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NAND flash memory provider SanDisk announced Jan. 23 that it expects to ship 56-nanometer multi-level cell flash memory chips this month with Toshiba from Fab 3, the 300mm wafer fabrication facility located at Toshiba’s Yokkaichi Operations near Nagoya, Japan.

By spring 2007, SanDisk intends to ship the highest available density of single-chip MLC NAND flash memory, a company spokesperson said.

After qualifying limited engineering samples, SanDisk plans to introduce the new 8-gigabit (1GB) single-chip, MLC NAND flash memory on 56nm process technology in the coming weeks, with commercial shipments slated for later in the first quarter.

In Q2-07, the company expects to introduce monolithic 16-gigabit (2GB) NAND, which will be the highest density single-chip MLC NAND flash memory in the industry.

“With the introduction of the 56nm and 16Gb process, SanDisk is rolling out its fifth generation of MLC NAND flash memory,” said Dr. Randhir Thakur, SanDisk’s executive vice president of technology and worldwide operations.

Click here to read more about SanDisk’s high-speed solid state drive.

“Having 16GB memory on 56nm process technology allows us to realize twice the memory density per chip when compared with 8GB 70nm technology. This allows us to achieve the highest single-chip density of MLC NAND flash memory, thus enabling us to produce even more cost-effective MLC NAND flash memory chips.”

With the technology and design advances in 56nm, SanDisk products also will offer approximately twice the improvement in write performance compared to the 70nm generation.

SanDisk and Toshiba share output from the Yokkaichi facility and have co-developed many of the designs and technologies in MLC NAND flash. The new 56nm flash will be produced initially at Fab 3, the first 300mm wafer facility that SanDisk and Toshiba opened in 2005.

By the end of this year, Fab 4, the new 300mm facility now under construction in connection with Flash Alliance, a venture between the two companies, will begin 56nm flash production.

Milpitas, Calif.-based SanDisk is the inventor of flash storage cards and is the world’s largest supplier of flash data storage card products.

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