[Athen] Samsung introduces working prototype of PRAM (Phase-change Random Access Memory)

Berkowitz, Daniel J djbrky at bu.edu
Tue Sep 12 07:15:34 PDT 2006

For the true geeks among us:

Samsung introduces working prototype of PRAM (Phase-change Random Access
Sean Shim
EE Times (09/11/2006 5:02 AM EDT)

SEOUL, South Korea - Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. announced Monday
(Sept. 11) it has completed the industry's first fully working prototype
of a 512-Mbit Phase-change Random Access Memory (PRAM), what the company
claims is expected to become the main memory device to replace
high-density NOR flash memories within the next decade.

Samsung said at a news conference here that its PRAM has been developed
by adopting the use of vertical diodes with the three "dimensional
transistor structure that it now uses to produce a DRAM. The PRAM has
the smallest cell size of any working memory that is free of inter-cell
noise, allowing virtually unlimited scalability, the company said.

The PRAM features the fast processing speed of RAM for its operating
functions combined with the nonvolatile features of flash memory for
storage, giving it the nickname of "Perfect RAM", Samsung said.

As the PRAM can rewrite data without having to first erase data
previously accumulated, it is effectively 30-times faster than
conventional flash memory. It is also expected to have at least 10-times
the endurance of the conventional flash memory, Samsung added.

Samsung claimed the PRAM would become a competitive choice over NOR
flash, with availability beginning sometime in 2008.

Samsung also said the PRAM's cell size is only half the size of NOR
flash memory. In addition, its PRAM requires 20 percent fewer process
steps than those for the manufacturing of NOR flash, making it cheaper
to produce.

Adoption of PRAM is expected to be more popular in the future designs of
multi-function handsets and for other mobile applications, where faster
speeds translate into immediately noticeable boosts in performance.
High-density versions will be produced first, starting with 512 Mbit,
according to Samsung.

Daniel Berkowitz - Assistant Director
Boston University Office of Disability Services
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