Samsung announces first 256 Mbit PSRAM for cellphones

San Jose (CA) - Samsung today said that it plans to begins production of a high-density UtRAM, the firm's Pseudo SRAM product, later this year. The memory aims to accelerate multimedia applications in 3G cellphones.

The growth of the global semiconductor industry currently depends in large parts on the cellphone industry. So it is no surprise that the high volume shipments of cellphones - an expected 750 million this year alone - attract more attention from chip manufacturers and encourage the development of dedicated products. The latest example is Samsung's UtRAM, a specialty DRAM that is tailored for application needs in cellphones.

UtRAM modules - commonly known as Pseudo SRAM - are built with a single-transistor DRAM-like memory cell structure, but do not come with a DRAM interface and therefore reduce the component count of regular DRAMs. As a result, the SRAM or NOR Flash interface-equipped UtRAM can be manufactured in smaller overall size. Since PSRAMs do not integrate a pipeline architecture, power consumption typically drops significantly when compared to regular DRAMs.

Samsung's UtRAM is built in a 90 nm process and is the industry's first device with 256 Mbit capacity. Clocked at 133 MHz, the memory is about 1.7 times faster than today's 80 MHz PSRAM. The manufacturer believes the speed gain will pay off in multimedia applications for cellphones. Sampling of the memories is scheduled to begin later this month, volume shipments are expected by the end of 2005.

Samsung claims that it already holds "at least 3- percent" of the global PSRAM market. Annual growth is projected to reach an average of 33 percent through 2008.