updated 10:55 am EST, Tue December 29, 2009
Early 3-bit flash memory shipments returned
The first commercial shipment of 3-bit per cell MLC NAND flash memory manufactured by an unnamed Korean chipmaker was found to be less stable and consistent than existing 2-bit per cell flash memory, Digitimes reported on Tuesday, citing industry sources. The supplier's first batch, sent out to Chinese and US-based device makers, have allegedly been returned by a US client due to unreliable performance. Some controller chip designers believe 3-bit per cell chips require three more months of testing in order to iron out compatibility issues.
Taiwanese memory module makers have thus far received samples of 3-bit NAND chips from the same Korea-based supplier, and are working with controller suppliers to integrate the chips. The Taiwan electronics makers should ship final products using the new type of memory in the first quarter of next year, the unnamed sources believe.
Previously, companies had estimated that three quarters of all 2-bit per cell chips in entry-level memory cards and flash drives will be replaced by the denser 3-bit products in 2010. The 3-bits-per-cell memory provides about 50 percent more storage in the same space than today's commonplace 2-bits-per-cell flash.