Intel, Micron unveil high-speed NAND

New product launched

Intel and Micron have unveiled high-speed NAND flash memory technology that they say offers data transfer speeds five times faster than conventional NAND technology.

IM Flash Technologies, a joint venture of Micron and Intel, developed the new technology.

Simply called high-speed NAND, the 8GB single-level cell memory technology is currently being tested by OEMs and controller manufacturers. Micron expects to begin mass production of high-speed NAND technology by this northern summer, says Bill Lauer, the company's senior director of marketing.

The technology should enable accelerated download rates and quicker information access across enterprise hardware systems, applications, video and mobile devices, says Lauer.

According to Micron, the new high-speed SLC (single-level cell)-based NAND can race up to 200MB/s for reading data and 100MB/s for writing data using the Open NAND Flash Interface working group's 2.0 standard and a four-plane architecture running greater clock speeds. For comparison, Lauer notes that traditional SLC-based NAND is restricted to achieving speeds of 40MB/s to read data and up to 20MB/s write data.

"[NAND manufacturers are] focused on pushing [storage] density. Density's great, but from a usage perspective, we thought speed was the area that could really benefit from the most [architecture] improvement," Lauer says.

Micron plans to utilise its high-speed NAND to augment speeds of interface standards such as PCI Express and USB 3.0, which is still in development. The company also says it will construct a multilevel cell version of its technology within a year.

Joe Unsworth, an analyst at Gartner, says Intel and Micron's high-speed NAND should help boost adoption of flash memory technology among users looking for stronger performance.

He says that because of cost issues, the new high-speed technology probably won't "catch fire" and quickly be used in USB drives and flash memory cards. He says prices for flash-based solid-state storage must drop before it can present a strong challenge to hard disks.

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