Samsung Develops First 32-Gigabit NAND Flash Memory Chip

Samsung Electronics said Sept. 11 it has developed a new super chip with enough capacity to store 36,000 high-resolution photographs or 40 movie files.The world's largest memory chipmaker said it has developed the world's first 32-gigabit NAND flash memory chip based on a 40-nanometer processing technology. The chips are used in digital cameras and music players, among other applications.

"We have opened a new chapter in memory chip history," said Samsung Electronics president Hwang Chang-Gyu. The development will greatly extend the lifespan of NAND flash memory chips, widely used for digital cameras, MP3 players and other multimedia goods, he said. Hwang said the new product also guarantees "a higher level of reliability and better control" of data storage. The new chip is 28% smaller in data storage cell size.

Samsung developed the world's first 256-megabit NAND flash memory in 1999. It rolled out a 16-gigabit NAND flash memory chip using 50-nanometer processing technology last year. Fewer nanometers mean more semiconductors can be produced from each wafer.

"The new ... technology will extend the lifespan of NAND flash ... allowing for greater product minaturization and greater economies of scale in the production of consumer electronics," Hwang said.

The new device will help Samsung maintain its leading status in the sector, he said, adding the company has earmarked some 2.8 trillion won (US$2.9 billion) for research and development.

Samsung's profitability has been threatened by a recent price cut in memory chips. In the second quarter, its semiconductor sales fell 7% quarter-on-quarter to 4.17 trillion won due to weak prices. NAND flash memory prices will stabilize after a brief oversupply in the first quarter of next year, while D-RAMs, which are now used widely in personal computers, will remain strong until 2009, he said.

He said Samsung has also developed the world's first 512-megabit phase change random access memory chips or P-RAMs and high-speed hybrid memory chips. P-RAMs boast data-processing speed 30 times faster than existing memory chips and are more competitive in production costs than existing flash memory.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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