Intel, Micron to build memory plant in Singapore

Construction on the flash memory plant will begin during the first half of next year

Intel and Micron Technology plan to construct a factory in Singapore to produce NAND flash memory, the two partners announced Monday.

Intel and Micron plan to create a new joint venture for the Singapore factory, the companies said in a statement. Construction on the plant will begin during the first half of next year. The two companies did not disclose the exact amount they plan to invest in the Singapore plant, which will cost "billions of dollars," it said.

NAND flash is a type of non-volatile memory used in digital cameras, MP3 players, and other devices. The chips are able to store data even when power is turned off. During the second half of 2008, the Singapore plant will begin production of NAND flash chips on 300-millimeter wafers using a 50-nanometer process.

The number used to describe the process technology refers to the size of the smallest feature that can be created on a chip. In chip technology, smaller sizes are better, as this generally helps reduce power consumption, increase speed, and reduces unit production costs by allowing chip makers to fit more chips on a single wafer.

The Singapore plant will operate alongside IM Flash Technologies, a joint venture between the two partners in the U.S. that has two 300-millimeter chip fabrication plants, one in Virginia and another in Utah. The Virginia plant is already up and running, while the Utah plant will begin production early next year.

IM Flash also produces memory chips at an existing Micron plant in Boise, Idaho.

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