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SanDisk Corp. said on Tuesday that that it would begin mass-production of the world’s first high performance 4-bits-per-cell (X4) flash memory. The new memory technology allows the company to build single-die 64Gb/8GB flash memory chips, which will power new flash products with significantly boosted capacities.

SanDisk’s 64Gb/8GB flash devices are manufactured using 43nm process technology at fabs built by SanDisk and Toshiba Corp. in Japan. The 4-bits-per-cell (X4) flash memory technology was acquired by the company when it took over M-Systems company back in 2006. The X4 flash memory technology allows to double, or even to quadruple capacities of existing flash-based devices without substantial increase in production costs, power consumption or sizes.

“The development of X4 memory and controller technologies is a major milestone for flash memory storage that will provide significant long term benefits to SanDisk. 64Gb X4 is the result of numerous key innovations, and demonstrates SanDisk’s leadership in driving multi-bit flash memory with performance and cost suitable for storage-intensive applications,” said Khandker Quader, senior vice president of memory technology and product development at SanDisk.

SanDisk has also introduced an advanced X4 controller, which is necessary to effectively manage the complexities and performance requirements of X4 memory. The X4 controller, developed by SanDisk, utilizes a first-of-its-kind error correcting code (ECC) scheme specifically developed for use in storage systems, and tailored to support the 16 levels of distribution needed for 4-bits-per-cell.

The first X4 flash memory chips boast with 7.8MB/s memory write performance, which is comparable with current multi-level cell technologies. SanDisk’s patented All-Bit-Line (ABL) architecture as well as the newly introduced three-step programming (TSP) and sequential sense concept (SSC) serve as key enablers to X4’s impressive performance.

The X4 memory chip combines with the X4 controller chip in a multi-chip package (MCP) to provide a complete and integrated storage solution.

“The inherent challenges in producing 4-bits-per-cell technology with good performance and low costs require advanced system level innovations in multi-level storage. Our X4 controller technology with its memory management and signal processing schemes is crucial to meeting the unique demands of 4-bits-per-cell memory, and demonstrates SanDisk’s ability to conceptualize and produce sophisticated flash memory solutions,” said Menahem Lasser, vice president of future technologies and innovation at SanDisk.

Tags: SanDisk, Toshiba, Flash, 43nm

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