Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Spansion adds microcontroller to embedded memory chips


Spansion is adding a microcontroller to its non-volatile memory chip that combines multi-level NOR and NAND technology.
The MirrorBit Eclipse architecture combines multi-bit per cell NOR, NAND and flash memory on a single die. This will allow mobile phone handset makers to save up to 30 percent or more on their handset memory subsystems bill of materials costs, while giving them more flexibility in their designs.
This comes at a time when arch-rival Intel is looking to focus more on NAND mass storage (like that used in MP3 players) than NOR, where it dominates the market, particularly in mobile phone handsets.
The NOR interface of MirrorBit Eclipse gives program and data storage with XIP (execute-in- place), reducing the amount of DRAM in the system, while the ORNAND and 4 bit/cell Quad combination allows large amounts of multimedia content to be stored on the same die. It also integrates a programmable microcontroller, which replaces the conventional state machine typically used in Flash memory and also supports built-in self test (BIST).
The company expects first silicon in Q3, and plans to sample 65nm MirrorBit Eclipse solutions built from 300mm wafers at its SP1 facility later this year. Based on 2-bit per cell MirrorBit technology, these solutions will have the ability to run code at the high speed of traditional NOR. At 45nm, the solutions are planned to include both 2-bit per cell and 4-bit per cell storage, significantly increasing the density, and enabling the seamless combination of high- performance code storage with large blocks of multimedia storage capacity.
"The MirrorBit Eclipse architecture is the result of a multi-year strategy to leverage a single technology, MirrorBit, to develop a broad range of solutions including NOR, ORNAND and Quad solutions to meet customers' requirements. Now with the MirrorBit Eclipse architecture, we will bring together all three solutions on a single die to deliver a powerful combination not previously possible in the industry," said Bertrand Cambou, president and CEO of Spansion, the memory joint venture between AMD and Fujitsu. "MirrorBit Eclipse architecture's ease-of-use and compatibility with existing platforms can enable handset OEMs to rapidly bring to market innovative feature phones at the same or lower costs to hit industry standard price points."

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