updated 08:35 am EST, Wed January 24, 2007
Toshiba 16Gb Flash Memory
Toshiba said today that, together with SanDisk, it would be one of the first to mass-produce truly high-density, 16 gigabit NAND flash memory. The technique was achieved by shrinking the factory process from 70 to 56 nanometers, the company says, and will mark the first time 2GB of information can fit on a single chip without sacrificng speed. Although a slower multi-level cell chip, the smaller size along with optimization work means that the 16 gigabit chip is twice as fast as any of the company's earlier chips of the kind. Even historically slow write performance reaches 10MB per second, Toshiba claims.
The introduction could have a significant impact on digital audio players and other devices that depend on a large amount of flash storage but also need reliable speed. The company expects to ramp up full production by the spring. Samsung has also recently announced 16Gb chips and hopes to release them slightly ahead of its Japanese competitor, though the opening of the field to a second producer should quickly reduce the prices of the technology by the time it reaches final products.