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Faster NAND chips sample

Feb 2, 2008 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

Intel and Micron have announced high-speed NAND flash memory technology claimed to be five times faster than current products. Currently being sampled by Micron in an eight-gigabit single-level cell (SLC) version, the high-speed NAND will be generally available later this year, according to the companies.

The new high-speed NAND can reach speeds up to 200MB/sec. for reading data and 100MB/sec. for writing it, the companies said in a statement. In comparison, conventional single-level cell NAND is limited to 40MB/sec. for reads and less than 20MB/sec. for writes.

The technology could improve the performance of Windows Mobile Windows phones and XP Embedded devices by up to 500 percent, since these typically rely on flash for mass storage. Further, if used in a hybrid hard drive, high-speed NAND would boost performance by 200 to 400 percent, according to Micron.

Intel and Micron say they turbo-charged performance by using a new “four-plane architecture with higher clock speeds,” and apparently by further enhancing an interface specification defined by the Open NAND Flash Interface (ONFI) Working Group. The ONFI 2.0 specification, released in January, defines an interface that operates at up to 133MB/sec. It accomplishes this by using DDR (double data rate) signaling, already commonly used in DRAM, and by source synchronous clocks that “accurately latch signals enabling higher frequencies to be realized,” according to the ONFI.

The high-speed NAND technology will provide superior performance with two other standards, according to the companies. First, it will operate well with USB 3.0, expected to make its debut later this year. Since USB 3.0 is aiming for ten times the bandwidth of USB 2.0, conventional NAND could act as a bottleneck in system performance. Second, high-speed NAND can take advantage of the API offered by the Non-Volatile Memory Host Controller Interface (NVMHCI), a Dell, Microsoft, and Intel initiative aimed at making NAND flash work better as a storage medium for PCs.

Frankie Roohparvar, Micron vice president of NAND development, said, “We are working with an ecosystem of key enablers and partners to build and optimize corresponding system technologies that take advantage of [high-speed NAND's] improved performance capabilities. Micron is committed to NAND innovation and designing ne7 features into the technology for popular consumer electronic and computing devices.”


Designed using a 50 nanometer process, Micron's 8Gb SLC high-speed NAND chip is sampling now to major OEMs and controller manufacturers, it said. While only this version was mentioned in today's release, 16Gb and 32Gb chips also appear in the company's parts catalog.

Mass production is expected to begin in the second half of 2008, followed by future ONFI 2.0-derived NAND products in 2009.

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