The new memory chips are 256-megabit Dynamic RAMs (DRAM). Current chips in most PCs shipped within the last two years use 4-megabit DRAMs. The market is just now beginning a shift to 16-megabit DRAMs.
The Japanese company is shipping "samples" of these new DRAMs.
The 256-megabit chips will be the same size as today's 4-megabit memory chips but through new chip designs and improved manufacturing techniques, they are able to hold 64 times the data of 4-megabit chips.
In addition to meeting the demand for large amounts of memory in future PCs, these chips are also expected to be used in compact, portable computing devices that require lots of memory to run multimedia applications but have a limited amount of internal real estate.
These chips are also expected to be fast. NEC's sample chips run many times faster than today's memory chips.
NEC plans to begin commercial production of the new chip in the second half of 1998.