SanDisk Buying Msystems: What it Portends For the Future - The Next Level of NAND Flash
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Msystems specializes in non-removable flash technology and acts as a supplier to various OEM customers. It is also a partner of major flash manufacturers such as Toshiba, AMD and Saifun. It produces the de facto industry standard for flash management. The complementary points that the company brings to SanDisk includes its stake in the field of non-removable flash technologies. Msystems also has a tradition of research and innovation, with a long history of IP (intellectual property patents) to its credit.
One of Msystems' current core technologies is its trademarked x4 technology, which it touts as the next level of NAND technology. Remember, SanDisk and Toshiba are betting heavily on NAND, with a projected 600 billion yen on Fab 4 alone. The X4 technology is achieving new levels of storage, doubling data storage capabilities on NAND flash, while optimizing its reliability and performance. Apart from being projected to improve present flash-based products such as MP3 players, mobile phones and digital cameras, X4 is also expected to enable more cost effective solutions in the use of solid state discs for laptop hard drives; it's actually supposed to make those expensive babies cheaper! This technology is not expected to be mass produced until 2007, so all of these advantages are projections.
The increased storage capacity that X4 offers brings with it increased errors in data retention and long term endurance; power consumption will also be increased due to the higher rate of reading and writing data (new technologies often bring new problems with them). Msystems Patented TrueFSS technology corrects errors in flash memory on the fly, and dramatically prolongs device lifetime by using "advanced dynamic and static wear-leveling algorithms." According to the Msystems website on X4 technology, advanced Msystems error correction code (ECC) minimizes power consumption and silicone redundancy while optimizing performance (taken for granted is the idea that it actually reduces errors). Apart from all the above, X4 technology can be tailored to fit differing applications according to their performance requirements, ergo cards for multimedia storage will be different from those for solid state memory.
While NAND flash technology is being developed by Toshiba and SanDisk, Msystems developed the technology to optimize NAND flash and expand its uses; these complementary strengths are probably what Sanjay Mehrotra was talking about when he was being interviewed by Reuters.
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