iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






November 2002 Hardware Digest

December 16, 2002

Of course, Comdex Fall 2002, that took part in Las Vegas, NV, was the main event of the month. Most makers dated their announcements and developments showcases to this exhibition, as it was the largest until the spring.

The general downturn of the semiconductor industry has naturally touched the show business as well. The downturn was noticed as far back as at Comdex Fall 2001, having got worse this year. Moreover, some participants have placed their stands in the numerous hotels instead of the Las Vegas Convention Center. However, all these minorities, darkening the life of Comdex Fall managers and even making them speak of a possible show bankruptcy, haven't spoiled the magnificent event that officially brought a bouquet of new technologies, products, solutions.

The central event was the speech of Microsoft's Bill Gates, who presented new products and some marketing initiatives. Hewlett-Packard's CEO Carly Fiorina announced the launch of the $400-million promotion campaign.

Sun Microsystem's Scott McNealy made a report, and Hector Ruiz from AMD - a whole mini-show with famous actors. NVIDIA's Jen-Hsun Huang made his speech lively and bright as well and focused it on the release of epochal GeForceFX.

Though bright shows are only the top of actual business as always. We're currently witnessing the fourth quarter, that, as known in the semiconductor industry, is supporting the year. It seems the ending 2002 won't be named the year of industry restoration like forecasted.

Production, technologies, equipment

Late past year Dataquest forecasted the 3% semiconductor market growth in 2002, and almost the 30% boom in 2003. However, the reality forced analysts to halve the forecasts for 2002 and 2003. Dataquest's November report states some market upturn, however the sales will make just $153.3 billion, i.e. 0.5% more than in 2001. Still after the destructive 2001, when $152.5 billion sales made just the 68% of the 2000 turnover, some stabilization is good as well. 2003 should bring us up to the $171.8 billion (12.1%) growth, though not so optimistic like before.

Analysts believe the main growth was in the H1 2002, at that the cellular and wireless comm semiconductor market was the most dynamic with the high demand for flash memory and DSP chips. Consumer electronics, PC, and car electronics markets were dynamic as well.

According to Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), Q3 worldwide semiconductor sales volumes grew up to $36.9 billion, that's 8.2% more than $34.1 billion of the previous quarter and 21% than in Q3 2001. 5.6% growth in Q1 and 5.8% in Q2 enables analysts to state the slow, but noticeable industry reviving. Sales volumes grow most in wireless comms, consumer electronics, PCs, car electronics. Wireless communication sector grows most with its considerable demand for flash memory and DSP chips. Shipment volumes of consumer electronics chips, including game consoles, DVD players, digital cameras, provided 21% standard chip sales growth and 15% optoelectronics growth. Quarter sales volumes growth made 4.9% for DRAM, 4.6% for microprocessors and 12% for peripherals. Regionally, sales volumes grew by 8% in Asian-Pacific, 15% in Japan, 7.9% in Europe, 1.9% in North America.

The situation with litho tools shipments remains unambiguous as well. According to SEMI (Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International), the worldwide tools orders made $4.96 billion in Q3, that's 43% more than the year-ago values and 26% less than the values of Q2 2002. Though the worldwide volumes of cashed litho tools orders grew up to $5.7 billion in Q3, that's 1% more than in Q3 2001 and 22% more than in Q2 2002.

North America, remaining the biggest consumer, cashed $1.55 billion for litho equipment, that's 22% more than in the previous quarter, but 6.7% less than a year ago. In Q3 Japan moved to the second place (from the third) with $1.14 billion in the cashed orders rating. Respectively, Taiwan swapped the place to the third with $1.12 billion. Europe ($530 million) is the fifth, South Korea ($460 million) is the sixth, and all other regions, including China, are the fourth with $910 million, that's 35.9% more than in the previous quarter and 16% better than a year ago.

The orders volumes reduction has already affected the business of one of the leading litho tool vendor - Nikon. In November it was forced to cut staff and reduce the 2002 shipment forecasts by 23.8%, from 210 to 160 tools. So, Nikon, which holds 36% of the market is to move a place down to the second in the world litho vendors rating 2001, ASML will become the first with 49% and Canon - the third with 15%.

Another unpleasant news of November was AMD's staff cut by 2000 workers or 15%. It's one of the points of the new business strategy to restore the profitability and reduce production costs by $350 million in 2003.

Though the financial problems and investments, cut down to $750-800 million in 2002, and the even smaller 2003 budget about $650 million hasn't affected the investments into the construction of 300-mm wafer fab by AU Pte Ltd (together with UMC). At least, according to UMC. The launch volume production of 0.065-micron chips is still dated to 2005, and the $3-billion investment plan of AU Pte Ltd., implying the 50:50 participation of the both companies, seems to remain valid.

Meanwhile, the number of messages about the approaching 90-nm age grows.

NEC Electronics announced that from March 2003 it will be accepting orders for integrated 90-nm chips, made using NEC UX6 technology. New chips will base on NEC CB-90 platform. Currently the company prepares three IP libraries: CB-90H, CB-90M, and CB-90L, necessary for making low-power chips. According to the company, CB-90 will enable to reduce chip energy consumption by about 40% comparing 130-nm UX5 devices, based on CB-130 platform. New chips will operate at up to 1GHz clocks and will feature higher level of integration. The CB-90 itself bases on using NEC Electronics' new proprietary CMOS transistors with 1V supply voltage.

CB-90 performance verification libraries are scheduled for release in December 2002. NEC Electronics will begin accepting orders in March 2003. First samples of CB-90-based ASICs are scheduled for delivery in June 2003. Volume production will be launched in Q3 2003.

In November Dutch ASML Holding NV announced details of the new 193-nm TWINSCAN AT:1200B Step & Scan System for 90-nm chip volume production. Twinscan AT:1200B provides resolutions up to 80-nm and is designed for 300-mm wafers. Like all other Twinscan tools, AT:1200B can process two wafers simultaneously. The shipments are scheduled to mid-2003.

PCI-SIG (PCI and PCI-X Special Interest Group), announced the expansion of PCI-X specifications up to version PCI-X 1066. Such a bus will come in handy at the moment when 40 Gigabit Ethernet apps are ready.

PCI-X 1066 will be developed by PCI-X Workgroup and will be backward compatible with PCI-X 266 and PCI-X 533, and will also have additional features for power management, isochronous mode support, redundancy support, and modular design.

The first stage of development will include analysis of signal circuitry, cards, interface connectors, any alternative variants and examination of new protocol expansion possibility. The next stage will include the creation and ratification of PCI-X 1066 ready specs.


In November Intel announced three new Intel Xeon MP processors, based on Gallatin core. The most powerful Xeon MP features 2GHz clock and 2MB L3 cache. 1.9 GHz and 1.5 GHz Xeon MPs have 1MB L3 cache.

New 32-bit chips for 4-, 8-, and larger parallel systems (for example, on ServerWorks GC-HE) are based on Intel NetBurst architecture, support Hyper-Threading and SSE2, are made using 0.13-micron process technology. All three CPUs have 603-pin mPGA package.

IBM has already announced new 4- and 8-processor eServer line on 2.0 GHz Intel Xeon MP (Linux or Microsoft Windows). It includes 4-processor tower and rack IBM eServer xSeries 255; 4-processor rack x360 server and 4/8-processor x440 eServer.

Moreover, in the later in November Intel released more high-end products, including the new Intel Xeon with 2.8, 2.6, 2.4, 2.0 GHz clock and 533MHz FSB, made using 0.13-micron process, feature 512KB L2 cache and designed for high-performance dual-CPU workstations and servers. The shipments of these chips have already started.

The anticipated November debut of the Intel Hyper-Threading in desktop Pentium 4 chips with the world-first 3.06GHz clock has stirred up the industry: first, Dell, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard along with another five companies have reported the readiness to ship systems on the new chips; second, mobo makers got another reason to stress the HT capabilities of their solutions, and buyers - to think over the upgrade prospects, as, according to provisional data, the production of non-HT Pentium 4 will be stopped already in Q2 2003.

If you are eager to know the actual benefits of Hyper-Threading systems along with the performance boost the new chip provides, read our Intel Pentium 4 3.06 GHz with Hyper-Threading support review.

2003 Hyper-Threading will be implemented into all Pentium 4 products along with their price cut. Initially, Intel planned to use HT with 3.06 GHz P4 and higher, however this might be reconsidered and, perhaps, we'll see Hyper-Threading in chips of several price ranges by summer, including <3GHz P4.

The next logical innovation: as Hyper-Threading is supported by today's high-end Northwood processors, why shouldn't Intel embed it into Celerons with the same core? In the interview Siu has underlined that the question of releasing mainstream HT products is still raised, though doesn't include any technical limits.

The situation with mobile CPUs, supporting HT, is more complex. According to industry sources, mainly due to Microsoft delays of Hyper-Threading and C3/C4 power saving modes implementation. So the Hyper-Threading mobile support might appear only in Longhorn.

The development of products, supporting more than two virtual processors, will be the main line of Hyper-Threading evolution for these years. There's no specific data on this question, but supposedly the next generation processors with Nehalem core, expected in H2 2004, will be able to handle up to four threads. In other words, 4-processor server will feature 16 virtual devices.

The development of TLP (Thread-Level Parallelism) won't be limited to IA-32 platform. TLP is expected in the next generation of 64-bit IA-64 (Itanium). Most likely, it will happen closer to 2005 along with the appearance of new 64-bit 65-nm Chivano featuring about 400 sq.mm core, about 100 million transistors, and several processing cores per chip.

Having added almost to all processor families, Intel hasn't forgotten the low-end market as well. In November it announced 2.20GHz, 2.10GHz Socket 478 desktop Celerons with 400MHz FSB, made using 0.13-micron process technology. For the Xscale family Intel announced new 80200T application processor, based on Intel Xscale, capable of wide temperature range operation.

Intel 80200T works at up to 733MHz, requires less than 1.3W and is certified for -40°C to +85°C conditions. This makes Intel 80200T perfect for telematics, car construction, industry and communications. Intel 80200T will feature 200, 400, 600, 733 MHz clocks. All Intel 80200T versions will appear in retail in February.

In November AMD has at last specified the name of new-generation processors. At Comdex Fall 2002 it officially announced the renaming former Clawhammer is renamed AMD Athlon 64.

The official explanations have rather confirmed previous thoughts over it: why abandon the highly promoted AMD Athlon brand, including one of the best chips ever? Though company representatives have also stressed that the new name reflects the migration of AMD to 64-bit computing and standard succession.

First AMD Athlon 64 systems are still expected late in Q1 or early in Q2 2003. At Comdex Fall 2002 the company announced only the prototypes on the anticipated 64-bit processors, in particular on Opterons under the 64-bit Microsoft Windows.

The only processor AMD announced in November was the new mobile AMD Athlon XP 2200+. Like all the previous models. It supports AMD PowerNow!, AMD 3DNow! Professional. Processors will be produced at Fab 30 in Dresden using 0.13-micron copper process technology.

But in return AMD announced the more specific and realistic processor roadmap, featuring new 90-nm chips only in 2004 instead of the late 2003. In H1 2004 we should expect new 90-nm Athens to replace server AMD Opteron (SledgeHammer), San Diego - to replace desktop ClawHammers, and Odessa - to replace Mobile Athlon with ClawHammer core. In other words, all three should replace chips not volume-produced today. This provokes a feeling that, most likely, the company means to simply redesign chips for newer process technology, not to release new cores.

Transmeta, getting better, has cheered up and composed new future plans. At Comdex Fall 2002 the company announced the 2003 roadmap, including the new Astro processor.

The main difference of Astro (TM8000) from the current Crusoe TM5x00 is the 256-bit internal data representation and the capability of handling 8 instructions par clock (against 128 bits and 4 instructions of the previous models). The launch of Astro volume production is scheduled to mid-2003 at TSMC facilities using 0.13-micron process technology. TM8000-based notebooks are expected in the market in Q3 2003. Along with lower energy consumption, the company promises the significant performance boost Astro comparing to Crusoe TM5800 and the lower price. TM8000 chips will feature the same BGA package as TM5800, but the crystal will be some larger due to additional transistors (mainly in registers).

Motherboards and chipsets

This X-mas sales season can become not the most beneficial in the year for chipset and mobo makers. At least, they are rather sceptical about the following season. Already in the end of Q3 some of them noted the order volumes reduction. And some are wary of the overstocking due to the large shipments in the fall and in case of unsatisfactory December sales. To reduce the production costs some makers are eager to send their workers to vacations earlier. For chipset makers the continuous price reduction may become another reason of losses.

If speaking in particular, the limitation of Pentium 4 chipset sales can become an additional reason of losses for VIA. The land court of Dusseldorf in November adopted the provisional resolution for the action about the banned import of such chipsets to Germany. According to Intel, this ban has already taken effect.

Though it's not easy to deprive VIA of optimism: the company has already appealed, hoping to get a share of this market. In November it announced P4PB Ultra on the VIA Apollo P4X400 + VT8235 bundle for 3.06GHz+ Pentium 4 with 533/400MHz FSB. The board has ATX form-factor and 4-layer PCB.

VIA Technologies decided to move the volume production of KT400A and P4X600 chipsets to early 2003. Besides, in Q1 2003 the company is supposed to announce the new KM400 integrated chipset for AMD K7 with the Castlerock GFX graphics core. PM400 for the Pentium 4 platform will feature the same graphics.

K8T400M, one of the integrated AMD Hammer chipsets expected in Q1 2003, will support AGP 2x/4x/8x and feature next-generation CastleRock II GFX. Two new Hammer chipsets: K8T400 and K8T400M, expected in Q4, will support 800 MHz HyperTransport bus.

The new VT8237 Southbridge will feature integrated dual-port Serial ATA controller, supporting RAID as well as 8 USB 2.0 ports.

As VIA novelties won't become widespread this year, some makers count this as a good chance for NVIDIA nForce2 to spread. Still nForce2 higher price and smaller production do not affect VIA's market share much.

According to the industry sources, volume shipments of discrete nForce2 SPP started in November. Volume shipments of integrated version, nForce2 IGP, are scheduled to early December. Though we haven't witnessed the large-scale nForce2 sales, the number of nForce2 motherboards grows well.

One of them is the Chaintech 7NJS, based on nForce2 SPP + MCP2-T, belonging to the top-end Zenith line and thus supplied with the most comprehensive interface bundle. More details about this and other NVIDIA nForce2-based Chaintech boards are provided in our reviews.

In November SiS announced new SiS655 and SiS755 chipsets for Intel Pentium 4 and AMD Hammer, respectively. The new SiS655 P4 continues the line of SiSR658 and SiS648. SiS655 supports both 128-bit, and 64x2-bit memory interface, dual-channel DDR333, Hyper Threading, IEEE1394, USB 2.0. MuTIOL 1G is used for connecting to SiS963 Southbridge.

SiS755, designed for AMD Hammer, also features SiS963 Southbridge and supports MuTIOL 1G, HyperTransport, 5.1-channel AC'97 2.2, 10/100Mb Ethernet, Home PNA2.0 and Dual ATA133/100/66 IDE, up to 6 PCI slots and 6 USB 2.0/1.1 ports.

Elitegroup, the closest SiS partner, has already added SiS655 to its arsenal and announced its P4S55A motherboard on this chipset at Comdex Fall. As for the SiS755 prospects, first mentioned at Computex 2002 in June, they depend on Athlon 64 release dates. Except the discrete SiS755, the company roadmap also contains the release of the integrated SiS760 with the Xabre integrated graphics instead of the SiS330.

In November Elitegroup also announced two new mobos - Game Union 648 (P4S8AG) and Game Union 746 (K7S7AG) - for Intel Pentium 4 and AMD K7, respectively, with the built-in AGP 8x Xabre 200 GPU and 64MB of DDR SDRAM.

Both boards feature the modern SiS963 Southbridge with all its interface support. Elitegroup believes this way of using Xabre 200 will result in higher performance than in case of using the discrete graphics on the same Xabre 200, or i845G-like solutions. Anyway only the testing will reveal the pluses and minuses of this unordinary integrated solution.

As the new desktop HT-enabled Pentium 4 chipsets successfully started to take over the market as far back as past month, Intel hasn't planned any additional events for this. However, in November we witnessed the significant changes in the 2003 roadmaps, both processor, and chipset.

According to provisional data, the company decided to raise the FSB clock of new Hyper-Threading-enabled Pentium 4 to 800MHz. I.e. there won't be any 667MHz FSB chips, and the following chipsets will be released for the faster versions: Canterwood, Springdale-PE, Springdale-G.

Naturally, the current Intel 845/850 line won't support 800MHz FSB, so they'll need to replace mobos to use newer Pentium 4. Obviously, the synchronous operation of 800MHz FSB systems and DDR400, both with 200MHz reference frequency, will be far more effective than asynchronous. With dual-channel DDR400 the memory bus bandwidth can reach 6.4GB/s. So, maybe due to this Intel decided to support DDR400. Moreover, I doubt that DRAM makers will be ready for industry-suitable volumes of DDR II shipments. Intel plans to move to DDR II in 2004, when Tejas-based chips arrive with 1066MHz bus along with DDR II-533.

Unlike Canterwood, being a powerful logic with maxed features for single-CPU workstations and high-end desktops, Springdale, supporting 667MHz FSB, was positioned as Pentium 4/Prescott desktop logic, supporting dual-channel DDR. Now Intel Springdale family includes discrete Springdale-PE and Springdale-P, and integrated Springdale-G. Unlike Springdale-PE and Springdale-G, aimed at DDR400 and 800MHz FSB support, Springdale-P will be used in systems on the current Pentium 4 with 533MHz FSB and DDR333. All new chipsets will support AGP 8x, Serial ATA 150; feature ICH5, being expected in Q2 2003.

Intel's E7501, E7205, E7505 chipsets, announced closer to the end of November, became of the most important novelties of the month. Intel E7501 is designed for dual-processor servers on 533MHz FSB Xeons supporting Hyper-Threading. It includes Intel E7501 Memory Controller Hub (MCH, 1005-pin FC-BGA), Intel 82801CA (ICH, 421-pin BGA), 64-bit PCI/PCI-X Intel 82870P2 controller (567-pin FC-BGA).

Intel E7505 (former Placer) is intended for dual-processor workstations on Intel Xeon and features Intel E7505 (MCH, 1005-pin FC-BGA), 64-bit PCI/PCI-X Intel 82870P2 controller (567-pin FC-BGA), Intel 82801DB I/O controller (421-pin µBGA).

Intel E7205 (Granite Bay) is meant for entry-level single- and dual-processor Intel Pentium 4 workstations. It has Intel E7205 (MCH, 1005-pin FC-BGA), Intel 82801DB I/O controller (421-pin µBGA).

Both workstation products support USB 2.0 and AGP 8x; all chipsets support dual-channel DDR, and Intel E7501 and E7505 also support 64-bit PCI/PCI-X.

Naturally, the chipset received the full industry support. Most mobo makers and system builders announced their server and workstation solutions on these logics.

MSI GNB Max became one of the first products based on Intel E7205 (Granite Bay). The board has ATX form-factor, features 4 DIMM sockets (up to 2GB Dual Channel DDR266 SDRAM), 5 PCI slots, AGP 8x, 10/100/1000 Gigabit LAN (Intel 82540), 5.1-channel audio (optional), IEEE1394, and Serial ATA. The board is supplied with PC2PC kit for Bluetooth support.

In its turn, ABIT WI-2P became one of the first solutions on the Placer (Intel E7505). It features ExtendedATX form-factor; has 6 DIMM sockets (up to 12GB registered ECC PC2100); AGP Pro (AGP 8x/4x) slot; Gigabit Ethernet LAN (Intel 82545EM); dual-channel Ultra 160 SCSI Adaptec controller (AIC-7899 or the optional Adaptec AIC-7902 Ultra 320); three 64-bit PCI-X slots: one 100MHz, two 66MHz slots; two 32-bit/33MHz PCI slots; 64-bit SO-DIMM socket for Adaptec zero-channel RAID.


The consecutive reduction of DDR prices started unexpectedly in mid-November. This became even more surprising on the background of October spot prices increase by about 35%. Many analysts expected the prices to be stable at least until the end of the X-mas season, however, the weak demand and large stocks resulted in overstocking and price reduction on the DDR spot market.

The contract prices of October and November grew consecutively, however the latest reduction on the spot market can affect them as well. Analysts mention that the reduction may continue in December even with the limited stocks. Though DRAMeXchange believes that current speculations, appeared due to the weak mobo demand, won't result in the significant reductions.

However, it's not the time for significant upturn as well, at least until February, when another pre-holiday sales season will start (before the Chinese New Year). And don't forget that most companies have almost moved from SDRAM to DDR SDRAM. This also plays a role in the overstocking. Perhaps, the market will become more active in Q2, when Intel releases DDR400 chipsets, and AMD - new Hammers.

Early in November Rambus provided Toshiba with the very first license for the Yellowstone memory interface, that had been only a theory before.

Rambus hopes that Yellowstone will be used in various comm chips and graphics cards. Toshiba plans to use Yellowstone in new generations of high-performance RDRAM. This technology might also be used in the memory for Sony's next-generation consoles.

In November Samsung announced the volume production of the complete 0.13-micron RDRAM PC1066 line. New 128Mb, 256Mb, and 512Mb RIMM PC1066 modules feature both 16-bit, and 32-bit interface and 533MHz (1066Mbps) RDRAM chips.

The main November DDR releases were about the various exotics. So, Kingston announced 1GB registered PC2100 EPOC, developed for servers, workstations, comm and network devices. They have low-profile design for 1U racks and are the first Kingston DDR devices, using patented Elevated Package Over CSP (EPOC) technology.

EPOC enables to mount DRAM chips in two layers in different packages. Upper layer features TSOP (Thin-Small Outline Package), chips, lower - CSP (Chip Scale Package) chips.

The same Kingston also announced 256 and 512 Mb DDR of the HyperX family with 370 and 434 MHz clocks (PC3000 and PC3500, respectively). Naturally, the HyperX memories are thoroughly tested and electrically tailored.

The new modules will be available in Europe, Asia, and Latin America early in 2003 for $109 (KHX3000/256Mb), $213 (KHX3000/512Mb), $129 (KHX3500/256Mb) and $254 (KHX3500/512Mb).

Canadian Corsair Memory announced new lower-latency versions of XMS3500 modules - XMS3500C2.

The 512Mb CMX512-3500C2/PT modules (64M x 64, 2-3-3-7-T1, 32M x 8) and 256Mb CMX256A-3500C2/PT (32M x 64, 2-3-3-7-T1, 32M x 8) operate at 434MHz and are supplied with the traditional black or platinum heat-sinks.

The novelties feature CAS latency 2.0, RAS precharge 3T (against former 4T), RAS-to-CAS delay 3T (against former 4T), RAS active to precharge 7T (against former 8T), Command rate 1T.

Micron Technology announced new 32-bit DDR SDRAM memory in 32Mb to 512Mb modules on DDR266 and DDR333 chips. 256Mb (MT8VDDT6432U), 128Mb (MT4VDDT3232U), 64Mb (MT2VDDT1632U), 32Mb (MT2VDDT832UG) 32-bit DIMM DDR SDRAM samples are already being shipped. 32-bit 512Mb DDR SDRAM (MT8VDDT12832UG) will be announced in Q1 2003. Although the modules are not standardized yet, JEDEC (Joint Electron Device Engineering Council) works on it together with Micron.

Speaking of the flash memory news, I should mark the price shifts as well. For the first time since the beginning of the year, we witnessed the 5-7% growth of NOR flash contract prices, mainly due to the increased demand for cellular phones with color displays. The demand for memory and the price growth are expected to continue in Q1 2003.

At the same time, NAND flash prices reduced in November. At that, according to resellers, the sales benefits were still high as the NAND flash products, including various portable USB storages and cards, became more attractive due to the Chinese market, where they became very popular presents.

November brought its novelties as well. Early in the month AMD announced the sample shipments of 256Mbit NOR flash memories supporting MirrorBit.

Currently AMD ships MirrorBit flashes in FBGA-64, FBGA-63, TSOP-48, and TSOP-56 packages in 16, 32, 64, 128, and 256 Mbit capacities. The access time of 16Mbit chips makes up to 70 ns in the single-bit mode and up to 90 ns in all other. The page access time is about 25 ns. New chips include the read-write buffer for 16 words. The sector size is 64Kb, sector zeroing time - 400 ms. The company guarantees at least 100,000 re/write cycles for each sector.

The month brought new miniature flash card form-factors as well. Following the October announcement of the xD Picture Card, MultiMediaCard Association (MMCA) has ratified the Reduced Size MultiMediaCards (RS-MMC) cards identical to MultiMediaCard (except for the size, of course).

All MMCA members are going to produce and sell RS-MMC cards, but Hitachi had time to announce such novelties in November. The samples of 16MB (HB28H016RM2), 32MB (HB28D032RM2), and 64MB (HB28B064RM2) RS-MMC cards are already being shipped.

New RS-MMC cards feature 7-pin interface, 18x24x1.4mm dimensions, suitable for portable devices, including phones, PDAs, etc. New cards weigh 0.8 g, provide 1.7 Mb/s read, 1.0 Mb/s write. Cards require 28 mA for reading, 33 mA for writing at 2.7-3.6V. Naturally, at first RS-MMC cards will be sold with adapters. Hitachi plans to release 128 Mb and 256 Mb RS-MMC cards in 2003 as well.

TwinMOS announced Secure Digital cards 256Mb and 512Mb in capacity (SD256 and SD512), new to the SD line that already includes 32Mb, 64Mb and 128Mb products. Meeting the standard, new cards support cryptographic protection. Their dimensions are 32x24x2.1 mm, weight - about 1.5 g, voltage - 2.7V. TwinMOS SD256 and SD512 are expected in retail early in December.

But the most striking were the Pretec CompactFlash 1.5Gb, 2Gb, and 3Gb in capacity. They are currently the largest-capacity CF memories on the market. The company have also started to sample shipments of 1.5 and 2 GB cards. 3 GB CF will be shipped closer to the year-end for $2499.

The cards feature metallic protective case and are designed for wide temperature range (from -40°C to +125°C). The company intends its new products for military aviation, medicine, car industry, measuring and test tools.

By Vladimir Romanchenko (lone@ixbt.com)

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