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Continued Toshiba-SanDisk dominance for flash memories

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Core information:

Related information:
One terabit of data in a fingertip-size NAND flash memory package from Intel and Micron joint venture [this blog, Dec 7, 2011]
Understanding TLC NAND [AnandTech, Feb 23, 2011]
Note: For MLC, you store two bits per cell. That is what SanDisk calling X2 technology. TLC takes that a step further and stores three bits per cell. SanDisk is calling that X3 technology. (They have even X4 technology which –however– they don’t produce anymore.)

SANDISK INAND EXTREME EMBEDDED FLASH MEMORY INCLUDED ON LEADING WINDOWS 8 DEVELOPMENT PLATFORMS [SanDisk press release, Feb 26, 2012]

MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS, BARCELONA, Feb. 26, 2012 – SandiskCorporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), a global leader in flash memory storage solutions, today announced it is working with key industry chipset vendors to help ensure a best-in-class user experience for mobile devices based on Microsoft Corp.’s upcoming Windows 8 operating system.

Companies such as Intel Corporation, Qualcomm Incorporated and Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) are using SanDisk iNAND Extreme embedded flash memory with some of their top Windows 8 hardware development platforms. SanDisk is working with these companies to optimize its iNAND Extreme flash memory products with Windows 8-based tablet and mobile designs.

“SanDisk is known for its deep technical expertise and has strong relationships with all major mobile handset and tablet manufacturers, mobile chipset vendors, operating system developers and standardization bodies,” said Dan Inbar, SanDisk senior vice president and general manager, OEM. “Because of the effort we make to continually drive innovation and foster stronger relationships with industry partners, we’re well positioned to extend our status as a leading provider of storage solutions to Windows 8-based systems.”

SanDisk iNAND Extreme is the company’s highest-performance e.MMC (embedded multi-media card) solution with up to 50MB* per second write and 80MB* per second read performance, along with very high speed random performance. SanDisk iNAND Extreme is optimized to improve system responsiveness and multitasking performance, as well as the browsing experience of Windows 8-based devices. iNAND Extreme is currently sampling to customers in 16GB to 64GB**capacities and is expected to be available in the second quarter.

“Qualcomm selected SanDisk’s iNAND Extreme technology for some of its Snapdragon S4-based reference design platforms running Windows 8 because Qualcomm wants to offer a best-in-class mobile user experience, including a high quality visual experience and high processing performance,” said Raj Talluri, vice president of product management, Qualcomm.

As smartphones, tablets and other consumer electronics devices become more complex it is increasingly important that all aspects of hardware and software design work together efficiently. Particularly with the introduction of new operating systems and more advanced applications, the need for tight integration between hardware and software is essential. SanDisk works with the entire ecosystem of hardware and software vendors to ensure its flash memory chips are optimized to help improve efficiency and deliver a better user experience.

As a result of this commitment to delivering a better mobile experience, SanDisk is deeply engaged with many other companies in the industry. This teamwork is on display this week at the SanDisk booth partner pavilion at Mobile World Congress located in Hall 8, booth number 8B91.

SanDisk Mobile Memory Leadership Products
As smaller, more powerful mobile devices have proliferated throughout the consumer electronics market, the use of flash memory has expanded from mobile phones and tablets to enable new products and new usage models. The SanDisk iNAND product family includes an embedded storage solution for every performance segment and capacity point in the mobile market including smartphones, tablets and consumer electronics. The SanDisk iNAND family includes iNAND*™, iNAND Ultra and iNAND Extreme products and includes SanDisk’s industry leading two and three-bit-per-cell NAND flash memory technology.

Harari Delivers Inspiring Keynote at ISSCC [Jim Handy, Objective Analysis Memory Market Research, Feb 23, 2012]

The annual International Solid State Circuits Eli Harari Delivers ISSCC KeynoteConference (ISSCC) is a gathering in which the brightest minds in semiconductors come to meet and share the results of their recent research and development efforts. This year the four keynotes at the opening plenary centered on a “Green” outlook, through Storage, Control, Computing, and Energy.

Naturally, as “The Memory Guy,” I focused all of my attention upon the storage keynote, given by SanDisk’s recently-retired CEO Eli Harari [an Israeli engineer founding SanDisk in 1988 together with Sanjay Mehrotra, the CEO since January 2011, and a US engineer of Indian birth]. Some of the more interesting points I came away with were:

  • In 1987, three years after having invented NOR flash, Toshiba’s Fujio Matsuoka invented NAND flash. This yielded a memory cell very close to the theoretical smallest size of 4f². Matsuoka is an “Out of the box” thinker.
  • Nobody thought it would work and looked upon NAND as a “crazy idea.” It was a solution looking for a problem.
  • Harari thanks Toshiba for not abandoning NAND. Perseverance in the face of naysayers really does pay off.
  • When SanDisk started to use NAND the controller overhead was so great the company was ridiculed by its competitors. The company stood its ground and eventually assisted NAND prevailed.
  • The lesson from this is: Stick to your convictions, especially when your gut instinct tells you that you’re right.
  • With today’s technology a 64GB microSD card offers about 6TB (that’s right Terabytes) per cubic inch. That means that the entire US Library of Congress can be contained in about 1.5 cubic inches (55cc.)
  • The Toshiba/SanDisk joint venture has been one of the most successful in the history of semiconductors, and now supplies roughly 40% of the world’s NAND flash.

The presentation included several historical landmarks I won’t include here and some humorous twists, as well as slides so technical that I didn’t understand them. (I have always been unable to grasp the basic concepts of energy bands.) Most important were the life lessons from an undisputed leader in the industry.

Harari’s keynote had the rapt attention of everyone in the room.

SanDisk co-founder: Flash to squeeze out hard drives and DRAM by 2020 [ExtremeTech, Feb 23, 2012]

The co-founder of SanDisk and one of the illustrious fathers of flash memory, Eli Harari, says that flash memory will “checkmate” hard drives by 2020. This is in stark contrast to Microsoft Research and UCSD, which earlier this week claimed that solid-state storage would meet its maker by 2024.

Speaking at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) on Monday, Harari not only proclaimedthat NAND flash would supplant spinning-platter hard drives, but also that DRAM could be on the way out as well. “Today, the cost of NAND per gigabyte is 10 times lower than the cost of DRAM … and that’s not likely to change,” Harari said. “The question is, can 10 gigabytes of NAND or one gigabyte of DRAM give you a better performance boost?”

Flash has been the dominant storage medium for years in the mobile space — cheap NAND was one of the most important factors in the explosion of digital photography and smartphones — and through tablets, ultrabooks, and enterprise applications, SSDs are really starting to dig into the HDD market share. With the steadily declining price of solid-state drives and their far superior performance, it’s really no big surprise.

According to Harari, though, it will be 3D resistive RAM (3D-ReRAM) that results in “checkmate for the hard disk drive industry.” ReRAM is a very old tech, but for various reasons never made it to the limelight — until 2008, when HP created the first memresistor. In much the same way that Intel has moved to FinFET to scale beyond 22nm, 3D-ReRAM is expected to take over from NAND flash at around 11nm, sometime in the next few years.

It is anticipated that 3D-ReRAM will be so fast and high-density that hard drives will be reduced to specific use cases, much like magnetic tape. “I believe that by 2020, flash – -which is highly scaled NAND and 3D resistive RAM –- will be the undisputed king of storage,” Harari predicts.

Finally, Herari also notes that the emergence and increasing reliance on cloud computing and storage could pose an issue, especially for mobile devices. Ultimately, irrespective of how much flash storage we have, mobile bandwidth is finite. There’s no point having hundreds of gigabytes of ultra-fast flash storage both in the cloud and on your phone when it can cost tens of dollars to transfer a single gigabyte of cellular data over a few-megabit connection.

More information: SanDisk daddy: Flash to ‘checkmate’ hard drives by 2020 [The Register, Feb 22, 2012]

SanDisk Corp. – Analyst/Investor Day transcripts [Seeking Alpha, Feb 16, 2012]
Corresponding presentation slides

SanDisk’s President and CEO, Sanjay Mehrotra:
… On the technology front, 2011 was another solid year for us. We launched 19 nanometer technology, the smallest node in production. And our die in 19 nanometer is the smallest, most cost-effective die. We led the industry with 19 nanometer technology development, but we also continue to work on future scaling, NAND scaling, 3D, BiCS technology, as well as 3D resistive RAM. And you are going to hear from us more later on in the presentations. …

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So let me talk about technology. We just announced our 19 nanometer, and we are shipping it since late last year. Our 19-nanometer, 128-gigabit deviceis the smallest memory chip in the industry, the most cost-effective memory chip. So our 19-nanometer portfolio gives us the most cost-effective multiple dies — multiple die — I mean multiple capacities such as 64 gigabit and 128 gigabit, and they are now ramping into production. Our 19-nanometer production is going successfully, and this is a mark of our technology and cost leadership in the industry.

Here, system expertise is used for 3-bit-per-cell production, because 3-bit-per-cell would not be possible without all the algorithms and the enhancements — performance enhancement features that the controllers implement on them. We leverage the controller expertise for such high level of 3-bit production, but we also leverage several advanced design techniques in our memory chip such as, an example I’ve shown here, of all bit line, ABL architecture. So SanDisk is very much focused on continuing to advance our memory cost leadership with features implemented in the chip, as well as in the systems.

image

And for the future, we are working on 3-pronged strategy that we have talked to you about before. First is about NAND scaling. Our engineers believe that NAND will continue to scale for a few more generations. Our roadmap shows that next year, we will have 1Y technology node in production for further cost reduction and giving us more bit growth. Following year, 2014, we believe we will have 1Z node in production, and we are continuing to work on future scaling approaches for NAND memory.

We believe that NAND will be the dominant technology in production for this decade. The ultimate technology as the NAND successor will be the 3D resistive RAM, which we have made strong progress in 2011. Strong progress in terms of materials research in determining the viability of this technology. This technology requires EUV for production, and we think this technology has production opportunity in beyond 2015 time frame.

And with 3D resistive RAM as the ultimate technology for the NAND successor, the BiCS 3D NAND, which we began collaboration with Toshiba early last year, we believe can offer interesting opportunities for bridge between future scaled NAND to the ultimate technology in the high-volume production of 3D resistive RAM. And the benefit of BiCS 3D NAND is that it can use the existing fab infrastructure to provide further cost reduction and higher capacity chips in the future.

I think our 3-pronged technology approach here, working in parallel on NAND scaling, on BiCS 3D NAND, as well as the ultimate 3D resistive RAM technology is a unique and differentiated approach. And I believe that we are well positioned for technology leadership for this decade and beyond. You will hear a lot more details of this from Ritu later on in his presentation.

… now I want to move into the third element of our vertical integration, our supply chain.

And here, first, I will talk about our fab infrastructure at Yokkaichi, Japan, in joint venture with Toshiba. What you are seeing here is the aerial view of our fab facilities in Japan. You see Fab 3 and Fab 4, and you see Phase 1 of Fab 5, which has completed construction and is already in production. And next to Phase 1, you can see vacant lot, and that is for future buildout of Phase 2. And ultimately, in the future, depending upon demand requirements, as we build out completely Phase 1 and build Phase 2, once Phase 1 and Phase 2 are both fully equipped in the future, the total capacity of Fab 5 will be similar to Fab 4.

image

I want to show you here that this complex of Fab 3, Fab 4 and Fab 5 is actually operating like one big mega fab. We have capability, as you can see on this picture, of transporting wafers between the factories. This red line actually shows an automated inter-building transportation system for the wafers. And I think the benefits of this really would be obvious. You are able to utilize the equipment in all 3 fabs. You are able to get the economies of this very large scale of these mega fabs of operation and essentially utilize these equipments at the highest utilization rate possible. So this is very good in terms of cost effectiveness of our production in our fabs in Yokkaichi.

Now let me move to our captive supply outlook. And we, in our last earnings call, had talked about that Fab 5 Phase 1 is now 30% equipped. We reached that level in January. We completed the ramp, the initial ramp in January. And we also had discussed in the earning call that we have paused the ramp and we don’t plan to start that ramp again, at least until July. So there are 2 key factors here to look at. We made this decision on a month-to-month basis. We look at our demand requirements for the future, and we also look at our progress of 19-nanometer technology ramp, as well as the yield RAM [ph]. And 19-nanometer technology is proceeding well in production. And we expect that for this year, our production ramp plan in Fab 5, together with our Fab 3 and Fab 4 production and 19-nanometer transition, will give us bit growth that will be slightly less than 2011’sbit growth. And just to remind you, the 2011 bit growth was 77%.

image

So we think that in terms of supply, our captive supply growth for this year, we are very well positioned to deliver a strong 2012. And looking at capacity expansion considerations beyond 2012, that means 2013 onward, the key factors here will be continuing capacity ramp in Phase I based on demand assessments. Second part would be for future buildout of Phase 2, which I don’t expect to be happening before 2013. And of course, our future technology transitions on NAND 1Y and 1Z, as well as the future technologies, the BiCS 3D NAND, as well as 3D resistive RAMboth will play a role in our future capacity plans, depending upon their production capabilities.

Ritu Shrivastava, Vice President of Technology Development:
Sanjay already mentioned and talked about the 3-pronged approach that we have, 3-pronged strategy, which is the NAND scaling, continue NAND scaling as long as possible, work on future technologies, which are the 3D resistive RAM and the BiCS 3D NAND for us. And these will allow us to assure competitive advantage, to keep scaling the technology, to keep reducing the cost, to keep increasing the density so that we can enable many more new applications compared to even what we have right now.

image

So let me tell you where we are right now. This is the technology roadmap that you probably already have seen. The 24-nanometer technology is in volume production — has been in volume production. 19-nanometer technology is the workhorse for this year, 2012, and it’s doing very well in the fab, ramping up. We have been working on 1Y technology, which will be for next year. And our main goal is to be able to have technologies, which when in production, give us the smallest die size, highest density, best reliability and in time. So 19-nanometer technology is in production. As an example, the highest density part that we have there is a 128-gigabit chip, which is an X3 3-bits-per-cell product. It is the highest density product in the world and the smallest die size in the world. That’s a very good achievement.

And earlier, you heard about vertical integration. Vertical integration allows these kinds of products, both X2 and X3, to be used in a variety of applications with very high reliability and performance. In fact, if you look at this product, it is, I’m very happy to say, it’s been accepted for presentation, publication in ISSCC, which is the premier design and technology conference, international solid-state circuit conference, and it will be presented there week after next. So for more details, you can tune into that.

Now how do we keep continuing with the scaling? So our view is that NAND scaling will keep continuing. However, there are many challengesthere that we need to overcome and we’ve been working very well to overcome those challenges. In this slide here, I describe a couple of those. Of course, the fundamental cell parameters have to be optimized, but these are the main ones that will determine how far NAND can scale.

So first one, of course, is the lithography. That is very critical. So the top right chart shows the cell X and Y dimensions. Obviously, those determine the final die size of the product, not just that, how you choose the scaling and X and Y dimension also determines the reliability. If you keep scaling it very fast before it’s time, you might not have a reliable product, so you have to very carefully optimize what X and Y dimensions are. The current lithography tools that we have in the fab, and those are available to anybody, the best ones are immersion lithography. And there’s a limit to X and Y dimension to which you can scale using the existing lithography. It’s shown in the green quadrant there. On the red side of the chart, the red quadrant, is the future lithography. That’s where you have EUV, you have different kinds of patterning, et cetera, but that gets very expensive and those technologies are not ready right now for production. So we have to scale the technologies intelligently. The cell size has to be scaled with care so that we can have a smallest die size product with highest reliability and which is manufacturable. Publishing papers, et cetera can keep going on the red quadrant but when you talk about the actual production, that’s what we need to focus on.

image

The second consideration that every flash vendor has to go through is the physical limit. So in the middle picture there, I’m showing the conventional cell that is the workhorse of the industry, very much for all the manufacturers. But the tricks that we use with the process innovation, et cetera, are going to determine how much you can scale and at what point do you need to change the structure. So what I’m showing there is there is a cell-to-cell interaction that goes on and as it keeps scaling at some point, you’re not able to deposit the layer which isolates the 2 cells. At that point, the cell becomes unreliable. There’s too much interaction that goes on. And so we have to go through process innovations, which we are going through to extend the proven workhorse cell as long as possible.

The third limit is the electrical limit. When you keep scaling the cell, the number of electrons which store your information in the cell keeps reducing. So the plot on the bottom right in red shows as we go through different technology generations how the number of electrons is reducing, right? And of course, one of my and our job functions is to keep those electrons from getting lost, being there. So as you see, they keep going down, and that is not good. So we have to, again, come up with process innovations where you change the structure of the process in a way that you keep the electrons as large as possible. And so there you see in the green chart, we’ve been able to do that. And that allows us to keep scaling. So the bottom line is that there will be process innovations required. There will be, in each NAND generation technology, could be significant changes. But the infrastructure that we have in place for this conventional NAND, the more we can extend it, the better cost structure we’ll have. So solving these problems through innovations keeps other costs low, which is one of the main goals. Of course, we’ll change the cell structure when needed.

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So we see that NAND scaling is going to keep going for a few more generations. And the innovations and process manufacturing technologies and the kind of vertical integration that you heard about earlier from Sanjay and others, in memory design, test, system-level solutions will allow us to extend this NAND roadmap. And with that, we’ll keep continuing, delivering the smallest die, highest density, low cost, good reliability, et cetera.

image

So when we take all that into account, this is what we are projecting our roadmap will look like. And you are looking at — on the 2014, 1Z technology, 1Z NAND and maybe some beyond that. And of course, in the meantime, we are making progress, good progress in our future technologies. Very aggressive post-NAND development work. So 1Y will be the technology for production for 2013. 1Z will come after that, and who knows how far we can keep going with that because when we will — because nobody really knows what the limits of NAND are. If you recall, I’m sure all of you know, when we were at 4x technologies, everyone was wondering, that’s the last node, then we went to 32, 24. Here, we are at 19. 19-nanometer is 190 angstroms. Gate oxides used to be 300 angstroms 15, 20 years back. Here we are in the horizontal direction with that kind of CD [ph]. So nobody really knows how long NAND can keep scaling. So we have to keep trying and we have to be innovative.

image

But we are aggressively working on the future NAND, future technologies beyond NAND, and I’d like to give a brief update on our 3D resistive RAM. So once you go beyond the electronic storage, we get into the realm of where we have to rely on material change. So 3D resistive RAM is dependent on the resistance change of the material versus the electrons. And this approach, we believe, is the best approach for the long term. This technology, once we put in production, will keep going for a long time. However, the current promising approaches — that we have for this technology require EUV, extreme EUV lithography, which as you probably know, is not ready and still is in development. But there are many other components to this technology that we still can work on and perfect, so that when the technology’s available for lithography, we can put this in production. And as an example — and we made good progress there. As an example, on the right chart there, you see the bit cycling yield. Cycling is when you go through — you take the material through low resistance and high resistance state and you keep cycling as a function of number of cycles. It looks very good. So we are very pleased with that. So this can provide us with production opportunities beyond 2015.And we are very excited about that.

image

The second technology which we’re working on, which is still a form of NAND but it’s a 3-dimensional NAND, so the NAND string here is vertical, which means that you can have a number of layers, one on top of the other. You can come up with products with extremely high densities, which are not possible by 2D NAND that we currently have. Moreover, it utilizes the existing infrastructure. It does not rely, it does not need EUV. So you are able to take this technology, utilize the existing infrastructure and take it to production. Again, we are making progress here. We have had some good key developments on the process front. We have a 24-layer development test vehicle. By the way, for both the 3D resistive RAM that I showed earlier, that was also tested utilizing a test vehicle to look at all the process and device technology developments.

So here, we have got 24-layer structure. In the middle picture, you see the fully processed wafer. On the right-hand side, you see a picture which was taken in line. Again, please note that these are still in these process modules and technology. They’re still in development. At the bottom, you’ll see something very interesting, which is storing 2 bits per cell. You see 4 states, distinct states that is required for the 3D RAM technology to be cost effective. And we are very pleased to see that we’re able to do that. So this could be a bridge to the 3D resistive RAMtechnology that I showed earlier. And if we’re able to complete this development and the timing is right then it can go into production using existing infrastructure.

Now let me change the topic a little bit. Earlier, I talked about different technologies. The question, of course, arises. Are these new technologies going to replace the applications that we have for NAND? And so here, I’m showing a spider chart, which shows 2 kinds of things. It’s kind of busy but I think you can see the black boxes with the red boundary. The attributes of technologies, so low cost per bit. One of the reasons why NAND has been so successful is because of scaling the technology and the cost reductions. SanDisk alone in the last 20 years has reduced the cost by a factor of 50,000. 50,000. That’s quite a lot. Other technologies right now are not getting scaled like the NAND has been scaling. So low cost per bit is important. Endurance, you have the speed, and then you have the data retention.

image

Now different applications may require different combinations of these things. For example, if you look at the 1:00 position there, there’s an application for set-top boxes [TV/STB]. I’m sure many of you have them. Set-top boxes keep storing data constantly. But you don’t read them that often. So the endurance requirement there has to be very high. But the data retention doesn’t need to be that high.

If you look at 10:00 position, there’s an application for navigation. I’m sure many or most of you have GPS systems. GPS requires reading all the time. There’s no writing, so why burden that application with high endurance kind of consideration or requirement? So you can trade off — one of the beauties of NAND is you can trade off performance, data retention, endurance and make it applicable to a given application. That’s what is so powerful about NAND.

So the spider chart shows you qualitatively, and actually, we have gone quantitative calculations too, of how this given technology or a given technology does against those different properties. So if you look at the next one, which is BiCS, I showed and talked about that earlier, comes very close. In fact, in cost per bit, it’s even better. Obviously, once we start designing the systems, the circuit design architecture, you can optimize some of these things and maybe we can actually improve upon this.

This one in yellow is the 3D resistive RAM. This is the reason why we think this is a technology of future, which can replace NAND. Most of the properties that you see here are actually better — can be better in 3D resistive RAM.

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So this, in short, tells us that we have a very, very strong strategy, a 3-pronged strategy, which allows us continuation of scaling that we have going on right now on the NAND, push NAND as hard as we can. Obviously, we’ll have challenges but we need to solve them and use the existing infrastructure. We think that NAND will be the dominant technology for the rest of the decade. We also think that technologies are very likely to coexist. I don’t envision where one day suddenly somebody has a very good technology and within 6 months or a year, you can replace something as strong and widespread and useful as NAND with the infrastructure that we have in the fabs, et cetera. And that 3D resistive RAM will be the successor into the next decade.

So I think we are positioned extremely well in terms of where we are, where we have to go in the short term and where we will be in the long term. And hopefully, this 4K to 64 gig someday will be multiple terabits, and we’ll all have to figure out what we’re going to use it for, like we were wondering about 20 years back. Thank you.

SanDisk Corp. – Analyst/Investor Day Q&A [Seeking Alpha, Feb 16, 2012]

Unknown Attendee

I was wondering in the SSD space, if you could comment on maybe your units or market share, and if you have any visibility or expectations into what that might bias towards one way or another. And then somewhat separately, on the stand-alone SSD drive, when we’re talking about the 128-gig densities, is there any price elasticity that you’re starting to see there that can maybe get consumers biasing up towards higher densities that they’re accustomed to with the hard disk drives?

Sanjay Mehrotra

Kevin, you…

Kevin Conley

Yes. So over the last year, we’re obviously just establishing ourselves in the mainstream SSD space. So it’s probably a little bit early to be talking about market share significantly. We feel that with the growth in the opportunity in the market and the strength that SanDisk brings, that we will see increased market share over the next year, and very much see that as a positive opportunity. In terms of the elasticity in — 128 gigabyte is seen as the mainstream capacity there, because 60 gig is a little bit too small with the images of the OS, et cetera. So in that 128 gigabyte, a generally accepted rule of thumb is that as soon as the cost comes below $100 to the end user that, that as an option against even 1 terabyte of rotating storage is where people will start to gravitate towards that. I think it’s a little bit hard to know if that’s true or not. We’ve heard $1 per gigabyte. We’ve heard a number of different easy numbers to get our heads around to see that. I think, though, that where we sit today at around that $1 per gigabyte point, that we do start to see this being adopted in greater numbers and are starting to see an inflection point.

Sanjay Mehrotra

I will just add that from a share perspective, as we showed you that last year, our revenue, approximately 3% from SSD, total contribution of SSD on our revenue. So that last year, our share particularly on the client side is small. However, we are on a fast revenue ramp rate on this part of the business and we absolutely expect to be gaining share there, on our march toward — SSD is becoming 25% of our revenue. So it’s a huge opportunity ahead for us.

Unknown Attendee

And I was wondering also with X3, where is it in terms of endurance and how close is it to maybe meeting some of the capabilities that the SSD market might want it to have?

Kevin Conley

So in the client space, I would say that based upon our experience, especially in the entry-level space and some of those other opportunities apart from the mainstream computing, that X3 probably does have some very interesting applications there. And you can expect probably to hear more about this from us in the future.

Unknown Attendee

So there seems to be 2 different timelines for when 3D ReRAM will be ready and when the EUV tools will be ready. Can you maybe speak a little bit about the potential time lag in the future?

Ritu Shrivastava

Okay. So as everyone knows, EUV is behind its original schedule in terms of the production worthiness. And as I mentioned in my presentation, the promising 3D technology does require EUV. So as we mentioned, 3D resistive RAM technology is for beyond 2015. In the interim period, as a bridge, that is why we are working on the 3D NAND, which is BiCS. It does not require EUV. So I think in terms of the timelines, when the EUV systems are ready for production, it can be deployed. And of course, the cost and everything depends on the readiness of the EUV system. Right now, as everyone knows, the throughput of EUV system is not there yet, it still has long ways to go.

Unknown Attendee

… And then question number 2 goes to Ritu. So when do you think these penny-sized SSD, the 128 gigabytes will reach an inflection point? Because Intel announced a chip with, I think, Micron, right? These 128-gigabyte NAND chips, I can basically fit on motherboards I think within 1 or 2 years. And so how will that affect you competitively? And the second one, what do you think of IBM’s PCM chips?

Kevin Conley

[Re: Intel-Micron] Yes, so regarding the iSSD [SanDisk iSSD integrated solid state device with wide range of capacities (8 GB- 128 GB) introduced in August 18, 2010 with upto 64 GB capacity], we have actually seen some pretty good traction over the past year, mostly in the side-by-side caching-type configurations, where space is at a premium within the platform. So the small form factor of the high-performance SSD module has a lot of advantages. Today, we are the only ones in mass production of that product even though we have taken great lengths to standardize it and had other top-tier semiconductor companies as part of that standardization effort [the new SATA µSSD™ specification]. So we do expect that with the addition of competition in that space, actually, it’ll grow the opportunity. And that should happen in 2012. And then I think there was a phase-change question.

Ritu Shrivastava

[Re: IBM] Yes, I hope you can hear me okay. So phase change technology is, like I think I mentioned in the last or Sanjay mentioned last time, is good for certain applications, certain niche applications. In our analysis, we don’t see how it will scale down that aggressively like our choice of technologies do. It requires much higher energy to change states because it’s a function of thermal energy requirement. And it needs to be multilevel cell, 2 bits or 3 bits per cell in order to compete with the kind of technologies that we need. So for certain applications, it may be good, where it will require high endurance, replacing, say, DRAM or replacing NOR kind of applications. But currently, we don’t see how it can replace cost-sensitive, high-density, high-performance kind of NAND applications.

Unknown Attendee

A few questions in — from the past and some from the future and a couple from the present and also to the future. In the past, go back 3 or 4 years, when we talked about X4, and what has happened with that since — has it gone to OTP or has it gone to the Memory Vault or is it just — wasn’t cost effective?

Sanjay Mehrotra

Okay. So let me take that. We do not produce X4 anymore. As we have mentioned, more than 50% of our production bits that we sell are in X3 memory. What’s happening is that the memory technology as we keep emphasizing is getting more and more complex. So to get 3 bits out of the memory cell and to be able to apply it in such broad array of products and deliver the performance and the reliability that it requires absolutely, again, really needs everything that we have in our system expertise. 4-bit-per-cell bit technology continuing to get more complex is much harder at this point to produce. And really, what will end up happening here is that it will be in very small number of applications. And then that technology will really not deliver the merit of this — capabilities. So we have decided not to pursue 4-bit-per-cell.

However, the learnings that we had from 4-bit-per-cell technology related to things like strongECC, which is what was developed at the time of the 4-bit-per-cell. Today, it is being used for all of our products with 3-bit-per-cell and even those kinds of techniques are being applied now to SSDs and going also to 2-bit-per-cell as the technology roadmap advances for that. So we really benefited a lot from our 4-bit-per-cell work. But it is not — 4-bit-per-cell NAND is not the technology of the future in terms of production.

Unknown Attendee

You’ve tried in different times to bring out content or content delivery. What happened with slotRadio and slotMusic? Is that still alive or was that another learning experience?

Shuki Nir

slotMusic and slotRadio has been, like you said, some of that we did in the content area, we don’t continue these products anymore. They are still being sold through some of our retail partners but we don’t see how we continue offering them in the future. However, we did take these security capabilities of using DRM for securing the content into some more interesting applications that we’ve had. One of them, we presented last year. It’s the Muve Music card that Cricket is offeringto their subscribers. So it’s based on the very same technology. And actually, it takes the content, that they bring into [indiscernible] this package and they sell to their customers a package of data, voice and content combined. So the technology is coming from us, the content is bought by them.

Sanjay Mehrotra

I just want to point out that things like X4 or slotMusic, slotRadio, these are innovation technologies and approaches that we absolutely need to be able to bring out to the market. Through these, we really learn. And as it goes with any innovation, that some of them may not become a big marketer [ph], but they lead to other opportunities. Just like I mentioned for X4, we learned ECC and we are applying it to others. Same with slotMusic, slot video, as Shuki mentioned, with Cricket, the Muve Music, growing — interesting opportunity with that customer. And I believe that it has given us a platform that in the future, we will be able to bring interesting content-related opportunities to the consumers, so stay tuned.

Related information:
Blurring lines between smartphones and feature phones: the Muve Music Phone case from Cricket Communications [Dec 2, 2011]

Toshiba develops, manufactures 19nm generation NAND Flash Memory with world’s largest density and smallest die size [Toshiba press release, Feb 23, 2012]

128 Gb capacity in a 3-bit-per-cell chip on a 170mm2 die

TOKYO—Toshiba Corporation (TOKYO: 6502) today announced breakthroughs in NAND flash that secure major advances in chip density and performance. In the 19 nanometer (nm) generation, Toshiba has developed a 3-bit-per-cell 128 gigabit (Gb) chip with the world’s smallest[1] die size—170mm2—and fastest write speed[2]—18MB/s of any 3-bit-per-cell device. The chip entered mass production earlier this month and Toshiba and its technology partner, SanDisk, unveiled its key technology advances at the International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco, California on Feb 22 (local time).

Manufacturers of NAND flash memories must respond to demand for higher densities at competitive costs for such applications as USB memories and memory cards. Toshiba has achieved both through the application of its innovative technologies.

The new 3-bit-per-cell 19nm generation device uses the three-step programming algorithm and air-gap technology[3] for transistors, effectively reducing coupling between memory cells down to 5%[4], achieving a write speed performance of 18MB/s. In three-step writing technology, it writes through rough distribution in the second step, and tightens as well-defined distribution at the third.

Toshiba has also optimized the peripheral circuit structure of the chip, securing a 20% reduction in area from current chips[5], an achievement that significantly contributed to the 170mm2 die size, the smallest yet achieved at this density.

Toshiba and SanDisk have maintained their continuing leadership in the development and manufacture of advanced NAND flash memory. Toshiba will promote further development in leading-edge process technologies to further widen the scope of application and to expand the NAND flash memory market.

[1] As of February, 2012
[2] As of February, 2012
[3] Air gap is a technology that creates gap between the cells and reduce coupling between the cells
[4] A comparison between 19nm process, 3-bit-per-cell product, without using the developed three-step technology
[5] A comparison between 19nm process, 3-bit-per-cell product, with conventional circuit technology

SANDISK DEVELOPS WORLD’S SMALLEST 128Gb NAND FLASH MEMORY CHIP [SanDisk press release, Feb 22, 2012]

  • Highest-capacity single die NAND flash memory chip extends leadership in three-bit per cell technology
  • Paper outlining achievement to be delivered at technical conference

SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), a global leader in flash memory storage solutions, today announced it has developed the world’s smallest 128 gigabit (Gb)* NAND flash memory chip currently in production. The semiconductor device can store 128 billion individual bits of information on a single silicon die 170mm2in size – a little more than a quarter of an inch squared, or smaller than the area covered by a U.S. penny.

The use of NAND flash memory in high tech equipment like smartphones, tablets and solid state drives (SSDs) allows advances in the full function, small form factor devices that are highly valued by consumers. Shrinking the size of NAND flash memory allows smaller, more powerful computing, communications and consumer electronics devices to be built while keeping costs low.

SanDisk built the 128Gb NAND flash memory chip on the company’s industry-leading 19 nanometer (nm) process technology. A nanometer measures one-billionth of a meter, meaning that 19nm circuit lines are so small that about 3,000 of them could fit across the width of a human hair. The chip also employs SanDisk’s three-bit per cell (X3) technologythat allows the company to build NAND flash memory products with the ability to read and write three bits of information in each memory cell.

At 19nm, SanDisk is deploying its ninth generation of multi-level cell (MLC) NAND products and fifth generation of X3 technology. This combination of manufacturing and technical expertise helps SanDisk pack more information into each memory cell making it possible to create a smaller, denser NAND flash memory chip.

“Building a 128Gb NAND flash memory chip with this level of complexity is an incredible achievement,” said Mehrdad Mofidi, vice president, Memory Design. “This innovation allows SanDisk to continue to be a leader in helping our customers deliver smaller, more powerful products capable of doing more at lower cost.”

In addition to reduced size, the 128Gb semiconductor device has an industry-leading X3 write performance of 18 megabytes (MB)** per second. This level of performance is achieved using SanDisk’s patented advanced all bit line (ABL) architectureand means that X3 technology could be extended to certain product categories that use MLC NAND flash memory. A technical paper outlining the breakthrough will be presented at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco today.

The 128Gb NAND flash memory chip was developed jointly by teams from SanDisk and Toshiba at SanDisk’s Milpitas campus. The effort was led by Yan Li, director of Memory Design at SanDisk. Products based on the 128Gb three-bit per cell technology began shipping late last year and have already started to ramp into high volume production. SanDisk has also developed a derivative product based on the success of the 128Gb chip – a 64Gb, X3 NAND flash memory chip that is compatible with the industry-standard microSD™ format. The company has also started to ramp production of this additional chip technology.

NAND flash memory is the technology behind the high reliability, small form factor storage solutions that SanDisk sells to OEM customers for use in a wide variety of products such as smartphones, tablets and Ultrabooks. It is also the technology used in products SanDisk sells through its retail channel in the form of imaging and mobile cards, USB drives and mp3 players.

About SanDisk
SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK) is a global leader in flash memory storage solutions, from research and development, product design and manufacturing to branding and distribution for OEM and retail channels. Since 1988, SanDisk’s innovations in flash memory and storage system technologies have provided customers with new and transformational digital experiences. SanDisk’s diverse product portfolio includes flash memory cards and embedded solutions used in smart phones, tablets, digital cameras, camcorders, digital media players and other consumer electronic devices, as well as USB flash drives and solid-state drives (SSD) for the computing market. SanDisk’s products are used by consumers and enterprise customers around the world.

SanDisk is a Silicon Valley-based S&P 500 and Fortune 500 company, with more than half its sales outside the United States. For more information, visit www.sandisk.com

128Gb 3-Bit Per Cell NAND Flash Memory on 19nm Technology with 18MB/s Write Rate and 400Mbps Toggle Mode [paper submitted to ISSCC 2012 by SanDisk and Toshiba authors, Feb 21, 2012]

Abstract
A 128Gb 8-level NAND flash memory using 19nm CMOS technology has been developed. 128Gb is the largest single-chip capacity NAND memory. At 170mm2 die size, this development achieves the highest Gb/mm2 in NAND flash memory. In addition to All Bit-Line (ABL) programming and sensing, Air Gap technology and a Toggle Mode 400Mbps I/O interface, along with improvements in sensing accuracy, enable this 3-bit per cell (X3) design to achieve a write throughput of 18MB/s using standard BCH ECC.

Since the first 3-bit per cell (X3) NAND flash memory paper in ISSCC 2008 [1], market demand for applications using high density, low cost flash memory, such as tablets, smart phones, and Solid State Drives, has increased rapidly. Various electronic devices already use X3 NAND. The use of All Bit-Line (ABL) architecture, advanced circuitry, and enhanced algorithms enables this work to achieve 18MB/s performance, allowing penetration of markets where 2-bit per cell (D2) NAND has been used. As
NAND memory scales aggressively towards 10nm, achieving the same level of performance with X3 chips is increasingly difficult. This paper addresses challenges faced and improvements made over previous NAND generations to achieve high performance while maintaining a low Fail Bit Count, as well as cost savings derived from an improved architecture and tightly packed peripheral circuits. Leveraging Air Gap [2,3] technology further improves write throughput by reducing neighbor interference and
word-line (WL) RC. A Toggle Mode 400Mbps I/O interface implemented to reduce system overhead and enhances overall product performance.

[1] Li, Y. et al; “A 16Gb 3b/Cell NAND Flash Memory in 56nm with 8MB/s Write Rate.” ISSCC Dig. Tech Papers, pp.506-507, Feb., 2008.

PANASONIC, SAMSUNG, SANDISK, SONY AND TOSHIBA JOIN FORCES TO COLLABORATE ON NEXT GENERATION SECURE MEMORY SOLUTION [… press release, Dec 20, 2011]

Five Companies plan to jointly form ‘Next Generation Secure Memory Initiative’

Panasonic Corporation, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., SanDisk Corporation, Sony Corporation and Toshiba Corporation today announced that they have reached an agreement in principle to collaborate on a new content protection technology for flash memory cards such as SD Cards and various storage devices. Under the “Next Generation Secure Memory Initiative,” *1the five companies will start preparing for licensing and promotion of HD (high-definition)-capable security for SD Cards and embedded memory for use in advanced consumer applications such as tablets and smartphones.

This content protection solution will be robust enough to protect HD content. A high level of content security will be realized through the use of the initiative’s technologies, including unique ID (identification) technology for flash memory and robust copy protection based on public key infrastructure.

The five companies believe this technology will enable various HD content applications such as HD network download, broadcast content to go and HD Digital Copy/Managed Copy from Blu-ray DiscTM*2 media. With these applications, users can enjoy HD content on a wide range of devices, including AndroidTM*3-based smartphones and tablets, TVs and Blu-rayTM*4products.

The five companies believe that they each can make substantial contributions that, when combined, will enable them to start licensing the new secure memory technology early next year. The five companies expect to see adoption of flash memory products and various embedded flash memory solutions using this technology in the market in 2012.

“Panasonic has always been an innovator in providing the best possible content viewing experience in the living room through development of Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3DTMtechnologies and products,” said Yoshiyuki Miyabe, Corporate CTO, Panasonic Corporation. “With our new secure memory solution, we are excited to create a strong link between the living room experience and the mobile experience. Now consumers can enjoy watching premier content, such as movies, on the go with their smartphones and tablets.”

“Samsung believes that the time is ripe for an advanced security solution and welcomes the opportunity to deliver a highly viable solution using flash memory chips. Samsung’s ongoing commitment to technology excellence will now further extend to early market availability of high-performance NAND technologies implementing the new advanced security solution,” said Young-Hyun Jun, Executive Vice President, Memory Business, Samsung Electronics. Co., Ltd.

“Consumers are ready for a solution that enables the effortless consumption of online and offline content across multiple device platforms,” said Sumit Sadana, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer for SanDisk. “SanDisk looks forward to building on its history of innovation in the Flash industry by delivering optimized memory solutions to enable this new usage model with robust security technologies that can protect premium content.”

“We believe the secure solution created by this initiative will enable customers to enjoy high quality experiences anytime, anywhere. Sony has always been focused on bringing amazing experiences to people through highly-advanced technologies in content creation, content distribution and picture display,” said Hiroshi Yoshioka, Corporate Executive Officer and Executive Deputy President, Sony Corporation.

“This technology will open a new door to flash memory applications. As a flash memory manufacturer, we are pleased that our flash memory technology will contribute to bringing people more convenient and exciting experiences of HD content. We will continue our development efforts to create surprising innovation,” said Yasuo Naruke, Corporate Vice President, Vice President, Memory Division, Semiconductor & Storage Products Company, Toshiba Corporation.

About ‘Next Generation Secure Memory Initiative’

‘Next Generation Secure Memory Initiative’ (a tentative name) is a collaboration of Panasonic, Samsung, SanDisk, Sony and Toshiba to license and promote HD (high-definition)-capable security for SD Cards and embedded memory for use in advanced consumer applications such as tablets and smartphones. For the details, please visit http://nextgenerationsecurememory.com/

*1 “Next Generation Secure Memory Initiative” is the tentative name, it will be decided later.
*2 “Blu-ray Disc”, “Blu-ray” and “Blu-ray 3D” are trademarks of Blu-ray Disc Association
*3 “Android” is a trademark of Google Inc.
*4 “Blu-ray Disc”, “Blu-ray” and “Blu-ray 3D” are trademarks of Blu-ray Disc Association

Toshiba and SanDisk Celebrate the Opening of Fab 5 300mm NAND Flash Memory Fabrication Facility in Japan [Toshiba press release, July 12, 2011]

Fab 5 at Toshiba Yokkaichi OperationsToshiba Yokkaichi Operations, Fab 5 at top

The clean room at Toshiba Yokkaichi Operations Fab 5The clean room at Toshiba Yokkaichi Operations Fab 5

Yokkaichi, Mie, Japan, July 12, 2011 — Toshiba Corporation (TOKYO: 6502) and SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK) today celebrated the opening of Fab 5, the third 300mm wafer NAND fabrication facility at Toshiba’s Yokkaichi Operations in Mie Prefecture, Japan.

Consumer demand for smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices continues to fuel strong global demand for NAND flash memory. Toshiba began the construction of Fab 5 in July 2010, and the new facility, equipped with manufacturing equipment funded by Toshiba and SanDisk, started volume production in July 2011. Fab 5 currently uses 24 nanometer (nm)* process technology and its first wafer outs will be in August. In time, the fab will transition to more advanced process generations, starting with recently announced 19nm technology, the world’s smallest, most advanced process node.

Fab 5 incorporates advanced earthquake-absorbing structures and integrates multiple power compensation techniques for protection against unexpected disruptions. LED lighting and power-saving manufacturing equipment will support the fab in securing Toshiba’s goal of 12 percent less CO2emissions than Fab 4. A wafer transportation system links the facility with Fabs 3 and 4 to support efficient manufacturing.

Flash Forward, Ltd., a joint venture between Toshiba and SanDisk established in September 2010(50.1 percent owned by Toshiba and 49.9 percent by SanDisk), funded the advanced manufacturing equipment within the fab.

* Note: 1 nanometer = one billionth of a meter

Outline of Fab 5 at Yokkaichi Operations

Structure of building: 2-Story steel frame concrete, five floors
Building area: Approximately 38,000m2
Floor area: Approximately 187,000m2
Start of construction: July 2010
Building completion: March 2011
Start of volume production: July 2011

Outline of Toshiba’s Yokkaichi Operations

Location: 800 Yamanoisshiki-cho, Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture
Established: January 1992
General Manager: Koji Sato
Employees: Approximately 4,400
(as of end of March 2011, regular employees only for Toshiba)
Total site area: Approximately 436,800m2
Total floor area: Approximately 647,000m2

Outline of Flash Forward, Ltd.

Location: 800 Yamanoisshiki-cho, Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture
Established: September 2010
President and CEO: Hideyuki Kobayashi
Holding: Toshiba: 50.1%, SanDisk: 49.9%

SanDisk’s operations in Yokkaichi include more than 300 employees under the leadership of SanDisk Japan President and General Manager, Dr. Atsuyoshi Koike.

About Toshiba

Toshiba is a world leader and innovator in pioneering high technology, a diversified manufacturer and marketer of advanced electronic and electrical products spanning digital consumer products; electronic devices and components; power systems, including nuclear energy; industrial and social infrastructure systems; and home appliances. Toshiba was founded in 1875, and today operates a global network of more than 490 companies, with 203,000 employees worldwide and annual sales surpassing 6.3 trillion yen (US$77 billion). Visit Toshiba’s web site at www.toshiba.co.jp/index.htm.

About SanDisk

SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK) is a global leader in flash memory storage solutions, from research and development, product design and manufacturing to branding and distribution for OEM and retail channels. Since 1988, SanDisk’s innovations in flash memory and storage system technologies have provided customers with new and transformational digital experiences. SanDisk’s diverse product portfolio includes flash memory cards and embedded solutions used in smart phones, tablets, digital cameras, camcorders, digital media players and other consumer electronic devices, as well as USB flash drives and solid-state drives (SSD) for the computing market. SanDisk’s products are used by consumers and enterprise customers around the world.

SanDisk is a Silicon Valley-based S&P 500 and Fortune 500 company, with more than half its sales outside the United States. For more information, visit www.sandisk.com.

Toshiba launches 19nm process NAND flash memory [Toshiba press release, April 21 2011]

The world’s finest process yields single chips with a 64 gigabit capacity

TOKYO — Toshiba Corporation (TOKYO: 6502), reinforcing its leadership in the development and fabrication of cutting-edge, high density NAND flash memories, today announced that it has fabricated NAND flash memories with 19nm*1 process technology, the finest level yet achieved. This latest technology advance has already been applied to 2-bit-per-cell 64-gigabit (Gb) chips that are the world’s smallest and offer the highest density on a single chip (8 gigabytes (GB))*2. Toshiba will also add 3-bit-per-cell products fabricated with the 19nm process technologyto its product line-up.

Samples of 2-bit-per-cell 64-gigabit will be available from the end of this month with mass production scheduled for the third quarterof the year (July to September 2011).

Toshiba leads the industry in fabricating high density, small die size NAND flash memory chips. Application of the 19nm generation process technology will further shrink chip size, allowing Toshiba to assemble sixteen 64Gbit NAND flash memory chips in one package and to deliver 128GB devicesfor application in smartphones and tablet PCs. The 19nm process products are also equipped with Toggle DDR2.0, which enhances data transfer speed.

As the market for mobile equipment, such as smartphones, tablet PCs, and SSDs (solid state drives) expands, demand for smaller, higher density memory products grows. By accelerating process migration in NAND flash memory, Toshiba aims to reinforce and extend its leadership in the NAND flash memory market.

Note:

*1 nm = nanometer (1 billionth of a meter)
*2 Source: Toshiba Corporation, April 2011

SANDISK IMPLEMENTS NEW SATA µSSD™ SPECIFICATION FOR EMBEDDED SOLID STATE DRIVES [SanDisk press release, Aug 9, 2011]

  • Connector-free, high-capacity, embedded SSDs enable new generation of tablets and ultrathin notebooks
  • SanDisk® iSSD™ integrated solid state device series featuring the new SATA µSSD specification is available for sampling now

SanDisk iSSDFLASH MEMORY SUMMIT, SANTA CLARA, Calif., August 9, 2011-SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), a global leader in flash memory storage solutions, today announced that it has implemented the new SATA µSSD™ specification into its SanDisk iSSDproduct line of postage stamp-sized embedded SSDs. SATA-IO, an industry consortium dedicated to sustaining the quality, integrity and dissemination of serial ATA (SATA™) technology, introduced the standard today.

The number of media tablets shipped worldwide is expected to grow from 17.8 million units in 2010 to 53.5 million units in 2011. The five-year CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) is 48.5 percent, according to the IDC 1Q11 Media Tablet and eReader Tracker Forecast. These thin, high-performance mobile computing platforms combine sophisticated components in a small physical area, compounding design complexity and driving the need for industry standards.

Embedded SSDs offer fast performance in a tiny footprint, making them an attractive solution for all categories of ultrathin devices. The SATA µSSD specification eliminates the module connector from the traditional SATA interface, enabling developers to produce a single-chip SATA implementation for embedded storage applications. Among the first products to implement the new standard, the SanDisk iSSD seriesis an ideal storage solution for OEMs developing the next generation of thin, powerful mobile computing platforms.

“To widely adopt a new component technology, manufacturers need to have confidence in its performance, longevity and cost-effectiveness,” said Jeff Janukowicz, research manager, solid state storage technology, IDC. “Today’s announcement of an industry-wide standardization for embedded SSDs, combined with OEM requirements for size and performance gains in storage, should help propel the market for these tiny, versatile drives.”

Connector-free embedded SSDs allow OEMs to develop a new generation of thin yet powerful tablets and ultrathin notebooks,” said Kevin Conley, senior vice president, client storage solutions, SanDisk. “Initiatives such as the µSSD specification promote the development of new standards for storage solutions that help manufacturers continually refine their end consumer product and drive new industry sectors.”

The SATA µSSD standard-conforming SanDisk iSSD series utilizes a new electrical pin-out that allows SATA delivery using a single ball grid array (BGA) package. The BGA package sits directly on the motherboard, allowing for form factors as small as 16mm x 20mm x 1.2mm (up to 32GB)/1.4mm (for 64GB) and 16mm x 20mm x 1.85mm (for 128GB). The SanDisk iSSD i100 SSD is available in 8 gigabyte (GB)1 to 128GB capacities, offering OEMs a flexible range of storage options.

“The market for tablets and ultrathin computing devices continues to grow along with the need for small form factor storage solutions,” said Mladen Luksic, president, SATA-IO. “We are excited to have industry-wide support for the µSSD specification and look forward to seeing many µSSD-based products available in the near future.”

SanDisk Solid State Drives
Supported by vertical integration and more than 20 years of flash memory innovation, SanDisk SSDs empower global manufacturers to satisfy the growing consumer demand for powerful mobile computing platforms such as tablets and notebooks. SanDisk offers a full range of client PC SSD products, including the U100 SSD for cost-effective performance and customizable form factors, the SanDisk iSSD for OEMs who need an embedded µSSD SATA form factor, and a consumer offering that includes the SanDisk Ultra® SSD, which serves as a drop-in replacement for hard disk drives.

SANDISK LAUNCHES TWO NEW SOLID STATE DRIVES (SSD) FOR TABLETS AND ULTRA-THIN NOTEBOOKS [SanDisk press release, May 31, 2011]

  • New SSDs combine fast SATA III performance with power consumption as low as 10mW1-enable feature-rich computing platforms with longer battery life
  • SanDisk® SSD series’ U100 drive for ultra-thin notebooks offers SATA III performance and customized form factors
  • SanDisk® iSSD™ integrated storage device series’ i100 drive is the world’s smallest, fastest 128 gigabyte (GB)2 (SATA III) BGA-based SSD-ideal for slim, high-performance tablets and ultra-thin notebooks
  • Sampling now with volume production scheduled for Q3 2011

Computex, Taiwan, May 31, 2011- SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), a global leader in flash memory storage solutions, today introduced two new solid state drives (SSDs) for the mobile computing market. The U100 drive, successor to the popular SanDisk® P4 modular SSD series, delivers a flexible, cost-effective solution for ultra-thin notebooks. The SanDisk® iSSD™ integrated storage device series’ i100 drive is the world’s smallest, fastest 128 gigabyte (GB)2(SATA III) BGA (ball grid array) SSD and an ideal storage solution for slim, powerful tablets and ultra-thin notebooks.

The new SSDs utilize the high-performance SATA III interface to improve application loading times, web-browsing speeds, multimedia synchronization, file-transfer rates and overall system responsiveness. The drives employ a low-power architecture that reduces power consumption to as low as 10mW1. This combination of high performance and low power allows OEMs to develop feature-rich products with longer battery life.

“Our deep involvement with key ecosystem stakeholders allows us to align our products with fast-moving market requirements,” said Rizwan Ahmed, director, SSD product marketing, SanDisk. “We develop low-power, high-performance SATA SSDs that optimally fit into a growing number of thin client devices.”

SanDisk® SSD Series’ U100 Drive for Ultra-Thin Notebooks
The U100 drive builds upon the successful SanDisk P4 modular SSD series, which enjoyed widespread adoption among ultra-thin notebooks and other mobile computing platforms. U100 supports an array of design needs and is available in a variety of form factors, including Half-Slim SATA SSD, mSATA, mSATA mini, 2.5″ cased, as well as customized modules.

The U100 drive delivers fast SATA III performance with up to 450 megabyte per second (MB/sec)3 sequential read and up to 340MB/sec sequential write speeds3. The drive’s low-power architecture allows OEMs to extend their products’ battery life while maintaining high performance. The drive is available in 8GB to 256GB capacities, and OEMs, attracted to the outstanding price/performance value proposition, are already successfully integrating the new SSD into their next-generation platforms.

SanDisk® iSSD™ for Tablets
The i100 drive is the smallest, fastest 128GB (SATA III) BGA-based SSD on the market and the newest product in the SanDisk iSSD integrated storage device series. The drive is available in 8GB to 128GB capacities, offering OEMs a flexible range of storage options. Measuring only 16mm x 20mm x 1.4mm (for up to 64GB) and 16mm x 20mm x 1.85mm (for 128GB), the drive allows OEMs to design sleek, high-performance tablets and ultra-thin notebooks.

The drive’s SATA performance achieves up to 450MB/sec3 sequential read and up to 160MB/sec sequential write speeds3. The i100 drive can improve sideloading rates, multitasking capabilities, real-time gaming experience and multimedia synchronization-all while extending battery life via its low-power architecture.

Features i100 iSSD U100 SSD
Performance3 • Up to 450MB/sec sequential read
• Up to 160MB/sec sequential write
• Up to 450MB/sec sequential read
• Up to 340MB/sec sequential write
Capacity2 • 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB • 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Form Factor • Ball Grid Array (BGA) in 16mm x 20mm x 1.4mm (for up to 64GB)
• 16mm x 20mm x 1.85mm (for up to 128GB)
• Half-Slim SATA SSD, mSATA, mSATA mini
• 2.5″ cased
• Customized FF
Interface • SATA-III 6Gbps • SATA-III 6Gbps
Power Consumption1 • Low-Power Architecture
• Slumber power mode ~10mW
• Low-Power Architecture
• Slumber power mode ~10mW
Target Platforms • Tablets and Ultra-Thin Notebooks • Ultra-Thin Notebooks

New SSDs Offer Additional Benefits

  • Drives support Power Classes for flexible performance and power-budget control capabilities
  • nCache™ Acceleration Technology provides fast random burst write performance for improved system responsiveness and multitasking functionality
  • Based on a JEDEC-standard package for industry compliance

The i100 and U100 drives are sampling now with volume production scheduled for Q3 2011.

SANDISK RAISES PERFORMANCE BAR WITH INAND EXTREME™ EMBEDDED STORAGE FOR TABLETS AND MOBILE DEVICES [SanDisk press release, May 31, 2011]

Improves Multimedia Synchronization, File-Transfer Speeds and Operating System Responsiveness

  • New device broadens SanDisk’s segmented embedded storage lineup, which includes iNAND™ and iNAND Ultra® devices
  • Features up to 50MB/sec sequential write and up to 80MB/sec sequential read speeds

Computex, Taiwan, May 31, 2011- SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), a global leader in flash memory storage solutions, today introduced the iNAND™ Extreme® embedded flash drive (EFD), SanDisk’s first in a new line of products designed for high-end tablets running advanced operating systems and data-intensive applications. The drive features up to 50 megabyte per second (MB/sec)1sequential write and up to 80MB/sec sequential read speeds.

High-performance embedded flash storage can significantly improve a tablet’s multimedia synchronization speeds, file-transfer rates and operating system responsiveness. Fast sequential performance is essential when capturing HD2 and 3D2 video content or when transferring large files via the high-speed USB 3.0 interface. By selecting the iNAND Extreme EFD for their next-generation tablet designs, OEMs can improve the key performance criteria that produce an enjoyable user experience.

“iNAND Extreme broadens our embedded product line to cover the needs of all mobile market segments, from feature phones to high-end tablets,” said Amir Lehr, vice president, embedded business, SanDisk. “We offer OEMs high-quality products as well as the experience and technical know-how needed to optimize our solutions for specific applications and usage scenarios.”

SanDisk engineers work closely with mobile and tablet manufacturers to ensure they integrate iNAND™ products for optimal performance and efficiency in new hardware designs. SanDisk developed its e.MMC based iNAND Extreme EFDs through industry-leading mobile usage analysis capabilities and the experience accumulated through many successful mobile and consumer electronic designs. Already a dominant choice for embedded smartphone storage, the e.MMC interface has quickly established itself as an attractive solution for the tablet market.

“The embedded application market is experiencing significant growth through the increasing popularity and variety of mobile computing platforms,” said Jeff Janukowicz, research manager, solid state storage technology, IDC. “Companies with broad embedded product lineups and value-added services have an increasing capability to meet the diverse needs within the mobile market.”

Available in a highly compact 12mm x 16mm JEDEC package with heights as low as 1.0mm, the iNAND Extreme EFD enables slim and highly portable mobile and tablet designs. By conserving internal space, the drive allows more room for other components such as larger batteries-particularly important in high-end tablets with demanding energy needs or larger screens.

The iNAND Extreme EFD comes in 16 gigabyte (GB)3 to 64GB capacities and is scheduled for sampling in Q3 2011. The new drive expands SanDisk’s segmented embedded storage lineup, which includes iNAND and iNAND Ultra drives for handsets and tablets.

SanDisk iNAND and iNAND Ultra EFDs
The iNAND EFD is available in storage capacities ranging from 2GB to 64GB for quick integration into handsets and other designs that require an e.MMC interface. The drive features up to 30MB/sec read and up to 13MB/sec write speeds and can serve as a reliable boot device and mass storage solution. The iNAND Ultra EFD offers up to 40MB/sec read and 20MB/sec write speeds that increase the system responsiveness of feature-rich smartphones that need fast, high-capacity storage in a small form factor.

All iNAND EFDs utilize a highly advanced caching technology that increases system responsiveness for faster application loading, web-browsing and multitasking. SanDisk works closely with all major mobile OEMs, chipset and operating system vendors to ensure tight integration between host and storage devices. This engagement is crucial to achieving a more enjoyable user experience and is a key reason why iNAND ranks among the leading e.MMC devices on the market.

SANDISK iNAND EMBEDDED FLASH DRIVES ENABLE CONTINUED DEVELOPMENT OF POWERFUL, THIN AND HIGHLY MOBILE DEVICES [SanDisk press release, Feb 14, 2011]

  • SanDisk iNAND and iNAND Ultra e.MMC devices to offer up to 64GBof storage capacity in a compact 12mm x 16mm package
  • Introducing thinner packages, as low as 1.0mm, for slimmer mobile designs-the same thickness of approximately 10 sheets of paper

Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, February 14, 2011- SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), the global leader in flash memory cards, today announced its next generation of iNAND™ and iNAND Ultra™ embedded flash drives (EFDs) featuring smaller and thinner form factors. Available in packages as small as 11.5mm x 13mm x 1mm, SanDisk’s new iNAND and iNAND Ultra e.MMC products support the increasing demand for slimmer and more compact smartphone and tablet designs. Mobile World Congress attendees can visit SanDisk at Hall P8, Stand 8B91.

SanDisk reduced its iNAND package sizes by using advanced 24nm generation NAND memory chips, which are more compact than previous versions, and reduced its iNAND package heights by using advanced packaging technologies. iNAND EFDs are based on SanDisk’s three-bit-per-cell (X3) NAND flash technology and iNAND Ultra EFDs are based on SanDisk’s two-bit-per-cell (MLC) NAND flash technology.

“For smartphones and tablets, every millimeter of thickness counts,” said Amir Lehr, vice president, embedded business, SanDisk. “Designers are constantly looking for new ways to make mobile devices as small and thin as possible. To meet that need, SanDisk’s advanced NAND process and packaging technologies allow us to pack more storage into smaller and slimmer footprints. This in turn enables OEMs to design more compact devices while freeing up precious board space for other needs, such as larger batteries.”

Mobile Devices Require High-Capacity Storage In Small Packages
As smartphones continue to increase in computing power and offer advanced features, they require greater amounts of storage; at the same time, consumer demand for smaller and slimmer devices presents a significant challenge to hardware designers. To meet this need, SanDisk reduced the package size of its iNAND and iNAND Ultra e.MMC embedded storage devices, enabling handset manufacturers to develop sleek, highly functional products.

  • SanDisk iNAND and iNAND Ultra EFDs offer up to 64 gigabytes (GB)1of storage in a 12mm x 16mm JEDEC standard package
  • Package heights reduced to as low as 1.0mm for even slimmer handset designs. 32GB versions of both iNAND and iNAND Ultra products offered in 1.2mm package heights; for comparison, ten sheets of 20-pound office paper is approximately 1.0mm thick
  • SanDisk iNAND products with capacities up to 8GB available in 11.5mm x 13mm sizes
  • The new products will be available beginning in the third quarter of 2011

SanDisk iSSD for SATA Devices
SanDisk also offers embedded solid state drives for use in “productivity tablets” with high performance requirements. SanDisk’s integrated solid state drive (iSSD) is the world’s smallest 64GB SSD in a BGA (Ball Grid Array) package and first in a new category of embedded SSDs that are smaller than a postage stamp and weigh less than a paper clip. iSSD devices are available in capacities ranging from 4GB to 64GB with a SATA interface. The iSSD device is the fastest high-capacity embedded storage solution at this physical size, and is designed for high performance and reliability for mobile computing platforms including high-end tablets. iSSD devices are based on MLC technology.

About SanDisk iNAND
SanDisk iNAND EFDs come in a variety of storage capacities ranging from 2GB to 64GB for quick integration into handset and other designs that require an e.MMC interface. With managed physical partitions, customizable attributes and advanced power failure immunity, SanDisk iNAND EFDs feature highly reliable boot code and application storage device capabilities in addition to being a mass storage solution. iNAND drives use advanced caching technology that improves system responsiveness, and are designed based on SanDisk’s usage analysis capabilities. iNAND EFDs are based on both MLC and X3 technologies.

SANDISK INTRODUCES WORLD’S SMALLEST 64GB SOLID STATE DRIVE – FIRST IN NEW EMBEDDED SSD CATEGORY [SanDisk press release, Aug 18, 2010]

Category Serves Fast-Growing Market for Ultra-Thin Tablets and Mobile Computers

  • SanDisk® integrated SSD (iSSD) is smaller than a postage stamp and weighs less than a paper clip
  • Fastest high capacity embedded storage solution at this physical size- designed for high performance and reliability for mobile computing platforms
  • Broad range of capacities available to OEM customers-4GB to 64GB
  • Market research firm IDC establishes “Embedded SSD” category for highly portable consumer electronics devices

iSSD PressRelease Image Flash Memory Summit, Santa Clara, Calif., August 18, 2010-SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), the global leader in flash memory cards, today announced the first product in a new category of embedded solid state drives (SSD) that are smaller than a postage stamp and offer higher capacities and performance than existing storage solutions. The SanDisk® integrated SSD (iSSD), the first high-capacity product within this new category, is designed for use in fast-growing mobile computing platforms such as tablet PCs and ultra-thin notebooks.

Computing platforms are responding to consumer demand for highly portable, ultra-thin, anywhere-anytime access to the Internet and their favorite content. The SanDisk iSSD drive is the first flash SSD device to support the industry standard SATA interface in a small BGA (Ball Grid Array) package that can be soldered onto any motherboard, and that is fast enough for use with advanced operating systems in next-generation mobile computing platforms.

“The new category of embedded SSDs should enable OEMs to produce tablets and notebooks with an unprecedented combination of thin, lightweight form factors and fast performance,” said Doron Myersdorf, senior director, SSD marketing, SanDisk.

“With our embedded flash storage leadership, SanDisk believes it is uniquely positioned to deliver the ultra compact SSD solutions needed by OEMs.”

“The ultra-thin tablet and mobile computer markets are expected to experience tremendous growth over the coming years, and new advanced platforms will introduce new requirements for storage solutions,” said Jeff Janukowicz, research manager, solid state drives, IDC. “New embedded SSDs such as the SanDisk iSSD drive, which meet the stringent size requirements of small and light devices while offering greater performance, are designed to enable OEMs to deliver an enhanced user experience in their next-generation designs.”

The SanDisk iSSD offers 160MB/sec sequential read and 100MB/sec sequential writespeeds for greater system responsiveness*. With no moving parts, the tiny, robust drive is designed to deliver the durability needed by portable devices that are frequently dropped or jostled. SanDisk iSSD offers a substantial level of design flexibility for OEMs who seek to create the next generation of tablets and ultra thin mobile devices based on the standard SATA interface.

The SanDisk iSSD is available now for sampling to OEMs, and is being evaluated by top-tier manufacturers. Measuring 16mm x 20mm x 1.85mm and weighing less than one gram, the drive uses a BGA form factor and a SATA interface, and is compatible with all leading operating systems. SanDisk iSSD is available in capacities ranging from 4 gigabytes (GB)1 to 64GB, with pricing dependent upon the quantity ordered.

Toshiba Starts Construction of Fab 5 for NAND Flash Memory at Yokkaichi
Toshiba and SanDisk Sign Joint Venture Agreement
[Toshiba press release, July 14, 2010]

Image of Bird's eye view of Yokkaichi Operations, artist's impression of Fab 5 at right Image of Artsit's impression of Fab 5, Yokkaichi Operations

Yokkaichi, Mie, Japan, July 14, 2010 — Toshiba Corporation (Tokyo: 6502) today announced that it has started construction of a state-of-the-art fabrication facility (fab), Fab 5, at Yokkaichi Operations, its memory production facility in Mie Prefecture, with construction work scheduled for completion in Spring 2011. Toshiba and SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), a Milpitas, California based company, today announced that they have signed primary agreements for a new joint venture to operate in the Fab 5 facility.

Construction of the new fab reflects expectations for increasing demand for NAND flash memory for existing and emerging applications, such as smartphones and solid-state drives. Adding new production capacity will ensure that Toshiba and SanDisk are able to respond quickly and decisively to market expansion and further strengthen their competitiveness.

The fab building will be constructed in two phases, with the pace of investment reflecting market trends. On completion of its second phase, Fab 5 will be comparable to Fab 4, with a ground area of some 38,000m2. The partners have flexibility as to the extent and timing of their respective fab capacity ramps, and the output allocation will be in accordance with the proportionate level of equipment funding. The initial manufacturing process will be the leading-edge 20-nanometer generation, with subsequent generations to follow.

Mr. Kiyoshi Kobayashi, Corporate Senior Vice President of Toshiba Corporation, President and CEO of Semiconductor Company said, “Constructing the new facility assures our ability to respond to continued strong demand in the NAND flash memory market. With our partner SanDisk, we will increase the manufacturing capacity gradually in accordance with market conditions, in a way that further enhances our competitiveness in the memory business.”

Dr. Eli Harari, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, SanDisk said, “Today’s agreement builds on a successful ten-year partnership with Toshiba that has led to the development of eight generations of industry-leading multi-level cell NAND flash memory. Customer demand for flash memory continues to grow rapidly, and our investment in Fab 5 will provide us highly cost effective supply, while giving us the flexibility to tailor the rate of capacity expansion to match our demand requirements. Fab 5 represents a strategic commitment to further strengthen our leadership in the fast growing flash markets over the coming decade.”

Fab 5 will have a quake-absorbing structure and is designed to impose minimal environmental impacts. Extensive use of LED lighting throughout the facility, leading edge energy-saving manufacturing equipment, and use of inverter-controlled pumps for semiconductor production equipment are expected to cut CO2emissions to a level 12% lower than for Fab 4.

Yokkaichi Operations currently has four NAND flash memory fabs. Toshiba and SanDisk are currently ramping into the unused clean room space in Fab 4, and expect to reach full capacity of Fab 4 by the start of production in Fab 5.

Toshiba and SanDisk will each, through joint ventures, including Fab 5, make timely investments in NAND Flash memory, and will continue to jointly develop new technologies in order to enhance their competitiveness in the memory business.

SANDISK DOUBLES STORAGE CAPACITY FOR MOBILE PHONES AND PORTABLE DEVICES WITH INTRODUCTION OF 64GB iNAND EMBEDDED FLASH DRIVES [SanDisk press release, Feb 15, 2010]

  • Support for e.MMC 4.4 Interface Now Available
  • INAND EFDs Perform Boot, System Code and Mass Storage Functions With Single Device
  • SanDisk’s Advanced 32nm 3-bit-per-cell (X3) NAND Flash Technology Reduces Complexity of High Capacity Embedded Solutions

iNAND_64GBMOBILE WORLD CONGRESS, HALL 8, Booth 8B91, Barcelona, February 15, 2010 – SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), the global leader in flash memory cards, today introduced the new SanDisk® iNAND™ Embedded Flash Drives (EFD) with support for the e.MMC 4.4 specification. Based on 3-bit-per-cell (X3) NAND flash technology, the drives offer up to 64 gigabytes(GB)1 of capacity in a single device, and can be used for boot, system code and mass storage functions.

An increasing number of mobile phones offer a wide array of applications and storage-intensive content such as movie and music playback, imaging capabilities, gaming, GPS map data, business applications and more. SanDisk iNAND EFDs are specifically designed for these advanced smartphones and provide high capacity and reliable storage in a power-efficient package with a small footprint.

SanDisk’s X3 Technology Enables High Capacity Embedded Storage

SanDisk’s advanced X3 technology enables the development of high capacity embedded solutions that are robust and power-efficient with minimal package complexity. The successful development and wide distribution of many X3-based products through OEM and retail channels in recent years demonstrates both the technology’s maturity and SanDisk’s ability to bring to market reliable yet innovative solutions.

SanDisk’s memory management expertise and X3 controller technology allow for the continued cost-effective growth of mobile storage solutions. 64GB iNAND EFDs meet the reliability and performance requirements of OEMs for mobile system grade storage. The new 64GB iNAND EFD is based on an eight flash die stack design using SanDisk’s advanced X3 32nm flash, and is offered in a 16x20x1.4mm form factor with a standard ball grid array (BGA) for quick integration into smartphone designs.

“The maturity of SanDisk’s X3 flash technology together with innovations in flash management are what allow us to continue making higher embedded storage capacities, such as 64GB, a practical solution in the market,” said Oded Sagee, director, mobile product marketing, SanDisk. “We understand the highly competitive environment in which our customers operate. By leveraging the substantial experience gained with our X3 NAND and significant advancements made in flash management technology, we offer our customers a very high return on their investment.”

Optimized For Maximum Efficiency

SanDisk iNAND EFDs consolidate system code and user storage into a single embedded device in order to conserve precious board space, simplify smartphone design, reduce power consumption and save OEMs the cost of an otherwise needed separate boot device. In addition, the drives utilize a unique state-aware architecture that grants the mobile host additional degrees of control over the storage device, enabling optimal resource utilization and improved system responsiveness.

iNAND devices based on X3 technology fully comply with the e.MMC 4.4 specification and range in capacities from 4GB to 64GB.

SANDISK SHIPS WORLD’S FIRST FLASH MEMORY CARDS WITH 64 Gigabit X4 (4-BITS-PER-CELL) NAND FLASH TECHNOLOGY [SanDisk press release, Oct 13, 2009]

  • Revolutionary X4™ technology combines advanced proprietary controller algorithms with world’s largest-capacity monolithic 64 Gigabit Flash chip
  • Volume shipments of SDHC™ and Memory Stick PRO™ cards employing X4 technology began in September 2009

X4_Products Milpitas, Calif., Oct. 13, 2009- SanDiskCorporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), the global leader in flash memory cards, today announced it has begun production shipments of flash memory cards based on the company’s advanced X4 flash memory technology. This innovative new technology holds four bits of data in each memory cell, twice as many as the cells in conventional multi-level cell (MLC) NAND (2-bits-per-cell) memory chips.

Based on 43-nanometer (nm) process technology, the 64-gigabit (Gb) NAND flash chip is the highest-density single-die memory device in the world to enter production. SanDisk is shipping 8 gigabyte (GB)1 and 16GB SDHC cards as well as 8GB and 16GB Memory Stick PRO Duo™ cardsusing X4 technology.

“The development and commercialization of X4 technology represents an important milestone for the flash storage industry,” said Sanjay Mehrotra, president and chief operating officer, SanDisk. “Our challenge with X4 technology was to not only deliver the lower costs inherent to 4-bits-per-cell, but to do so while meeting the reliability and performance requirements of industry standard cards that employ MLC NAND. Our world-class design and engineering team has applied its deep experience with high speed 2 and 3-bits-per-cell flash chip designs and collaborated closely with our leading design partners to develop and perfect new and powerful error correction algorithms to assure reliable operation. This intensive multi-year effort has generated powerful new patents and know-how, and demonstrates SanDisk’s relentless drive for innovations that result in the ever expanding use of flash storage in consumer applications such as music, videos, photos, games and numerous third party applications.”

“The shipment of 4-bits-per-cell technology is a necessary evolution for the industry,” said Joseph Unsworth, research director, Gartner. “Enabling this technology in mainstream products demonstrates a cost advantage in the flash memory industry that considers 2-bits-per-cell in a memory device as standard. The NAND industry continues to see a rapid pace of innovation, and adoption of this technology will be essential to remain competitive.”

SanDisk’s Advanced Development Efforts
SanDisk pioneered the removable flash memory storage industry since the company’s inception in 1988. The company continues to lead the industry with advancements in MLC and controller technology with the development of 2-bit, 3-bit and 4-bit-per-cell and 3D technologies.

Tel Aviv University (TAU) had provided a significant contribution to the X4 advanced error correcting and digital signal processing technology, which was licensed exclusively to SanDisk by Ramot at Tel Aviv University Ltd., TAU’s technology transfer company. “X4 took five years of development at SanDisk, and the finished product is a testament to the hard work and collaboration of the parties involved,” said Dr. Ze’ev Weinfeld, Ramot’s CEO. “Once we created the basic approach, SanDisk brought this to fruition by developing its advanced X4 controller and matching it with its advanced 43nm, 64Gb X4 memory thus making full X4 product implementation possible. This highlights the benefit commercial companies may gain from cooperation with TAU, building on our pool of talent and expertise.”

Toshiba Makes Major Advances in NAND Flash Memory with 3-bit-per-cell 32nm generation and with 4-bit-per-cell 43nm technology [Toshiba press release, Feb 11, 2009]

Image of 3-bit-per cell, 32nm chip Image of 4-bit-per cell, 43nm chip

TOKYO— Toshiba Corporation (TOKYO: 6502) today announced breakthroughs in multi-bit-per-cell technology for NAND flash memories that will bring advances in chip densities and cost savings to next generation devices. In the 32 nanometer (nm) generation, Toshiba has realized a 3-bit-per-cell 32 gigabit (Gb) chip with the world-smallest die size, and smaller than a 2-bit-per-cell 16Gb chip fabricated with 43nm technology, which is currently in the market. The cutting-edge chip will be mass produced in the second half of CY2009. The company has also fabricated the world’s first 64Gb chip that applies 4-bit-per-cell technology at the 43 nm process generation.

Toshiba and its technology partner, SanDisk, unveiled these key technology advances today at the International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) now underway in San Francisco, California.

Manufacturers of NAND flash memories must respond to demand for higher density with lower costs. Toshiba and SanDisk have done so through the application of its innovative technologies.

The 3-bit-per-cell 32nm generation device uses optimized circuit design for the row decoder and extended column architecture, which significantly contributed to a 113mm2chip, the smallest die size yet achieved in this generation. The 4-bit-per cell applies super multi-bit programming technologies, which realizes 64Gb without increase in chip size, while achieving a write speed performance of 7.8MB/s.

Toshiba and SanDisk have maintained their continuing leadership in the development and manufacturing of advanced NAND flash memory. Toshiba will promote further development in leading-edge process technologies to further widen the scope of application and to expand the NAND flash memory market.

SANDISK DEVELOPS 32-NANOMETER NAND FLASH TECHNOLOGY — SMALLEST, MOST ADVANCED FLASH MEMORY CHIP IN THE WORLD [SanDisk press release, Feb 10, 2009]

Combination of X3 and 32 nanometer Represents Breakthroughs in Size and Density; Significantly Reduces Manufacturing Cost While Maintaining Performance

    • Will allow for higher capacity of microSD cards not possible with existing technologies
    • Maintains performance levels of 43nm process technology due to SanDisk’s advanced All Bit-Line (ABL) architecture and 32nm process technology advancements

32nm_Flash_Technology ISSCC CONFERENCE, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF., Feb. 10, 2009 – SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK) and Toshiba Corporation today announced the co-development of multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash memory using 32-nanometer (nm) process technology to produce a 32-gigabit (Gb) 3-bits-per-cell (X3) memory chip. The breakthrough introduction is expected to quickly bring to market advanced technologies that will enable greater capacities and reduce manufacturing costs for products ranging from memory cards to Solid State Drives (SSD).

“The development of our third-generation 3-bits-per-cell technology on 32nm within one and a half years after the introduction of the first generation of 3-bits-per-cell on 56nm shows the incredibly fast pace necessary to be a world-class producer in today’s industry,” said Sanjay Mehrotra, co-founder and president, SanDisk. “This allows us to offer higher capacities at compelling form factors while reducing manufacturing costs – all helping to expand our various product lines. This new development highlights SanDisk’s deep level of technical expertise and innovation that ultimately benefits consumers.”

32nm X3 Technology-Ideal for microSD Applications
The 32Gb X3 on 32nm technology is the smallest NAND flash memory die reported so far, able to fit into the fingernail-sized microSD™ memory card format that has enjoyed widespread adoption in mobile phones and other consumer electronics devices. The 32nm 32Gb X3 is the highest density microSD memory die in the world, providing twice the capacity of a microSD chip on 43nm while still maintaining a similar die area. Advances in 32nm process technologies and in circuit design significantly contributed to a 113mm2 die-size while SanDisk’s patented All-Bit-Line (ABL) architecture has been a key enabler to maintain a competitive X3 write performance.

“The 32nm X3 die’s small footprint and incredible density will allow for the production of higher capacities of microSD cards than could be manufactured without this technology,” said Yoram Cedar, executive vice president, OEM business unit and corporate engineering, SanDisk. “The microSD form factor has grown in popularity due to rising demand for high capacity storage on mobile phones, and X3 will enable us to bring exciting new products to this market.”

Based On Key SanDisk Technologies
32nm is the most advanced flash memory technology node to date, requiring advanced solutions to manage the challenges of feature size scaling. 32nm technology combines several innovative technologies to reduce die area more aggressively than the trend-line of Moore’s Law.

32nm technology builds upon SanDisk’s successful deployment of immersion lithography in 43nmto implement spacer process without incurring additional investment in capital-intensive lithography equipment,” said Klaus Schuegraf, vice president, memory technology, SanDisk. “SanDisk brings its industry-leading 64-bit NAND string length to 32nm, while compensating for bit-to-bit interference effects with innovative programming algorithms and system design.”

SanDisk and Toshiba today presented a joint paper on 32nm 32Gb X3 NAND flash memory at the 2009 International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC), highlighting the technical advancements that made 32nm possible. Production for the 32nm 32Gb X3 is expected to begin in the second half of 2009.

SANDISK ANNOUNCES WORLD’S FIRST HIGH PERFORMANCE 4-BITS-PER-CELL (X4) FLASH MEMORY TECHNOLOGY [SanDisk press release, Feb 10, 2009]

  • Highest capacity flash memory-enables 64Gb single die memory chip
  • Maintains performance on par with today’s MLC technology
  • Production of 64Gb X4 based on SanDisk’s mature 43nm technology is planned for the first half of 2009

x4_Flash_Memory_TechnologyBuilding on its leadership in multi-level cell (MLC) technology, SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK) today announced that it will begin mass-production of the world’s first high performance 4-bits-per-cell (X4) flash memory. Using 43-nanometer (nm) process technology, this breakthrough enables 64-gigabit (Gb) memory in a single die – the highest capacity in the industryand suitable for the most demanding storage applications. SanDisk has also produced an advanced X4 controller, which is necessary to effectively manage the complexities and performance requirements of X4 memory. The X4 memory chip combines with the X4 controller chip in a multi-chip package (MCP) to provide a complete, integrated and low-cost storage solution.

“The development of X4 memory and controller technologies is a major milestone for flash memory storage that will provide significant long term benefits to SanDisk and play a critical role in future NAND flash scaling,” said Khandker Quader, senior vice president, memory technology & product development, SanDisk. “64Gb X4 is the result of numerous key innovations, and demonstrates SanDisk’s leadership in driving multi-bit flash memory with performance and cost suitable for storage-intensive applications such as music, movies, photos, GPS, games and more.”

X4 Flash Memory Breakthrough
SanDisk co-developed the 64Gb X4 flash memory chip on 43nm technology with Toshiba Corporation, which cooperates with SanDisk in the development and manufacturing of advanced flash memory. The new 43nm 64Gb X4 chip is the highest capacity and highest density flash memory die in the world to enter production this year, boasting a 7.8MB/sec memory write performance that is comparable with current multi-level cell technologies. SanDisk’s patented All-Bit-Line (ABL) architecture as well as the newly introduced three-step programming (TSP) and sequential sense concept (SSC) serve as key enablers to X4’s impressive performance.

X4 Controller Technology Is Key
SanDisk developed a number of innovative solutions for advanced system management that address the difficulties posed by this complex 4-bits-per-cell technology. The X4 controller, developed and owned by SanDisk, utilizes a first-of-its-kind error correcting code (ECC) scheme specifically developed for use in storage systems, and tailored to support the 16 levels of distribution needed for 4-bits-per-cell.

“The inherent challenges in producing 4-bits-per-cell technology with good performance and low costs require advanced system level innovations in multi-level storage,” said Menahem Lasser, vice president, future technologies and innovation, SanDisk. “Our X4 controller technology with its memory management and signal processing schemes is crucial to meeting the unique demands of 4-bits-per-cell memory, and demonstrates SanDisk’s ability to conceptualize and produce sophisticated flash memory solutions.”

Today, at the 2009 International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC), SanDisk and Toshiba presented a technical paper describing the key technology advancements that led to the development of 64Gb 4-bits-per-cell NAND flash memory on 43nm technology node. This announcement comes one year after SanDisk unveiled its X3 (3-bits-per-cell NAND) technology at the 2008 ISSCC and was subsequently honored with the ISSCC 2009 Lewis Winner Outstanding Paper Award

SANDISK AND TOSHIBA SIGN DEFINITIVE AGREEMENT TO RESTRUCTURE FLASH MANUFACTURING JOINT VENTURES [SanDisk press release, Jan 29, 2009]

Significantly Strengthens SanDisk’s Financial Position By Reducing Lease Obligations And Increasing Cash

SanDisk (NASDAQ: SNDK) announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement with Toshiba to restructure their Flash manufacturing joint ventures operating at the 300-mm Fab 3 and Fab 4. As part of the agreement, more than 20 percent of the joint ventures’capacity will be transferred to Toshiba. The restructuring will result in the transfer of equipment lease obligations from SanDisk to Toshiba and a cash payment to SanDisk for the transfer of certain equipment currently owned by the joint ventures. The total value to SanDisk is approximately 80 billion yen, or approximately $890 million based on current exchange rates. Approximately two-thirds of the total amount will reduce SanDisk’s current equipment lease obligations by about 28% and approximately one-third will be received by SanDisk in cash. The lease transfers and cash payment are expected to be completed by the end of the first calendar quarter of 2009.

SanDisk and Toshiba will remain equal partners for the capacity remaining in the joint ventures. SanDisk will have the option to purchase a part of the transferred capacity from Toshiba on a foundry basis and retains the option to continue to invest up to 50 percent in future Fab 4 expansions and technology transitions in Fab 3 and Fab 4. In addition, the parties will continue their existing joint technology development in advanced NAND and 3D read/write memory.

“We are pleased to sign this definitive agreement with Toshiba which reflects the long-term commitment of both companies to our partnership. This agreement will reduce our capital spending, strengthen our financial position and increase our business flexibility by allowing us to return more rapidly to our desired captive/non-captive supply model. Importantly, this maintains the economies of scale of Fab 3 and Fab 4 for SanDisk and the deep technology and manufacturing cooperation between SanDisk and Toshiba,” said Dr. Eli Harari, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, SanDisk.

Toshiba And SanDisk Sign Memorandum Of Understanding To Consolidate Their FlashVision Manufacturing At Toshiba’s Yokkaichi, Japan Memory Fab [SanDisk press release, Dec 18, 2001]

More Expected To Realize Significantly More Cost Competitive Manufacturing Of Advanced NAND Flash Memory And Accelerate The Volume Production Of Next Generation .13-Micron NAND Flash Currently Under Joint Development

SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ:SNDK) and Toshiba Corporation announced today that they have signed a binding Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) under which the two companies will consolidate their FlashVision advanced NAND flash wafer fab manufacturing operations at Toshiba’s memory fab at Yokkaichi, Japan. The two companies believe that they can achieve significantly more cost competitive NAND wafer manufacturing by consolidating all NAND wafer fab operations at Yokkaichi. Toshiba currently manufactures .16-micron NAND flash wafers for the FlashVision joint venture at both Yokkaichi and at the Dominion Semiconductor facility in Manassas, Virginia. Yokkaichi is Toshiba’s most advanced memory fab and has approximately twice the wafer fab capacity of the Dominion fab. Through this consolidation, Yokkaichi can provide significantly more cost-competitive NAND flash wafers than is possible at Dominion.

Under the terms of the MOU, Toshiba will equip a portion of the Yokkaichi Fab which is currently not being utilized with the more advanced, FlashVision-owned NAND production tool-set from Dominion. Toshiba has agreed to undertake full responsibility for the NAND production transition from Dominion to Yokkaichi which is expected to be completed in 2002. The companies expect to be able to meet 100% of their customers’ NAND requirements during the transition through increasing the current NAND manufacturing output at Yokkaichi. Once the consolidation is completed, Yokkaichi’s total NAND wafer output will match the combined current NAND capacity of Yokkaichi and Dominion. The parties contemplate that the FlashVision operation at Yokkaichi will continue in essentially the same 50-50 joint venture form as it has done at the Dominion facility in Virginia.

Yokkaichi is the site of Toshiba’s advanced NAND development pilot line, and currently all new NAND products first enter volume production at Yokkaichi. This consolidation will streamline the transfer of new technology and thereby accelerate the volume transition in 2002 from .16-micron NAND to the more cost competitive NAND/MLC (multi-level cell), as well as the .13-micron NAND.

Takeshi Nakagawa, President of Toshiba Semiconductor Company, said, “The centralization of flash memory production at Yokkaichi from Dominion will reinforce cost competitiveness and support smooth mass production at the initial stage of new products. We position NAND flash memory as the most important pillar of our memory business and we will try our best to expand its business. In line with this move, Toshiba will solidify relations with SanDisk, including product development with multi-level cell technology and advanced process technology. Under this alliance, we are very confident that we are leading and enjoy an advantageous position over our competitors.”

Eli Harari, SanDisk President and CEO, said, “Our NAND flash partnership with Toshiba is coming out stronger as a result of this consolidation. Toshiba’s senior management shares our vision that the NAND flash partnership between our two companies has a great future and Toshiba has agreed to forego any NAND participation from a third partner. Although we are pleased with Dominion’s performance, we feel that the consolidation opportunity with Toshiba at Yokkaichi affords us a unique opportunity to accelerate our access to one of the world’s lowest cost sources for our NAND wafers. We believe the combination of the highly cost-efficient Yokkaichi facility and the FlashVision advanced equipment tool-set from Dominion will provide us with materially lower wafer costs over the long-term while preserving our near-term access to wafer supply. We plan to negotiate with our current lenders for the leasing of the FlashVision tool-set that will permit the transfer of these tools by FlashVision to the Yokkaichi facility. Assuming that the consolidation proceeds as planned, we do not expect to see any adverse financial impact in 2002, nor do we expect any reduction to our NAND supply relative to the current FlashVision plan at Dominion. We expect to begin to see a substantial positive impact to our NAND memory cost structure starting in the second half of 2002 and improving further in 2003 and beyond.”

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