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AMD to Ship MirrorBit Flash Memory Devices

Despite a dip in industry confidence, Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. forged ahead Monday with shipments of its MirrorBit Flash memory devices, the latest advancement in AMD's family of Flash memory products.

Last week ended with a wave of uncertainty among AMD's industry peers regarding the future of the MirrorBit when brokerage firm Credit Suisse First Boston reportedly cut AMD's stock rating to "hold" status, saying that the company's recently introduced memory device was unlikely to show profits any time soon and could lead to a loss of competitive edge against chip maker rivals like Intel .

But after sampling the MirrorBit among a large swath of major corporations, Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AMD moved forward with the market release of the first 64 Megabit member of its family of MirrorBit chips, the Am29LV640M and Am29LV641M, which are priced at $7.95 in 10,000-piece quantities.

AMD plans to deliver 128 Megabit and 256 Megabit devices by the second half of the year.

A joint venture between Fujitsu and AMD, MirrorBit technology is a double-capacity Flash memory chip that stores 2 bits of data per cell as opposed to multilevel-cell technology, which stores only 1 bit of data per cell.

Flash memory stores data without needing a continuous power supply and is used by cell phones to store ring tones and phone numbers, while other electronics devices such as personal digital assistants, telecommunications equipment, and TV set-top boxes use it to store software.

MirrorBit architecture allows Flash memory devices to hold twice as much data as standard Flash devices for the same price as multilevel-cell technology, resulting in a broader range of sophisticated offerings and functionality for product manufacturers who install the chip, according to AMD.

The release of MirrorBit will also bring AMD into direct competition with Intel's StrataFlash technology and could either open up the market for Flash memory devices, or drive one of the two out of town.

AMD's MirrorBit and Intel's StrataFlash are similarly priced, although the StrataFlash has been on the market for several years now.

According to AMD, the Am29LV640M and Am29LV641M devices are designed with a single 3.0 volt power supply, asynchronous access times as fast as 90 nanoseconds, page mode access times as fast as 25 nanoseconds, 16 word performance-enhancing write buffer offers programming times as fast as 6 microseconds, and small 64kB sectors with erase times as fast as 100 microseconds, ten times faster than competing products, says AMD.

The Flash memory family already includes the Simultaneous Read-Write product family; Super Low Voltage 1.8V Flash memory products; and Burst- and Page-Mode products.

"Our customers are very enthusiastic about our MirrorBit Flash memory devices and eager to adopt them because MirrorBit enables our customers to bring their product visions to reality," said Bertrand Cambou, group vice president of AMD's Memory Group. "The MirrorBit product family is the culmination of years of work and dedication with a focus on our customers' needs."