Intel confirms non-volatile MRAM is being produced with high yield

Greg S

Posts: 1,607   +442

Intel has provided an update on its MRAM technologies at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference. Confirmation has been given that embedded spin-transfer torque MRAM is now achieving high yields making mass production viable.

Unlike DRAM used in traditional computer memory, MRAM is non-volatile and can store data for up to 10 years without any power available. That time frame can be extended by storing chips in a cool temperature controlled environment. However, the most important uses of MRAM are not for desktop computers at all despite the fact that it could one day replace NAND flash and DRAM.

Embedded MRAM has great potential as a replacement to flash memory and SRAM, which are found in millions of everyday devices. As IoT products pop up everywhere with microcontrollers, all of those chips have some flash memory inside. Read and write speeds are very high with sense times as low as 4 nanoseconds at just 0.9V. High endurance is also a feature, making it a relatively easy replacement in many chips that use only moderately durable memory by comparison.

Right now, Intel is producing 7MB MRAM on its 22nm FinFET process. Bit yield rates are greater than 99.9%. One of the only real downsides is that producing MRAM requires error-correcting code bits that take up extra space on a die and consume energy.

Analysts have indicated that Intel is already making use of MRAM in products for its foundry customers. It may still be another year or two before commercial products using Intel's MRAM are promoted publicly, but improvements are on their way.

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misor

Posts: 1,397   +303
Intel is having a problem maintaining high volume sales in the cpu market.
I wonder if it can take away sales from Samsung when it comes to memory tech except for this disclaimer, sort of:
Unlike DRAM used in traditional computer memory, MRAM is non-volatile and can store data for up to 10 years without any power available. That time frame can be extended by storing chips in a cool temperature controlled environment. However, the most important uses of MRAM are not for desktop computers at all despite the fact that it could one day replace NAND flash and DRAM.
 

RaXelliX

Posts: 8   +2
The problem I see is capacity. Looking at the triange on the picture it apprears as MRAM has less capacity than DRAM. So while it may be a suitable replacement for DRAM in terms of speed and endurance it is a far cry from NAND capacity. In order to compete with NAND it would have to be dirt cheap to produce to offset the low capacity.
 

quadibloc

Posts: 167   +99
I'm not surprised that error-correcting code circuitry is required. Bit yield rates are greater than 99.9%? Even with a bit yield of 99.99%, a gigabyte of memory would be almost certain to have at least one bad bit, and therefore to be a bad part, without that. Let's see now, 0.9999, raised to the power of eight billion... the chance of a defective part would be 99.99...99% where the three dots replace 347,447 nines in a row.