SanDisk to begin making 'X4' flash chips

From CNET SanDisk is disclosing at a San Francisco technology conference Tuesday that it will begin mass production of memory chips that will allow consumers to store up to 64GB of data on tiny flash cards.

The Milpitas, Calif., company's X4 technology will pack four bits of data into each memory cell. To date, flash memory chipmakers typically stored one bit or two bits per cell.

SanDisk--the largest supplier of retail flash cards--is making the disclosure jointly with Toshiba at the 2009 International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC). The two companies will use 43-nanometer manufacturing process technology to make the chips.

X4 technology, which SanDisk got when it purchased M-Systems in 2006, will yield tiny Secure Digital (SD) flash cards that hold 64GB of data. Currently, mainstream SanDisk SD cards top out at 16GB, though pricey 32GB cards are also on the market.

"It is a 64-gigabit single die (chip), which is 8GB (per die), the highest capacity point in the industry," said Khandker Quader, senior vice president, memory technology & product development, SanDisk, in a phone interview Monday.

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