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Ramtron announces sampling of IBM-made FRAMs

Posted: 30 May 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:FRAMs? chip production? sampling?

Ramtron International Corp. recently announced that the first pre-qualification ferroelectric RAM devices rolled out by its production line at IBM Corp. are now available for broad sampling and customer evaluation.

Ramtron, which entered into a foundry services agreement with IBM in 2009, initially expected to generate the first production wafers on the IBM 0.18?m wafer manufacturing process in 2010. However, IBM encountered difficulties ramping up production of the chips, causing delays.

Ramtron CEO Eric Balzer acknowledged last month that customers were displeased by the delays, though he added that most of them remained Ramtron customers. Blazer said Supply constraints hurt Ramtron's first quarter sales.

"Releasing samples of the FM24C04C and FM24C16C devices is a significant milestone in our new foundry program," Balzer said in a statement issued May 25.

According to Ramtron, the FM24C04C and FM24C16C are serial 5V devices with 4- and 16Kb of FRAM, respectively. The devices offer a high-performance nonvolatile data collection and storage solution for electronic systems, the company said. Ramtron maintains that its FRAM products boast nonvolatile RAM performance with fast write times, high read/write endurance and low power consumption.

"These pre-qualification devices, which meet all datasheet specifications and our stringent quality standards, are available now for customer evaluation," said Balzer, who took over as Ramtron's CEO in January after the resignation of Bill Staunton. "Additional devices, including 3V I2C and 3- and 5V SPI products, will become available for sampling as testing is completed."

The FM24C04C and FM24C16C feature a serial I2C interface, have an active current of 100?A (typical at 100kHz) and perform up to 1MHz bus frequency, according to Ramtron. The devices are direct drop-in replacements for 4- and 16Kb serial EEPROM memories used in industrial controls, metering, medical, military, gaming and computing applications, among others, according to the company.

The FM24C04C and FM24C16C are offered in an industry standard 8-pin SOIC package and operate over the industrial temperature range of -40C to +85C, Ramtron said. The company maintains that its FM24CxxC products offer single-byte writes that are 200 times faster than those of EEPROM.

As part of the 2009 wafer services agreement, IBM installed Ramtron's semiconductor manufacturing process technology at its fab in Burlington, Vermont. Ramtron also has a foundry services agreement with Texas Instruments Inc. Japan's Fujitsu Ltd formerly made parts for Ramtron on a foundry basis, but a spokesman for Ramtron confirmed that the relationship had been terminated.

- Dylan McGrath
??EE Times

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