Sandisk Doubles Density Of Flash Memory

San Francisco (CA) - Sandisk announced that it has developed 43 nm multi-level NAND flash memory, which has twice the density of the current 56 nm generation. In a separate announcement, the company said that it has begun producing the first 3-bit-per-cell flash chips.

Three years ago, I wasn’t the only one believing that by 2008 NAND flash would be on its way out and we would have a good idea about a succeeding technology. In general, it is still expected that the economic viability of NAND flash (the type of flash that is used in memory cards and SSDs) will run out of steam, as it may become too expensive to manufacture the storage technology using smaller densities. This scenario may arrive at 32 nm or 22 nm and back in 2004 we expected these densities in the 2008 to 2010 timeframe. We aren’t far off this original plan, but flash certainly doesn’t look like it will drop dead anytime soon.

Further proof that NAND flash will stay for several more years is Sandisk’s announcement that it has developed memory devices using a 43 nm process technology, down from 56 nm, for the first time. These chips have twice the density of 56 nm units, suggesting that there is enough room to take CFII or SD memory cards to a capacity of at least 64 GB and mainstream SSDs easily to 128 and 256 GB.

Sandisk said that it will begin shipping the new memory in the second half of 2008 in 16 and 32 Gb configurations. "We consider x3 as a major commercial breakthrough for flash memory that will extend Moore’s Law in this and future generations of NAND flash storage," said Khandker Quader, senior vice president of flash memory design and product development at Sandisk, in a prepared statement.