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Naysayers, optimists clash on DRAM forecasts

Posted: 11 Aug 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share


Beyond that, memory makers are looking at several alternatives, including 3D devices, universal memories, among others. Instead of scaling, chip makers have proposed the idea of developing 3D devices, based on a stacking technology called through-silicon-vias (TSVs).

However, there are still a lack of EDA tools and standards for TSVs. The cost model is also unclear. And to date, there is still no way to test devices based on TSVs, said Merritt.

Many are also scrambling to develop the replacement for a DRAM or a so-called universal memory. The main candidates are FeRAM, MRAM, phase-change, RRAM, among others.

The next-generation memory types are still in their infancies. Some will not succeed. Some will find homes in a new class of devices, such as SSDs, smartphones, tablet PCs and other products, Merritt said.

The real problem is the business model for next-generation memory types. The DRAM became viable, simply because it became the main memory type for the PC. The PC allowed DRAM makers a mass market for their products, which, in turn, drove down chip prices.

That is not the case for the next-generation memory types-at least for now. "What we need is a memory technology that focuses on a replacement for the DRAM business model-not the DRAM cell," Merritt said.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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