[FoRK] magnetic RAM --- who's the target audience at this point?
Kragen Sitaker <
kragen at pobox.com
> on >
Mon Jul 10 22:01:12 PDT 2006
On Mon, Jul 10, 2006 at 11:55:33PM -0400, Kragen Sitaker wrote:
> In this environment where everything else (except SRAM) ranges from
> twenty times cheaper to a hundred thousand times cheaper, what's the
> market for MRAM priced like this?
The white paper
Comparison to Other Memory Technologies
Comparison of MRAM with other memory
technologies suggests that it can be competitive in overall
performance. Since MRAM is nonvolatile, it retains the
data when completely turned off. System power can be
significantly reduced compared to DRAM by shutting
down the MRAM when inactive since there is no
background refreshing required. The straightforward
integration scheme used for MRAM makes it easier to
Comparison with SRAM shows that MRAM will
compete favorably in cost because of its smaller cell size.
It also is non-volatile, which is only available in more
complex and expensive battery backup solutions for
When compared with Flash, MRAM achieves much
better performance in write characteristics since no high-
voltage tunneling mode is required and MRAM write cycle
is much faster. MRAM consumes much less energy in a
write cycle because the energy/bit is several orders of
magnitude lower than Flash. In addition, MRAM
endurance is unlimited, with no known or expected
deterioration mechanism, while typical Flash endurance is
only 10^5 write cycles.
So they expect it to be cheaper than SRAM (which it isn't yet, not by a
long shot), and last longer (which they aren't willing to stand behind
yet, qualifying it for their "commercial" tier, i.e. 5-year lifetime)
and use less energy than Flash. Maybe that suggests an economic niche,
even at the current pricing? $200 memory cards that make your digital
camera last longer between recharges?
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