Samsung clears the way for 16GB flash disks

Hwang's law is a reality at Samsung, where developments in memory are expected to see flash cards with 16GB of storage appear next year

Samsung Electronics announced Monday that it has developed an 8GB NAND-type flash memory chip with a 60-nano design rule, paving the way for 16GB flash disks.

The company also made an announcement that it has developed the world's first 2-gigabyte double-data-rate dynamic random access memory(DDR DRAM) chip with an 80-nano design rule. It is the most common type of memory used in computers.

The 8Gb NAND flash memory will allow designs of up to 16 gigabytes (GB) of storage on a single memory card. That 16GB of memory translates into storage of up to 16 hours of DVD quality video or 4,000 (five minutes per song) MP3 audio files.

The key to development at such high densities and fine circuitry design is a 3-D cell transistor structure and high-dielectric gate insulating technology that minimizes the interference level between cells. In addition, by utilising the most widely used KrF lithography technology bit cost is reduced by 50 percent.

Hwang Chang-gyu, president of Samsung Electronics' semiconductor division, said, "The development has shown that the expansion of semiconductor capacity is also possible by improving design and process technology, rather than microprocess technology alone"

Dr. Hwang said the industry has seen densities grow from 256MB in 1999, to 512MB in 2000, 1GB in 2001, 2GB in 2002, 4GB in 2003 and now 8GB in 2004." Compared to 'Moore’s Law', which says the processing power of state-of-the-art computer chips will double every 18 months, the hypothesis is often called 'Hwang’s Law'.

Samsung expects to begin mass production of the two-gigabyte chip in the second half of 2005.

Global semiconductor sales growth should come in slightly below 10 percent next year following estimated growth of 20 percent this year, he estimated.

Morgan Stanley last week lowered its estimate for 2005 growth in semiconductor industry revenue to a range of 8 percent to 12 percent, from its previous range of 13 percent to 18 percent.

Seung-eun of ZDNet Korea reported from Seoul.

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