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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

JEDEC’s xSPI standard boosts execute-in-place memories

By Nick Flaherty at

Low power memory maker Adesto Technologies has used the latest JEDEC xSPI standard for a new family of eXecute-in-Place (XiP) non-volatile memories (NVM).

The xSPI standard establishes mechanical, electrical and transactional guidelines for developing high-throughput octal devices, such as Adesto’s EcoXiP product, and provides users with assurance of controller compatibility with peripheral devices.

“Divergent products with different solutions to speed communication between the host controller and memory can confuse controller designers as to which direction to follow,” said Gideon Intrater, CTO at Adesto. “This new standard will provide customers, including system developers and controller designers with assured compatibility. This milestone is key to faster and broader deployment of EcoXiP platform and provides the opportunity for new designs to move forward.”

 A growing number of products targeting the internet of things such as Wi-Fi and LTE communications modules, wearables, point-of-sale controllers and other embedded devices need more program memory than what can be implemented economically on-chip using embedded Flash or SRAM.  Together, projections for these devices total production in the hundreds of millions annually. Standalone DRAM devices are also not an attractive solution to be used as program memory in these applications due to standby power requirements and cost. Until now, to hit performance targets, system designers have been required to invest in memory solutions that are expensive, power-hungry and performance limiting.

The EcoXiP family is an eXecute-in Place memory that eliminates the need for on-chip embedded flash, while more than doubling processor performance, lowering system power consumption and reducing system cost compared to quad serial peripheral interface (SPI) devices.

The xSPI standard which was developed by a task force comprised of representatives from most NOR Flash device manufacturers and several PC and microcontroller companies, defines its primary applications as computing, automotive, Internet of Things (IoT), embedded systems and mobile systems.

“While many of our peers will target their devices to accelerate systems’ boot speed, EcoXiP not only provides this functionality, but also delivers the lowest power eXecute-in-Place performance,” said Intrater. “This virtually eliminates the need for on-board flash to store firmware.”

“Realtek’s ICs, such as our controllers for the digital home and Wi-Fi System-on-Chip devices, include a variety of solutions that offer high performance and ultra-low energy consumption,” said Scott Shen, Director, Communications Network, at Realtek. “With the adoption of JEDEC’s new xSPI standard, octal architectures are becoming very appealing to leverage improved SPI device communication. The combination of the octal xSPI interface and low power consumption makes Adesto’s EcoXiP an excellent XiP solution.”

Adesto is sampling a 32Mb device now, with a family of densities planned for the future.

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