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Samsung begins phase-change RAM production

Posted: 25 Sep 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:phase-change memory  flash memory  mobile application  RAM 

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd has begun production of a 512Mbit phase-change RAM (PRAM) and is aiming it at mobile phone handsets and other battery-operated applications.

If Samsung can follow through into high-volume manufacture quickly it will have jumped ahead of Numonyx BV, the joint venture between Intel and STMicroelectronics, which is the other leading advocate of phase-change memory.

Samsung and memory specialist Numonyx expect that the non-volatile memory will provide superior density to flash memory and scalability along with high performance and low power consumption. However the technology has taken a long time to develop and, for example, Samsung first announced a prototype 512Mbit PRAM in September 2006.

Samsung claims that by using PRAM, the battery life of a handset can be extended over 20 per cent, compared with other memory options.

The move to PRAM production was announced at the Samsung Mobile Solutions Forum. Samsung said that its 512Mbit PRAM can erase 64kilowords in 80ms, more than 10x faster than NOR flash memory. In 5MB data blocks can be erased and rewritten approximately seven-times faster than in NOR flash, Samsung said.

Samsung's first phase-change memory is produced using a 60nm manufacturing process. "Finer technology nodes will be applied in future-generations of PRAM to expedite further commercial adoption," the company said in a statement.

"We believe PRAM will make a highly significant contribution to the efficiency of mobile phone designs, particularly for multimedia handsets and smart phones," said Sei-Jin Kim, VP, mobile memory planning and enabling group, memory division, Samsung. "We expect it to become one of our core memory products in the future."

Samsung did not indicate which wafer fab it using for production.

- Peter Clarke
EE Times Europe

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