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Nintendo 3DS uses Fujitsu FCRAMs

Posted: 31 Mar 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Nintendo 3DS? 3DS teardown? Fast-Cycle RAM?

Nintendo Co. Ltd's 3DS handheld 3D gaming system uses two Fast-Cycle RAMs (FCRAM) from Fujitsu Semiconductor Ltd, said UBM TechInsights following its teardown analysis of the device. The company also noted that among the products it has so far analyzed, the 3DS is the first to adopt the proprietary Fujitsu technology.

According to Fujitsu, FCRAM for CE devices offers a low-power SDRAM interface and enables high-speed data transfer with low power consumption. Consumer FCRAM is intended for digital TVs and digital video cameras that require high-speed data transfer for display and video processing, according to the company. Each part identified by UBM TechInsights offers 64MB of RAM.

"This means the 3DS has 128MB of RAM, and the use of FCRAM interfaces similarly to DDR memory while matching the performance of DDR3 memory at a lower operating frequency," said Allan Yogasingam, technical marketing manager at UBM TechInsights. "Pretty impressive stuff really."

 MB81EDS516545 FCRAM

Close-up die image of the Fujitsu MB81EDS516545 FCRAM.
Source: UBM TechInsights

Market research firm IHS iSuppli, which also conducted a teardown of the Nintendo 3DS, said the existence of FCRAMa proprietary Fujitsu technologyis a potential problem for Nintendo.

"As a rule, most electronic system designers employ memory products that are available from multiple sources in order to reduce supply risk and to guarantee the best pricing," said Andrew Rassweiler, senior director of teardown services for IHS. "However, Nintendo's decision to buy the device from sole-source Fujitsu adds supply chain risk, and limits Nintendo's capability to drive costs down on a major component."

IHS iSuppli's preliminary analysis concluded that the 3DSwhich hit U.S. stores Sundayhas a BOM of $100.71 and a total manufacturing cost of $103.25, including a $2.54 manufacturing cost. The system retails for $250 in the U.S.

The 3DS BOM represents a 33 percent increase over the previous member of Nintendo's handheld gaming line, the Nintendo DSi, based on pricing from the time of its introduction a little more than two years ago, according to IHS iSuppli.

In addition to the Fujitsu FCRAM, the IHS iSuppli 3DS teardown revealed an applications processor that the firm believes is manufactured in the U.S. by Sharp Electronics Corp., NAND flash memory from Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd, MEMS sensors from InvenSense Inc. and ST Microelectronics, a single-chip WLAN module from Atheros Communications Inc. and a three-camera subsystem that allows users to take 3D photographs. The 3DS also features a 3D display made by Sharp that measures 3.5 inches in size with a total 800x240pixel format, according it IHS iSuppli.

Though the 3DS largely uses components from suppliers based in Japan, IHS iSuppli said it cannot identify any specific supply problems for the device's components brought on by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. However, the firm said the logistical and power challenges plaguing most Japanese industries could impact production and distribution of this game system.

 MB81EDS516545 die markings

Die markings on the Fujitsu MB81EDS516545 FCRAM.
Source: UBM TechInsights

- Dylan McGrath
??EE Times





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