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ST's new USB 2.0 flash drive controller provides design flexibility

Posted: 03 Jun 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share


With the demand for flash continuously increasing, a USB 2.0 flash drive controller that promises exceptional design flexibility and a low-cost turnkey solution is what flash-drive manufacturers might just be interested in.

STMicroelectronics recently unveiled its ST72681 Flash drive controller that uses an advanced architecture based on an ST7 8-bit microcontroller (MCU) tightly coupled with a 16-bit, one-cycle-per-instruction Input/Output processor, which is dedicated to the flash interface, and a Reed-Solomon error-correction processor for MLC (Multi-Level Cell) NAND flash devices.

Providing high performance even when used with different brands of NAND flash, this new bi-core controller chip is a complete low-cost turnkey solution for the interface between the USB port and the flash memory, and is supported by a set of tools for production, including Vendor ID, Product ID and serial-number customization, as well as LED setting, formatting, boot capability and public/private zone partitioning.

The ST72681's architecture brings high Read (more than 12MBps) and Write (over 10MBps) performance with only one 8-bit SLC (Single Level Cell) NAND Flash. Read performance will reach more than 20MBps and Write performance will exceed 16MBps with the next version of the ST72681 family controller, which will be available in the next few months.

In addition, an embedded Reed-Solomon 4byte-on-512-byte block encoder/decoder engine improves on-the-fly hardware error correction, specifically for MLC (Multi-Level Cell) NAND Flash devices.

"This brand new generation of USB2.0 controller is setting new standards in cost/performance ratio," said Xavier Mariaud, the company's product manager for USB2.0 MCUs. "It [ST72681] is the foundation stone of a radical-innovation USB2.0 Flash storage controller family."

ST added that the ST72681 has been certified by USB-IF (USB Implementers Forum) as having the industry's lowest power consumption (290?A in suspend mode and 50mA operating supply current).

The ST72681 USB 2.0 flash Drive Controller is available in a small footprint TQFP48 package and in die form. Pricing starts at $1.60 in quantities of 10,000.

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