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Cypress samples seven customers with magnetic RAM

Posted: 02 Feb 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:256kbit? magnetic random access memory? mram?

Silicon Magnetic Systems, a subsidiary of Cypress Semiconductor Corp. has shipped so-called &quote;alpha&quote; samples of a 256kbit magnetic random access memory (MRAM) device to customers, and in at least two cases the memory is up and running in systems.

Progress with the novel form of non-volatile memory was announced Thursday (Jan. 27) in a statement accompanying Cypress' results for the fourth quarter.

Silicon Magnetic Systems provided alpha samples of its 256kbit MRAM to seven key customers, two of which have indicated that the MRAMs are fully functional in initial system tests, according to the Cypress statement. The remaining five alpha customers are developing evaluation systems, it said.

Neither Cypress nor Silicon Magnetic Systems disclosed the names of the customers.

MRAM is potentially a superior type of memory combining the ability to retain data when power is removed, for more than 10 years if necessary, with the fast read and write of RAM and without the system design complexities of battery-backed SRAM, flash or ferrolectric RAM. However, some experts have doubted MRAMs ability to scale to very small geometries and the technology has been a long time coming from such proponents as Motorola, now Freescale Semiconductor, and Altis Semiconductor.

Cypress is apparently some way behind its competition in terms of the memory capacity of its MRAM component and its progress to sampling.

Motorola SPS started sampling 4Mbit MRAMs made using 0.18?m manufacturing process to a limited number of customers in Oct. 2003. Motorola spin-off Freescale expects to be in production with standard MRAM products in 2005, a spokesman said in Sept. 2004.

In Sept. 2003 Cypress said it was taking longer-than-expected to develop MRAM products and those delays prompted the company to sell a portion of its investment within its MRAM development partner, NVE Corp.

- Peter Clarke

Silicon Strategies

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