HSINCHU, Taiwan -- Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. here today announced that its patented embedded flash technology is available in a 0.25-micron process. This will allow designers to achieve higher flash density and performance with lower power usage and costs, the company said. EmbFlash has previously been avaliable in 0.50- and 0.35-micron processes.
The technology is targted at system-on-chip (SoC) and system-level-integration (SLI) products that integrate memory, logic and analog functions in a single chip. Typical applications are those requiring high-density flash, particularly wireless communication products like cell phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs).
"SoC/SLI is an obvious trend in the IC industry, and EmbFlash has proved to be an excellent vehicle for enabling highly integrated designs," said Mike Pawlik, vice president of corporate marketing at TSMC, based in San Jose. "Our generations of expertise in the development of this technology, coupled with our extensive support services, will enable customers to design state-of-the-art SOC/SLI products with minimal effort and expense."
TSMC is positioning EmbFlash as an alternative to multi-chip module (MCM) solutions that integrate separate SRAM and flash dies in one package. Its Flash IP supports flash densities up to 32 megabits and SRAM IP supports densities up to 4 megabits.
"Compared to the MCM solutions used in the cellular phone, the EmbFlash solution can further improve the power, performance, and even cost," said Sam Chu, director of embedded non-volatile memory at TSMC in Hsinchu. "Our FlashIP set features combined density, configuration, and performance improvements that simply aren't available from stand-alone memory."
Compared to stand alone memory chips, EmbFlash saves at least 70% of power consumed by memory, Chu said, and can improve performance by expanding the data bus. And by combining logic and memory chips in one device, system space and cost can be substantially, and cellular vendors can concentrate on differentiating their products in performance and features.
Chu also emphasized that customers who use the EmbFlash solution can avoid the risk of flash or SRAM supply shortages and price fluctuations that typically occur in the memory market.
TSMC is accepting customer tape-outs for its 0.25-micron EmbFlash technology now. The company is also developing the next-generation, 0.18-micron EmbFlash technology, which is scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of 2000.