgets like digital cameras and MP3 players.

The South Korean manufacturer is now mass-producing its 1G-bit OneNAND chips using a 70-nanometer manufacturing process, it said. The figure refers to the size of the smallest features printed on the surface of the chips.

More advanced production methods help chip companies boost performance and storage capacities while keeping prices down. Samsung said the new production method is 70 percent more efficient than the 90 nanometer process widely used today, which should allow the company to sell the high-capacity chips at lower prices.

NAND flash has sparked a mini-revolution in the storage world, displacing hard disk drives from music players and other gadgets thanks to their low power consumption, smaller size and other advantages.

The performance of its 70 nanometer chips makes them suitable for use in digital cameras and "hybrid disk drives," as well as mobile phones and MP3 players in which they're widely used today, according to Samsung.

Its OneNAND chips can read data at sustained rate of 108M bytes per second, or 60 percent faster than chips made with the 90 nanometer process widely used by the industry, the company said.

Samsung expects its OneNAND sales to hit US$1 billion in 2008 and exceed US$1.5 billion two years after that.

The company recently began selling a 32G-byte solid-state disk, a flash-memory based replacement for hard-disk drives.

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