The new 32nm X3 technology will allow for chips carrying 4GB of data each to be squished into a microSD form factor.
While Intel has been grabbing the headlines recently for being one of the first chip makers to introduce a 32nm process, it's not the only game in town: flash manufacturer SanDisk is looking to move its products to a 32nm die size by the second half of 2009.
As revealed over on ExtremeTech
, the solid state storage specialist is hoping that a die shrink to 32nm will allow it to make “higher capacities of microSD cards
” than was previously possible, according to executive vice president of SanDisk's OEM business unit Yoram Cedar. The 32nm chips will each be capable of storing 4GB – or 32Gb – of data, and are ideally suited to the cramped form factor of a microSD card.
While the 32nm die size products – codenamed X3 – are attention-grabbing in and of themselves, the company also has another trick up its sleeve for release some time in the first hal of this year. Dubbed X4 – unsurprisingly – the companion technology to the die shrink allows for four bits to be stored in a single cell. Based around the company's current 43nm die size, the X4 technology would allow storage of up to 8GB – 64Gb – on a single die.
While the capacity – and die size – is impressive, the need for additional error correcting code and specialist memory controllers common to both the X3 and X4 chips means the speed – while perfectly nippy – isn't anything mindbending: the X4 chips will write at 7.8MB/s while the X3 units can expect a slightly more sedate 5.6MB/s.
The company has not yet announced any firm products based around either technologies, but has presented technical papers on both at the International Solid-State Circuits Convention in San Francisco earlier this week.
Hoping to see some 4GB microSD cards – and larger – or has the day of the removable flash memory card been and gone, replaced with permanently attached SSDs and miniature mechanical hard disks? Share your thoughts over in the forums