Print 8 comment(s) - last by PandaBear.. on Jan 20 at 7:01 PM

Courtesy of Innovative Silicon
Capacitor-less memory might show up on your next AMD processor

EETimes is reporting that AMD has just entered an agreement with memory startup Innovative Silicon to license the company's capacitor-less SRAM alternative.  Innovative Silicon's technology, Z-RAM, uses zero capacitors in its memory design.  Not only does this reduce the cost of the memory, but density of such memory is also much greater.

AMD uses traditional SRAM for onboard CPU cache in its desktop and server processors.  Technologies like Z-RAM could give AMD the opportunity to significantly increase the amount of cache on its CPUs, or use the newly aquired die real estate for something else.  An interesting side benefit of Z-RAM is that it currently can only be produced on silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers.  AMD made the move to SOI process over a year ago. 

Innovative Silicon has already demonstrated Z-RAM on the sub-100nm scale. Its corporate roadmap expects to see sub 40nm nodes by 2012.

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By neosapience on 1/20/2006 10:13:39 AM , Rating: 2
Recent MRAM breakthroughs will make all current memory types obsolete.

RE: Meaningless...
By blckgrffn on 1/20/2006 11:43:26 AM , Rating: 2
lol, in a few years maybe. From the sounds of this article, we could see this on processors in as little as a couple years. AMD is due for a new processor rollout that isn't just a pinout and memory contoroller change :)


RE: Meaningless...
By PandaBear on 1/20/2006 7:01:11 PM , Rating: 2
They were talking about MRAM for at least 7 years already and it still hasn't materialized. The performance will definitely be slower due to the nature of using magnetic, so you can say it is an alternative to flash but not DRAM/SRAM.

ZRAM is a good alternative/compromise between SRAM and DRAM, it should be small enough to fit a whole bunch in the die but only slightly slower than real SRAM (flip/flop based).

What I think would be the most significant of ZRAM would be embedded processors memory that makes it possible to eliminate DRAM from PCB, for HD/DVD player/MP3 player/router/etc. That would be huge power and space saver and possible cost saver.

could this work on proc transistors as well?
By NoToRiOuS1 on 1/20/2006 3:33:44 AM , Rating: 2
can they use this technology some how to make a proc with it? is any part of this zram technology that can be used to improve procs?

By ShadowD on 1/20/2006 3:48:18 AM , Rating: 2
This technology will allow AMD to drastically reduce the amount of space nesscessary for the cache. This will allow larger caches (not incredibly benificial due to the memory controller) or much smaller and cheaper proccessors.

Assuming that this Z-RAM stuff works like the graph says it does, it should mean less power is needed to write to the cache and just about no power is needed to read from it (floating normally means that a disconnected state results in it being read as a high or low state).

Less capacitors should also make the proccessors cheaper, but it might also make clean power much more nesscessary for proper cache writes.

By BillyBatson on 1/20/2006 2:57:50 AM , Rating: 3
Would this effect power requirments in anyway?

By mxzrider2 on 1/20/2006 12:33:52 AM , Rating: 2
more on die cach is always good. and less cost is good on lower cache models

When will DRAM go bye-bye?
By shaw on 1/20/2006 12:40:24 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, but what new technology will come out to make DRAM obsolete?

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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