May The Cheapest Memory Win

There are a number of new memory types on the horizon. So why are we still using DRAM, SRAM and hard disk drives developed decades ago? The answer is complicated. Memory, whether it’s on-chip static RAM cache or off-chip dynamic RAM—or flash storage or spinning magnetic media—is really a stack of data storage technologies that need to work seamlessly together and with other non-memory ... » read more

Many Paths To Hafnium Oxide

Equipment and materials suppliers often talk about the fragmentation of integrated circuit processing. While the number of manufacturers has gone down, the diversity of the underlying semiconductor market has increased. Low-power processors for mobile devices, non-volatile memory for solid state disks, and dedicated graphics processors all have different requirements from the traditional ind... » read more

ReRAM Gains Steam

Resistive RAM appears to be gaining traction. Once considered a universal memory candidate—a replacement for DRAM, flash and SRAM—ReRAM is carving out a niche between DRAM and storage-class memory. Now the question is how large that niche ultimately becomes and whether other competing technologies rush into that space. [getkc id="94" kc_name="ReRAM"] (known alternately as RRAM), is a typ... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Oct. 27

Searching for energy-efficient architectures A workshop jointly funded by the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) and National Science Foundation (NSF) sought out the key factors limiting progress in computing – particularly related to energy consumption – and novel research that could overcome these barriers. The report focuses on the most promising research directions in the ex... » read more

Rethinking The Cloud

Data center architectures have seen very few radical changes since the commercial introduction of the [getentity id="22306" comment="IBM"] System/360 mainframe in 1964. There have been incremental improvements in speed and throughput over the years, with a move to a client/server model in the 1990s, but from a high level this is still an environment where data is processed and stored centrally ... » read more

New Challenges For Wearables

It was Dick Tracy’s wristwatch communicator that triggered the public’s appetite for wearable electronics. Introduced in a 1946 syndicated comic strip, the idea was so compelling that it inspired the release of hundreds of wrist-based devices ranging from walkie-talkies to calculators to GPS trackers, heartbeat and movement monitors. Yet despite the public’s fascination with this kind of ... » read more

Big Memory Shift Ahead

System architecture has been driven by the performance of [getkc id="22" kc_name="memory"]. Processor designers would have liked all of the memory be fast [getkc id="92" kc_name="SRAM"], placed on-chip for maximum performance, but that was not an option. Memory had to be fabricated as separate chips and connected via a Printed Circuit Board (PCB). That limited the number of available I/O ports ... » read more

Engineering For Next-Gen Memory Performance

When only a few electrons mean the difference between the ON and the OFF state, it’s difficult to manufacture [getkc id="22" kc_name="memory"] elements with consistent, reliable performance. This is the situation conventional capacitance-based memories face as critical dimensions drop to just a few nanometers. As a result, device designers are considering a wide range of alternative memory... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Dec. 17

Low-power tunneling transistor to enable high-performance devices To make fast and low-power computing devices possible for energy-constrained applications such as smart sensor networks, implantable medical electronics and ultra-mobile computing, a new type of transistor is needed. To this end, researchers at Penn State, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and specialty wafer fo... » read more

Getting Ready For 15nm

By David Lammers The trends towards vertical transistors, non-silicon channel materials, and resistive RAMs promise to hold center stage at the 2010 IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM), set to begin Dec. 6 in San Francisco, Calif. ( Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC, Hsinchu, Taiwan) will present a 22/20nm technology platform based on a FinFET arc... » read more