Everspin Rolls Out Non-Volatile Replacement Option for DRAM

One explored option is the combination of DRAM with Flash on one chip, but another technology could become much more interesting for those who require performance over capacity. ST-MRAM, or Spin-Torque MRAM.

Everspin just announced its first ST-MRAM, built in a DDR3 form factor module. The device is compatible with the JEDEC DDR3 1600 specification with a "memory bandwidth of up to 3.2 GBytes/second at nanosecond class latency". Samples of the modules are available now and volume shipments are expected for 2013.

Interestingly, MRAM has been positioned for more than a decade as a potential higher-performance replacement for NAND Flash, due to its non-volatile characteristics. However, the technology is too far away from being able to compete on a capacity level - even this new chip has just 64 Mb (8 MB) capacity. In fact, Everspin is currently producing the only commercially available MRAM chips, which hold only 4 Mb and are produced in an antiquated 180 nm process. Remember, Intel's latest CPUs are built in 22 nm.

The upside, however, is MRAM's performance as well as its low power consumption. The memory technology can outpace not only Flash, but DRAM as well and is seen to be operating on the same level as SRAM. With some investment and product demand, MRAM may have an opportunity to appear on the big stage.

 

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  • Before you all start posting about how 'useless' an 8MB chip is...

    My First PC had 64KB (yes, that is a 'K') memory and a 5MB hard drive in full height 5 1/4" format.
    Darn thing cost a month' salary too.

    Anyway, this type chip technology has obviously some ways to go to find it's way into regular PCs, but there are all sorts of intermediate applications in the low power segment of the market that I can see for them in the very near future.
    14
  • I would assume that a comparison to 25nm (or less) NAND would be a better comparison than Intel's 22nm process for tri-gate transistors...
    10
  • Other Comments
  • Before you all start posting about how 'useless' an 8MB chip is...

    My First PC had 64KB (yes, that is a 'K') memory and a 5MB hard drive in full height 5 1/4" format.
    Darn thing cost a month' salary too.

    Anyway, this type chip technology has obviously some ways to go to find it's way into regular PCs, but there are all sorts of intermediate applications in the low power segment of the market that I can see for them in the very near future.
    14
  • And also, we're talking about a brand-new memory system that has relatively little limit on how much it can be improved (other than financial investments). Flash and DRAM had a obviously huge headstart, but both are reaching a limit on how much they can improved before you have to make sacrifices.

    Flash, like the CPUs, is hitting a limit on how far silicon can go. DRAM is also increasingly having less of its silicon dies reserved for actual memory storage and more for other functions such as interconnects.
    8
  • I would assume that a comparison to 25nm (or less) NAND would be a better comparison than Intel's 22nm process for tri-gate transistors...
    10