SUNNYVALE, Calif. -- SanDisk Corp. here and Toshiba Corp. in Japan have completed joint development of a 512-megabit NAND flash memory chip, and the two companies announced plans to begin shipping samples of the device to customers in the fourth quarter this year.
The 512-Mbit flash chip is the first jointly-developed product resulting from a partnership announced earlier this year. In addition to product development, the two companies have formed a venture, called FlashVision LLC, which will produce flash memories in Toshiba's Dominion Semiconductor LLC facility in Manassas, Va. (see May 9 story).
In addition to the 512-Mbit flash device, Toshiba said it plans to offer a 1-gigabit memory product, which uses two of the 512-Mbit chips stacked together in a monolithic package. Both products will be available in a thin small outline package (TSOP).
Toshiba said the new 512-Mbit memory is based on its 0.16-micron process technology and will initially be produced at the company's wafer fab in Yokkaichi, Japan. The device will be the first NAND flash to be fabricated at the Dominion Semiconductor facility, which is on schedule to start production with the 0.16-micron process technology by the middle of 2001, according to Toshiba.
"Even though SanDisk's engineers joined this program while it was already in the advanced stage of development, the cooperation between SanDisk and Toshiba has been mutually open and exceptionally productive," said Sanjay Mehrotra, senior vice president of engineering at the Sunnyvale company. "This first result of our long-term strategic agreement significantly raises the bar for the competition," he declared. "The new 0.16-micron NAND technology will serve as an excellent platform for other advanced NAND products that are currently under joint development."
The new 512-Mbit NAND flash is aimed at expanding the offerings of memory chips and flash card products from Toshiba and SanDisk. The two companies will independently market 512-Mbit devices to customers in such market applications as cellular phones, digital cameras, MP3 audio players and other systems that use removable flash cards.
The 512-Mbit flash will have an access time of 25 microseconds for the first amount of data and 50 nanosecond for serial access. Erase time will be 2 milliseconds per 16-kilobyte block. Programming time is 200 microseconds per page (512 by 16 bytes).
Samples of the 512-Mbit flash chip will be available from Toshiba in November, priced at $140 each. The 1-Gbit flash will sample in December, priced at $280 each. Volume production of products will begin in the fourth quarter at Toshiba's Yokkaichi fab.