Business, Enterprise, Hardware

Elpida Announces Resistance RAM Prototype: End of Road for DRAM & NAND Flash?

Elpida Memory, Inc. announced the development of its first high-speed non-volatile resistive memory [ReRAM] prototype. For some reason, Elpida used "Resistance RAM" instead of "Resistive RAM" but we believe it is a matter of creative interpretation by the Japanese translator. The prototype was fabricated using 50nm process technology and consists of a 64 Megabit array making it one the highest density prototype reported thus far.

President and CEO of Elpida, Yukio Sakamoto. Photo: Maurice Tsai / Bloomberg.

President and CEO of Elpida, Yukio Sakamoto (photo Maurice Tsai /  Bloomberg).

The prototype was jointly developed with the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), a Japanese-funded public institution. Further work on ReRAM development is being conducted with Sharp Corporation, the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST] and the University of Tokyo.

Elpida sees Resistive/Resistance Memory as a replacement for DRAM and NAND Flash in smart phones, tablets and ultrathin notebooks and is preparing a production release of a new class of Gigabit memory devices based on the technology beginning in 2013 using a 30nm process technology. Elpida stated that the memory has an access time of 10ns and a write durability of 1 million writes which is several orders of magnitude better than typical NAND lash. 

Toshiba is working on a new type of flash memory with a layered structure, while Samsung Electronics is developing ReRAM, PRAM or phase-change random access memory and magneto-resistive random access memory or MRAM chips, the Nikkei said.

Hynix previously announced their plan to release their version of ReRAM in Q2 2013 though they?re basing their initial entry toward NAND-Flash replacement [as reported earlier by BSN*]. Elpida is much more aggressive than that.

Micron Technology, rumored to be looking at ReRAM, has invested in Unity Semiconductor to gain Intellectual Property covenants.

Elpida Memory, Inc. 64 Megabit prototype ReRAM
Elpida Memory, Inc. 64 Megabit prototype ReRAM

BSN* Take
The race to market for Resistance/Resistive RAM is now on. Many memory market analysts met Hynixs’ earlier announcement with skepticism. Entry of Elpida now puts that skepticism to rest and directs attention to the remaining manufacturers caught with their pants down in maintaining a leadership position in memory R&D.
BSN* plans a follow on story on the affects ReRAM technology deployment will have on the memory market. A hint: "It changes everything"