Ramtron intros 1 Mbit FRAM

Colorado Springs (CO) - Ramtron said it is shipping a 1 Mbit FRAM device, the highest density memory module of its kind announced so far. The manufacturer aims the product as a drop-in replacement for SRAMs.

FRAMs not too long ago have been considered as a possible successor for Flash, but a slowly scalable performance and density kept the technology from being a serious contender in this race. Ramtron now is the first firm which lifts its nonvolatile ferroelectric random access memory (FRAM) products to a capacity of 1 Mbit, which represents about a two-fold density increase within the past four years.

The company expects to sell the module into a market where electronics can benefit from non-volatile memories. This could be the case for systems that are exposed to varying and disappearing power levels, such as set-top boxes, automotive telematics and industrial applications, the manufacturer said.

Besides non-volatile characteristics, Ramtron claims that its 3.3-volt FRAM FM20L08 offers an unlimited number of read/write cycles. While read and write performance typically was criticized in FRAMs, the company says its module includes a "high-speed page mode" at 33 MHz that allows a 4-Byte burst read or write operation "at much higher bus speeds than a conventional random access memory." Access time of the device is rated at 60 ns. Cycle time for the commercial device is 150 ns and 350 ns for the industrial part.

Ramtron sells samples of the FM20L08 in 32-pin TSOP with pricing starting at $13.65 in quantities of 10,000 units.