Samsung has initiated mass production of 16 gigabit NAND flash chips. The company says these chips are made with 51nm process technology, which will make the production 60 percent more efficient than on the 60nm process which was first used by Samsung in August 2006. The new 51nm NAND flash chips have a read speed of 30MB/s and a write speed of 8MB/s.
The new 16Gb chip which has a multi-level cell (MLC) structure can facilitate capacity expansion by offering 16 gigabytes (GBs) of memory in a single memory card. Furthermore, by applying the new process technology, Samsung has accelerated the chip’s read and write speeds by approximately 80 percent over current MLC data processing speeds.
NAND flash memory reads and writes data in units called “pages.” The 60nm NAND flash memory is designed with a 2 KiloByte (KB) page size, but the 51nm 16Gb version can process data in 4 KB pages, nearly doubling the data rate. The product also maintains the same 4 bit error-correcting code (ECC) capability as that of 60nm NAND, allowing customers to use existing system interfaces with only minor firmware upgrades. With its 4 bit ECC, Samsung eliminates the need to secure a better ECC capability to assure sufficient reliability, which would have required new costly controllers.
Samsung will offer an optimized suite of Flash software and firmware-incorporated storage devices for music phones and MP3 players to support 4KB pages. It also will provide a multi-plane performance optimization feature and wear-leveling for improved reliability. Memory cards and MP3 controllers to support the 4KB-page are already available.
Technology migration to 16Gb is expected to boost the recent explosive demand for high-density data storage in high-end music phones and the phenomenal trend toward user created content (UCC). As the demand for video content grows stronger by the day, products that feature extended recording time of high-resolution video footage, including mid-to-high-range digital cameras, will particularly benefit from the high capacity and performance of 16Gb NAND flash memory.
With support technology in place, demand for 16Gb NAND flash memory is expected to grow rapidly, pushing this new chip into the mainstream market beginning late this year. Aggregate global sales through 2010 are estimated to be US$21 billion.