CAMBRIDGE, UK Memory manufacturer Macronix has announced what the company claims to be the world's first 256Mbit serial Flash product, based on an innovative 32-bit addressing scheme.
Serial Flash products are currently based on a 24-bit addressing protocol which caps the maximum density at 128Mbit. However, as manufacturers introduce complex and feature rich products, their memory requirements are changing and system designers are looking for densities greater than 128Mbit to store their code and/or applications.
The MX25L25635E uses a combination of 24-bit and 32-bit addressing to maintain backward compatibility. It powers up like a 128Mbit device in 24-bit mode and a user can switch to 32-bit addressing as needed. Using this method, a system designer will not have to completely rewrite the software.
The Macronix 256Mbit serial Flash product is targeted for feature rich applications that require higher storage space and performance, while maintaining the low pin count and overall system cost.
Some of these applications are networking systems, WiMax, set-top box, servers, high-end projectors, Digital TVs and similar products. Another key market is FPGAs, where a large amount of code needs to be downloaded from Flash.
The company quoted a research report from Web-Feet showing that although only about 1.1 million units are expected to ship in 2010, shippment of 256Mbit serial Flash could reach about 180 million units in 2015.
“Macronix has enhanced its leadership position in Serial Flash by being the first company to offer the highest density 256Mbit product in the market," said Alan Niebel, CEO and founder of Web-Feet Research. "The Serial Flash market is the fastest growing NOR Flash segment increasing from USD 645M in 2009 and with the addition of the 256Mbit Serial part it should reach USD 2,036M by 2014."
The device not only enhances memory density, but also offers high performance through Macronix Serial Multi-I/O (MXSMIO). The MX25L25635E supports single, dual, and quad I/O capability for higher throughput while maintaining the same package and pin numbers of traditional serial Flash.
This fast performance makes the 256Mbit device ideal for code and user data storage, and is capable of code XIP (execute-in-place) directly from Flash. The MX25L25635E comes in an industry standard 16-pin SOIC package and can reduce the overall system cost in many of today’s applications, like networking, set-top box, and servers.
Other features include 4 KB sectors, and 32 KB / 64 KB block for flexible software architecture, with a 60ms typical erase time for a 4K-byte sector.
It supports 256-bytes per page programming, with single-byte programming capability and a 1.4ms programming time for a 256-byte page.
Advanced datasheet are available from www.macronix.com