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HBM Takes On A Much Bigger Role


High-bandwidth memory is getting faster and showing up in more designs, but this stacked DRAM technology may play a much bigger role as a gateway for both chiplet-based SoCs and true 3D designs. HBM increasingly is being viewed as a way of pushing heterogenous distributed processing to a completely different level. Once viewed as an expensive technology that only could be utilized in the hig... » read more

Domain-Specific Memory


Domain-specific computing may be all the rage, but it is avoiding the real problem. The bigger concern is the memories that throttle processor performance, consume more power, and take up the most chip area. Memories need to break free from the rigid structures preferred by existing software. When algorithms and memory are designed together, improvements in performance are significant and pr... » read more

MRAM Evolves In Multiple Directions


Magnetoresistive RAM (MRAM) is one of several new non-volatile memory technologies targeting broad commercial availability, but designing MRAM into chips and systems isn't as simple as adding other types of memory. MRAM isn’t an all-things-for-all-applications technology. It needs to be tuned for its intended purpose. MRAMs targeting flash will not do as well targeting SRAMs, and vice vers... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Feb. 2


Capacitor-less DRAM At the recent 2020 International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM), Imec presented a paper on a novel capacitor-less DRAM cell architecture. DRAM is used for main memory in systems, and today’s most advanced devices are based on roughly 18nm to 15nm processes. The physical limit for DRAM is somewhere around 10nm. DRAM itself is based on a one-transistor, one-capacito... » read more

More Data, More Memory-Scaling Problems


Memories of all types are facing pressures as demands grow for greater capacity, lower cost, faster speeds, and lower power to handle the onslaught of new data being generated daily. Whether it's well-established memory types or novel approaches, continued work is required to keep scaling moving forward as our need for memory grows at an accelerating pace. “Data is the new economy of this ... » read more

Dealing With Sub-Threshold Variation


Chipmakers are pushing into sub-threshold operation in an effort to prolong battery life and reduce energy costs, adding a whole new set of challenges for design teams. While process and environmental variation long have been concerns for advanced silicon process nodes, most designs operate in the standard “super-threshold” regime. Sub-threshold designs, in contrast, have unique variatio... » read more

DRAM, 3D NAND Face New Challenges


It’s been a topsy-turvy period for the memory market, and it's not over. So far in 2020, demand has been slightly better than expected for the two main memory types — 3D NAND and DRAM. But now there is some uncertainty in the market amid a slowdown, inventory issues and an ongoing trade war. In addition, the 3D NAND market is moving toward a new technology generation, but some are enc... » read more

What Happened To Execute-in-Place?


Executing code directly from non-volatile memory, where it is stored, greatly simplifies compute architectures — especially for simple embedded devices like microcontrollers (MCUs). However, the divergence of memory and logic processes has made that nearly impossible today. The term “execute-in-place,” or ”XIP,” originated with the embedded NOR memory in MCUs that made XIP viable. ... » read more

Design And Measurement Requirements For Short Flow Test Arrays To Characterize Emerging Memories


Emerging non-volatile memories are becoming increasingly attractive for embedded and storage-class applications. Among the development challenges of Back-End integrated memory cells are long learning cycle and high wafer cost. We propose a short-flow based characterization of Memory Arrays using a Cross Point Array approach. A detail analysis of design requirements and testability confirms feas... » read more

Challenges In Stacking, Shrinking And Inspecting Next-Gen Chips


Rick Gottscho, CTO of Lam Research, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to discuss memory and equipment scaling, new market demands, and changes in manufacturing being driven by cost, new technologies, and the application of machine learning. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: We have a lot of different memory technologies coming to market. What's the impact of that? ... » read more

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