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Fujitsu's Ferroelectric RAM hits 2 MBit

Fujitsu today announced the availability of its 2 Mbit Ferroelectric RAM (FRAM or FeRAM) memory chips, which the company claims is the largest capacity FRAM in volume production in the world. The memory product have the same electrical characteristics and use the same TSOP-48 package as Fujitsu's 1 Mbit FRAM products, equating to double the capacity over previous chips. Sampling price of the chips is set at 2,000 Yen ($16.91 USD).

FRAM is a non-volatile memory that uses a ferroelectric film as the capacitor for data retention and betters flash-based RAM with faster data writing, lower power consumption and higher number of write cycles.

Fujitsu says that FRAM could be used in office equipment to store event counts, or store various parameters and log at every event, without concern for the number of write cycles.  FRAM allows 10 billion read/write cycles, which corresponds to writing 30 times a second continuously for 10 years. Also, FRAM can store data for more than 10 years without a battery.

Other ideal uses of FRAM could be in car navigation systems, multi-function printers, measuring instruments – anywhere non-volatile memory is being used to store various parameters, record operating conditions of equipment or security information.

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By UltimateDeath on 4/18/2007 12:41:14 PM , Rating: 2
Seems curious they have chosen to use Mb rather MB as a measure, as i thought bits were technically meant to be used for measuring dataflow (bitrate) rather than capacity, though i could be wrong.

It could just be a marketing ploy i suppose, but this is even less justified than ISP saying their broadband is "10 meg" when they mean 10Mb to deliberately mislead people...

RE: Bit?
By sviola on 4/18/2007 1:19:08 PM , Rating: 3
well, all chips are measure in Mb. Take RAM modules:

512 MB module has 8 512 Mb chips on it. If you wanted 1 GB you'd have to have 16 512 Mb chips or 8 1 Gb chips.

RE: Bit?
By Oregonian2 on 4/18/2007 1:49:45 PM , Rating: 2
No, memory IC's are spec'd in bits. So are flash parts. Notice the Intel phase-change one the other day was announced as a 128Mb part. Size numbers in the partnumber also will be in terms of bits.

P.S. - Sample part prices are somewhat fictitious. For actual hardware designers the price usually is "free". Sample prices are for those who want to buy some early-on but who aren't the "real" customers, meaning "qualified" hardware designers who are putting it into their product (where it'll be bought in mass quantity later). Small prototype runs may have to pay initial prices, but still likely a bit lower price for the 50 or whatever number wanted in the run.

RE: Bit?
By masher2 on 4/18/2007 2:02:08 PM , Rating: 2
> " i thought bits were technically meant to be used for measuring dataflow (bitrate) rather than capacity"

No, they're all units of capacity. Bits, nibbles (4 bits), bytes (8 bits), and words (16 bits).

Divide any of those by a time unit, and you have a rate. Serial data (which travels 1 bit at a time) is usually speced in bits/sec, but bytes or anything else is equally valid.

RE: Bit?
By Dactyl on 4/18/2007 3:53:23 PM , Rating: 2
Words can be any number of bits
If you're coding for a 32-bit system, word size will often be 32 bits

RE: Bit?
By UltimateDeath on 4/18/2007 5:07:10 PM , Rating: 2
I guess i stand corrected :p, though i'm sure omseone must've made up nibbles for a joke...

RE: Bit?
By Fritzr on 4/18/2007 8:58:08 PM , Rating: 2
Nope nibble isn't a joke ... the 4004 was a 4bit CPU so it actually used the nibble :)

Word has a double usage. As a data size it is 16 bits. As a description of system memory usage it is whatever the system reads as a single memory request. Usually the latter is given as "word size". Now called "memory width" Some of the minis used 12 bit words :)

Longword or Double is 32 bits
Quadword is 64 bits
Octaword is 128 bits

RE: Bit?
By Oregonian2 on 4/19/2007 3:29:21 PM , Rating: 2
Trivia: it's more properly spelt "nybble" .

Used to use it more back in the olden days although
not really that much even then (I've been designing
HW systems with microprocessors in them since the
early 70's).

RE: Bit?
By PandaBear on 4/18/2007 5:12:58 PM , Rating: 2
With that price it will almost never replace NOR flash, let alone NAND. However it may be good for application that need small amount but need small capacity, fast performance, low power, and high cycle count. This could easily replace EEPROM and battery backed up DRAM.

Maybe a good use for hard drive cache

Did I do My Math Right?
By NaughtyGeek on 4/18/2007 12:26:31 PM , Rating: 2
$67640 per GB or $8455 per Gb? Seems a little pricey to be practical for any type of PC storage. Heck, at $67.64 per MB, it doesn't even seem practical for CE devices. What type of high end equipment would be taking advantage of this stuff?

RE: Did I do My Math Right?
By Talcite on 4/18/2007 12:41:57 PM , Rating: 3
Those are the prices for sampling a single one. I'm sure economies of scale will take place once production is ramped up.

RE: Did I do My Math Right?
By JLL55 on 4/18/2007 12:43:27 PM , Rating: 2
Until mass market, prices will always be expensive. A lot of this requires more adoption for the price to come down.

RE: Did I do My Math Right?
By MrTeal on 4/18/2007 12:57:13 PM , Rating: 2
This isn't meant for PC or CE storage, it's meant to be used as non-volatile memory in embedded systems for things like sensor readings or logging usage. The lower power consumption is good for remote telemetry units that might be placed in the field and powered off solar. Completely different applications with different requirements.

RE: Did I do My Math Right?
By AnnihilatorX on 4/18/2007 2:05:41 PM , Rating: 2
Well not yet
but FRAM have potential to replace Flash in consumer market. Just need some time to drive cost down.

RE: Did I do My Math Right?
By ZmaxDP on 4/18/2007 5:27:18 PM , Rating: 2
I think they're pretty clear that this isn't for large storage capacities at this point. It is a newer technology at this point in time, like current flash memory was many years ago. This is for small amounts of data that needs to be accessed alot. They provide some examples in the article you know. Give it 10 years and maybe we'll be talking about it's price per gigabyte then, or maybe we'll be talking about something else per gigabyte.

Latest and greatest
By hlper on 4/18/2007 1:02:25 PM , Rating: 2
Fujitsu today announced the availability of its 2 Mbit Ferroelectric RAM (FRAM or FeRAM) memory chips, which the company claims is the largest capacity FRAM in volume production in the world.

Until next week when someone else announces the new largest capacity FRAM chip in the world . Seriously how long is a claim like this good for? Is it measured in minutes? ;-)

RE: Latest and greatest
By sviola on 4/18/2007 1:21:27 PM , Rating: 2
Hey, don't be such a nasty person. Let the engineers at Fujitsu have their 15 minutes of fame and their work recognized.

RE: Latest and greatest
By TheGreek on 4/18/2007 3:37:25 PM , Rating: 2
OK, time's up.

B vs. b
By cajunspice on 4/18/2007 1:41:59 PM , Rating: 2
maybe this is understood, but to be precise:

B = Byte
b = bit

8 bits = 1 Byte
2Mb = approx 256 KB

RE: B vs. b
By Reegor on 4/18/2007 4:37:04 PM , Rating: 2
8 bits = 1 Byte, but in actual memory configurations 9:1 is often used for high-reliability. The extra bit is for redundancy/error checking. This affects cost, obviously.

I now count at least 5 competing technologies for non-volatile semiconductor storage:
Pseudo SRAM (DRAM dressed up to act like SRAM)
Flash (especially NAND flash)
FRAM - just getting started, but has great physical properties.
MRAM - on the horizon

All of these will be competing to fit into the storage hierarchy for different kinds of devices and applications - we are in for an interesting few years.

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