Flash Memory Continues Growth By Shrinking

Many consumers have gotten accustomed to the benefits of flash memory, the chips used to store images, music and other data in pocket-sized gadgets. More technology improvements are on the way–the latest sign that small is beautiful in Silicon Valley.

SanDisk, a pioneer in the field, helped popularize familiar items like thumb drives and memory cards that use flash chips. The company is talking up an advance in another category–devices that are designed as replacements for the hard drives in PCs.

Most such solid-state drives, or SDDS, are housed in modules that are about the same size as disk drives. SanDisk on Wednesday unveiled what it called an integrated SSD, or iSSD, which looks more like a single chip (though it is actually a package with multiple chips stacked on top of one another). SanDisk says it is smaller than a postage stamp, weighs less than a paper clip and is designed to be soldered on to a PC motherboard rather than plugged into hard drive-type connectors.

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