IPods, USB storage to gain from Samsung chip
Samsung's 8Gbit NAND flash chips are in mass production.
IDG News Service - IPods, handsets, USB flash drives and other gadgets stand to gain from a new 8Gbit NAND flash memory chip in mass production at Samsung Electronics Co. chip factories.
The world's largest memory chip maker not only shrank the chips by about 25% from previous designs; it also increased the amount of songs, videos and other data that can be stored in small devices, it said today.
Users should see an increase in the amount of data storage capacity in small devices within the next six months thanks to the chip. Samsung said an 8GB NAND flash device can store 2,000 MP3 files or 225 minutes of DVD-quality video. It takes eight 8Gbit chips to create one 8GB device.
NAND flash is manufactured by vertically stacking two 4GB packages, each carrying a vertical stack of four 8Gbit chips. It's the kind of innovation the USB flash storage drive industry has been waiting for to push its devices to 16GB. The tricky issue for device makers now is that they will need to use four controller chips in such a drive, twice as many as in an 8GB model. Companies expect to leap that hurdle by the end of this year, meaning users should see 16GB USB flash drives in stores by Christmas.
Samsung is using 60-nanometer manufacturing technology to produce the chips. The nanometer measurement indicates the smallest size of the transistors and other features on chips. Making chip features smaller is important to reduce the size of chips, in addition to making them speedier and more energy efficient.
Shrinking the size of NAND flash memory chips is particularly important because the chips are used in so many small devices. Chip makers and other component makers have to reduce the size of the parts of a gadgets such as MP3 digital music players in order to miniaturize the entire gadget, or add more functions.
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