IBM presents its fastest eDRAM technology

IBM today pulled the wraps off its fastest system-on-a-chip eDRAM technology. The new technology presented to International Solid State Circuits Conference, or ISSCC, with engineers boasting the fastest recorded eDRAM access times ever.

The new eDRAM technology takes advantage of IBM’s silicon-on-insulator technology for low power and high-performance. In its current applications, the new eDRAM technology is implemented in 65nm SOI designs to improve the memory performance of on-processor memory controllers.

IBM suggests its eDRAM technology achieves the same performance as conventional SRAM while only occupying one-third the space and using one-fifth the power. The eDRAM technology is also ready for IBM’s upcoming 45nm fab technologies.

“As semiconductor components have reached the atomic scale, design innovation at the chip-level has replaced materials science as a key factor in continuing Moore’s Law. Today’s announcement further demonstrates IBM’s leadership in this critical area of microprocessor design innovation,” said Dr. Subramanian Iyer, IBM’s Distinguished Engineer and director of 45nm technology development.

The specifications for IBM’s new eDRAM technology are as follows:
  • cell size: 0.126 mm2
  • Power supply: 1 V
  • availability: 98.7%
  • Tile: 1K RowX16 Col X146 (2Mb)
  • AC power: 76 mW
  • standby keep alive Power: 42 mW
  • Random cycle time: 2ns
  • Latency: 1.5ns
IBM’s eDRAM technology has yet to make its way into PCs. However, it is found in many gaming consoles. Nintendo has taken advantage of eDRAM since the GameCube with its Flipper graphics processor. The latest Nintendo Wii also integrates eDRAM in its Hollywood GPU. The Xenos GPU found in Microsoft’s Xbox 360 also features eDRAM.

Coincidentally, all three console GPUs are designed by the former ATI Technologies.

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
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