Intel throws 65nm at embedded NOR Flash

Posted by Rick C. Hodgin

Intel announced today it will extend its NOR Flash memory products for embedded spaces down to the 65nm process node. The move will allow more flash products to be created with lower manufacturing cost for that market.  Embedded markets typically involve consumer electronics devices such as wired communications equipment like TVs, DVDs, modems, etc.

Those products often have life cycles that do not see the high turnover rates found in cell phones, PDAs and other higher-end personal appliances.  Intel already has products for those high-turnover markets being manufactured on this 65nm process.

Intel's NOR embedded offerings include both parallel and serial products.  Their StrataFlash embedded memory solution is a single-chip, low-cost-per-bit product with high-density and high-performance.  Existing embedded applications can also utilize Intel's legacy support products which offer drop-in compatible upgrade paths to save prior work investments.  Intel's Serial flash memory has a lower pin-count interface potentially saving board space.

Intel's NOR business lost money in the second quarter 2007 and affected its bottom line (though no direct numbers were specified).  NOR Flash memory is a non-volatile permanent memory storage product.  NOR is a particular type which can be read like RAM.  It offers relatively slow write speeds compared to competing products like NAND Flash.  NOR is often desirable and used in embedded products specifically because of its RAM-like properties.  It can be read randomly without block access.  It can even support programs being executed directly from NOR without being transferred to other memory first.