NEC Corp. announced Feb. 6 it has developed the world’s first four-gigabit dynamic random access memory chip, capable of storing approximately the same amount of data as a CD-ROM.

The first samples are expected to be shipped in 2000, and mass production will probably begin in 2002 or 2003, NEC officials said. The new chip, which has a memory capacity of storing 47 minutes of full-motion video or six hours of audio data, will largely help improve the capabilities of multimedia devices, according to the officials.

They said it would cost some 20 billion yen to make the chip suitable for mass production. They must be able to establish an assembly line for the chip at a maximum cost of 200 billion yen in order to make the business economically viable, they said.

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