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STMicro unveils latest 8Mb Flash memory

Posted: 30 Aug 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:stmicroelectronics? flash memory? m50flw? firmware hub architecture? fwh?

STMicroelectronics introduced an 8Mb Flash memory engineered for storage of BIOS code in PCs based on both Intel and non-Intel chipsets. According to STMicro, the new IC extends the memory density of its M50FLW family, which is the first to support both Firmware Hub (FWH) and Low Pin Count (LPC) architectures on the same chip.

The M50FLW080 is a 1M x 8bit nonvolatile (NV) memory designed to operate on a single 3V to 3.6V supply. It unique auto-detection circuitry determines whether the device is being used in an FWH or LPC environment, by decoding the first four bits of the START time slot, and thereafter operates the appropriate bus protocol with full decoding of either instruction set. Compatible with Intel LPC Interface Specification Revision 1.1 for LPC and FWH mode, the device is supporting multibyte program (up to 4 bytes in a single operation) and multibyte read (up to 128 bytes in a single operation). Additionally, the dual-interface capability simplifies both design and production for PC manufacturers, offering flexibility and reducing inventory requirements and risk.

LPC is a flexible 33MHz interface which will replace the earlier ISA (Industry Standard Architecture) bus in the majority of new PCs within the next year or two, STMicro shared. The FWH protocol is an Intel proprietary protocol derived from the LPC specification.

In addition to the dual interface, the new IC offers a thin granularity for erase and program suitable for BIOS parameters. The memory space is divided into 16 uniform blocks of 64KB each, three of which are divided into 16 uniform sectors of 4KB - device options offer two of these three blocks at the top of the memory map and one at the bottom, or one at the top and two at the bottom. All blocks and sectors can be erased independently, and can be protected individually to prevent accidental programming or erasure.

For production programming prior to assembly, the Address/Address Multiplexed (A/A Mux) Interface is designed to be compatible with current Flash programmers. Typical Quadruple Byte programming time is 10?s, when using an optional 12V power supply pin that reduces program and erase time.

Samples of the M50FLW080 are already available. Priced at $2.40 in quantities of 10,000, it is supplied in PLCC32, TSOP32 (8-by-14mm) and TSOP40 (10-by-20mm) packages, and is characterized for operation over the -20C to 85C temperature range.

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