[FoRK] magnetic RAM --- who's the target audience at this point?

Justin Mason < jm at jmason.org > on > Tue Jul 11 05:09:27 PDT 2006

Whatever you do, do *not* read the Beeb for tech news; they are clueless.
If they manage to recycle a press release without making a fundamental
error, they're doing well.


Kragen Sitaker writes:
> So the BBC had a content-free slashdotted article about Freescale going
> into volume production of MRAM.  Freescale's page is less content-free:
> http://www.freescale.com/webapp/sps/site/prod_summary.jsp?code=MR2A16A&tid=FSH
> says the MR2A16A is 4 megabits, 35ns read or write, and $25 apiece.  Who
> would buy it at that price?  Seems that 4-megabit 15ns SRAM chips cost
> $5-$10, which leaves plenty of budget for 4 megabits of flash.  Is the
> idea that you get to drop your design's chip count by one?  That you can
> erase a byte at a time, unlike flash?  Does it last longer than flash?
> (The datasheet only recommends using it for five-year applications.)
> Does it use less power than SRAM?  (The $4 70ns Cypress chip I compare
> it to below says it could have standby current of up to 20 microamps,
> while the MR2A16A advertises 1 microamp.)
> I'm excited to see non-volatile RAM coming back into the mainstream ---
> you can't get much more mainstream than Freescale --- but I don't
> understand what market Freescale is selling into at the moment.
> Everything except SRAM is much cheaper:
> Type          Capacity      Price   Unit Price    Reference
> MRAM          4 megabits    $25.00  $25.00/4mb    above Freescale page
> SRAM          4 megabits    $3.98   $3.98/4mb     Digi-Key 428-1075-ND
> NOR flash     4 megabits    $1.35   $1.35/4mb     Digi-Key AT26F004-SU-ND
> NAND flash    1 gigabyte    $24.50  $0.012/4mb    Lexar 1 gigabyte SD card 
>                                                   via digi4me.com
> PC5600 SDRAM  1 gigabyte    $150    $0.075/4mb    Pricewatch page 
>                                                   http://www.pricewatch.com/memory/278252-1.htm 
>                                                   quotes Corsair 
>                                                   TWIN2X1024-5400C4PRO at $159
> hard disks    400 gigabyte  $200    $0.00025/4mb  Pricewatch page 
>                                                   http://www.pricewatch.com/hard_drives/17244-1.htm
>                                                   ranges from $154 to $205
> 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?
> (I'd send a copy of this note to Freescale, but apparently I would have
> to agree to their "Extranet Access Agreement" first, so I won't bother.)
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