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NVM battle: When will choices be made?

Posted: 29 Jan 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:STTMRAM? MRAM? NVM? non-volatile memory?

Yole Dveloppement announced that the technological choice between STTMRAM/MRAM and RRAM will be made in the next two years.

Yole released a new technology and market analysis dedicated to the Emerging Non Volatile Memory (NVM): Emerging Non Volatile Memory (NVM) Technology & Market Trends Report. The technological choice between STTMRAM and RRAM will be made in the next two years: what is the best solution for data centers and embedded MCU applications?

Yole's analysis describes why and how emerging NVM technologies will be increasingly used in various markets including industrial and transportation; enterprise storage; wearable; mobiles devices; mass storage; and MCU smart card.

"Emerging NVM sales are still moderate at $65M in 2014 and limited to niche markets due to the limited density available," announced Yann de Charentenay, Senior, Technology & Market Analyst, Yole Dveloppement.

Under this context, Yole presents an overview of the semiconductor memory market including NAND, DRAM, embedded MCU and mobile CPU. The consulting company details the related applications and market forecasts. Indeed, over the last two years, the complex emerging non-volatile memory (NVM) situation has been greatly simplified.

NVM technology

In 2014, Micron, the main phase-change memory (PCM) promoter for stand-alone memory, stopped actively selling PCM chips following the collapse of sales targeting the shrinking entry-level mobile phone market.

At the same time, Micron developed a resistive random access memory (RRAM or ReRAM) chip with Sony, part of a technology class that includes conductive bridge RAM (CBRAM).

At 16GB, the Micron-Sony RRAM has the highest density commercialised among emerging NVM technologies. Thus, Yole believes that PCM is now out of the race for stand-alone memory.

For embedded microcontroller unit (MCU) applications 2015 will be a key year as STMicroelectronics, the main PCM promoter in this market, will choose if PCM will remain in its roadmap.

The new emerging NVM report is thus focused on the two most promising technologies: RRAM and magnetoresistive RAM (MRAM). The most attractive category of MRAM is spin-transfer torque magnetoresistive RAM (STTMRAM) that provides higher scalability/density.

A main selection criterion for memory is the scalability/density of the chips, as this impacts both performance and cost. The Yole report provides a precise memory roadmap in terms of technological nodes, chip density and pricing.

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