Intel ships first 90 nm multi-level cell NOR Flash

Santa Clara (CA) - Intel today said that it has announced it is shipping the industry's first 90 nm multi-level cell (MLC) NOR flash memory device in volume. According to the company, the memory delivers faster performance, higher density and lower power consumption than the previous 130 nm generation of the technology.

Intel claims that the new memory, named M18, offers the fastest read speeds in the industry, enabling the new flash memory to operate at the same bus frequency as next-generation cellular chipsets (up to 133 MHz). As a result, users will see an acceleration in application execution because the interaction between the chipset and memory operation, the company said.

The M18 offers write speeds of up to 0.5 MByte per second, which would support 3-megapixel cameras and MPEG4 video, if hardware designers choose to use a NOR Flash chip as storage device for such data. Intel said that the M18 will be available in storage densities from 256 Mbit to 1 Gbit in single chip and standard stacked package solutions.

The announcement comes in the midst of a substantial decline of sales in the NOR Flash market. While NAND Flash - a technology that is mainly used for devices such as storage cards - keeps bringing in record revenues, NOR Flash, which often is used as storage technology for operating systems in digital cameras or cellphones, has been in a downturn spiral for the past months.

Intel said that eight cellular OEMs have agreed to use M18 chips, including NEC and Sony Ericsson.