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Samsung starts mass production of 70-nanometer flash

Memory card prices look likely to fall following the announcement.

Memory card prices look likely to fall following Samsung's announcement late Monday that it had begun mass-producing 4GB NAND Flash memory chips using a 70-nanometer process. NAND Flash memory is used in CompactFlash cards and also in portable devices such as MP3 players, digital cameras and USB memory sticks. Moving to this 70-nanometer process will allow the creation of memory chips that are smaller, faster and cheaper than those produced on the 90-nanometer process that's been used before. (The nanometer figure refers to the average size of features on the chip.)

Samsung claims that a 4GB NAND flash chip built using this 70-nanometer process will be able to write data at 16mbps, 50 percent faster than the previous generation and fast enough to record high-definition digital video. Production quantities of the new chips are expected to increase the maximum storage capacity of USB memory sticks, which now commonly top out at 1GB, to 4GB or 8GB. Samsung announced back in September that it had created 70-nanometer 4GB NAND Flash memory. Tuesday's announcement shows that the company can now ship the product in commercial quantities.

Graeme Wearden of ZDNet UK reported from London.