Handwriting on Wall for Hard Disks?

Flash memory technology is starting to catch up with industrial computer users, many of whom never liked the idea of using rotating magnetic discs on the factory floor. Flash memory chips—produced mainly by AMD and Intel—have increased storage densities so rapidly over the past months that it is now possible to offer 72 megabytes in a single 32-pin par...

By Staff March 1, 1998

Flash memory technology is starting to catch up with industrial computer users, many of whom never liked the idea of using rotating magnetic discs on the factory floor. Flash memory chips—produced mainly by AMD and Intel—have increased storage densities so rapidly over the past months that it is now possible to offer 72 megabytes in a single 32-pin part, according to Aryeh Mergi, executive vp of M-Systems. In fact, he adds that M-Systems’ “DiskOnChip” product will likely double its capacity in the next year. Until now, M-Systems’ major customers have been PC motherboard and single board computer manufacturers. M-Systems is the leading packager of flash memory units for computers. To make its modules more acceptable to computer manufacturers, the company developed flash translation layer (FTL) software which makes flash memory behave exactly as if it were a hard disk drive. Mr. Mergi says FTL is so popular that it has become a de facto standard and Microsoft has announced it will support FTL software in the next major release of Windows CE.