Intel, Micron team to get more data into flash drives

The 3bpc technology will allow chip manufacturers to create USB thumb drives and solid state drives with a greater storage capacity

What's better than 2-bits per cell? 3 bits of course. IM Flash Technologies, a joint venture between Intel and Micron, has announced that they have developed a 3-bit-per-cell NAND device that Micron will begin producing for commercial consumption this fall. The technology, dubbed 3bpc (tricky acronym for 3-bits-per-cell), stores more bits per cell than current technology and allows the development of higher density flash memory so it can store more data in less space.

The 3bpc technology will allow chip manufacturers to create USB thumb drives and solid state drives with a greater storage capacity. 3 bits per cell is a 50% increase from the standard 2 bits per cell, meaning that an 8Gb USB thumb drive could be built to store 12Gb of data without increasing the size of the device. The process of manufacturing storage with more bits per cell also decreases the cost per flash bit so that the 12Gb USB drive would be roughly equivalent in cost to the 2 bits per cell 8Gb flash drive.

The higher bits per cell technology can also be implemented in solid state drives (SSD) to achieve the same sort of increase in storage capacity and manufacturing cost savings. SSD's are common in smaller netbooks and offer speed and reliability benefits over traditional hard drive storage. Intel has the X18-M and X25-M SSD's which are both available in 80Gb and 160Gb capacities. The 3 bit per cell manufacturing process will theoretically enable them to boost those capacities to 120Gb and 240Gb respectively without increasing the size of the drives or the cost to manufacture them.

The 3bpc technology is not all sunshine and roses though. Aside from adding capacity to store more data, the additional bit also increases the potential for error. Intel and Micron need to continue working to ensure that the 3bpc devices are reliable enough for customers to trust them with critical or sensitive data.

Packing more data into smaller devices also brings attention to information leakage and security concerns that organizations face. It wasn't an urgent priority to address the data compromise concerns when USB thumb drives only held 16Mb. When a user can walk out with 32Gb of data on a drive the size of their thumb attached to their key ring though it is a whole different story. Security administrators need to have policies established regarding the use of removable media and data confidentiality, and controls in place to protect sensitive information.

Tony Bradley is an information security and unified communications expert with more than a decade of enterprise IT experience. He provides tips, advice and reviews on information security and unified communications technologies on his site at tonybradley.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags intelflash storageMicron

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tony Bradley

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2018

Secure and Save before time runs out with Bitdefender Exclusive Clearance Offer! Get Bitdefender Total Security 2018 Now!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?