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PC card uses Intel's new flash memory chip

A new PC card includes Intel's StrataFlash flash memory chips, which Intel recently began shipping in limited quantities.

Electronic Designs has rolled out a new generation of its Linear Flash PCMCIA cards that includes the new StrataFlash flash memory chips from Intel, a technology shift which will boost memory capacity on PCMCIA flash memory cards approximately 22 percent.

Intel?s memory technology, dubbed StrataFlash, stores two pieces, or bits, of information in each tiny data "holder" within a memory chip. A memory chip is made up of millions of these data holders, referred to as cells. StrataFlash doubles storage capacity, which had traditionally been limited to one bit per cell.

With conventional flash chips, memory capacity on PCMCIA cards was limited to 64MB. The higher density chips allow Electronic Designs to pack 80MB onto a conventional PCMCIA card, according to the company.

Although touted with great fanfare as a new, revolutionary technology earlier this week by the New York Times and others, StrataFlash was actually introduced by Intel in 1994. Other memory makers, in fact, have been making flash memory with similar densities.

Still, Intel's announcement will provide momentum for higher density flash memory, according to Bruce Bonner, an analyst at Dataquest.

Higher density flash memory will likely enable the markets for smaller computing products such as digital cameras and personal digital assistants, he added.

Smart Modular Technologies has also announced it will use the StrataFlash chips in its cards.