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New packaging allows more memory in same footprint
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Written by Gizmo   
Thursday, 08 February 2007 07:11
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(Image courtesy of SPIL)
Siliconware Precision Industries announced Monday that they had successfully achieved high volume Flash Card production using their FOW (Film On Wire) technology.

Memory is something that it seems we can never have too much of.  With Windows Vista promising to make better use of both DRAM and FLash memories, more is definitely better.  However, chip densities are not themselves able to keep up with demand (current technology using conventional packaging techniques places a practical limit of about 32 GB on PCMCIA Flash drives, for example). 

There are two ways to approach this.  One is to use Multichip Modules (MCM) such as Intel uses for it's Kentsfield CPUs, or the first Core Duos.  While allowing you to put more chips on one carrier, this approach doesn't save a lot on board real-estate, because you still have two chips sitting side-by-side.  You do gain some ground, because the interconnect between the chips is manufactured as part of the chip package, and for chips with high power-dissipation requirements, this is about the only option available.  However, if you STACK the chips on top of each other, you can make significant gains in board real-estate, since height it is usually cheaper to grow higher than to grow wider or longer.  Enter Multichip Packaging (MCP).

MCP has been in use for years, particularly with USB thumb drives and Flash smart cards such as the SD, and Memory Stik formats.  However, even this technology is approaching its limits, as the stacking of chips has progressed to the point that the stacks are threatening to exceed the height available for certain applications (e.g. PCMCIA cards).

This is why SPIL's recent announcement is important; they have figured out a way to reduce the size of a chip stack by up to 14% as compared to other MCP manufacturing methods.  This means the potential to add one more layer of chips to that stack, increasing the amount of storage available in an SD card or Flash drive without having to wait for the next advancement in chip manufacturing processes.

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