Flash is fast

Intel has introduced a new flash memory chip designed to enhance the performance of cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs) and other wireless devices.

The 3V Synchronous Intel StrataFlash Memory is claimed to be up to four times faster than traditional flash memory.

Manufactured on a 0.18-micron process technology, the new chip represents the third generation of Intel’s multi-level cell (MLC) technology that allows twice the amount of data to be stored in a single memory cell.

A fast-read feature allows a software application to execute code directly out of flash, rather than downloading to a device’s random access memory for execution, saving the costs of redundant system memory and board space.

Synchronous Intel StrataFlash memory increases fast-read speeds by adding a 66-MHz burst mode. Burst mode increases memory throughput up to 92 MB/s, effectively four times faster than asynchronous reads on standard flash memory products.

For devices not capable of synchronous burst mode, the new chip also features an eight-word page mode that reads data more than twice as fast as traditional asynchronous flash memory products. Synchronous Intel StrataFlash memory uses 3V for the core device, and is available in either 3- or 1.8-volt I/O versions.

The device is available in densities from 64 Mbit to 256 Mbit. The 128 Mbit memory is sampling now, with production for all densities starting in April 2002. In 10,000-unit quantities, prices range from $10 for 64 Mbit chips to $35 for 256 Mbit chips.

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