Samsung's will talk more vertical NAND at this year's event.
4. Expect the ongoing discussions about next-generation memory technologies to be a thread weaving through many talks and panels and a few demos on the show floor. The chips are expected to merge aspects of DRAM and flash, enabling all sorts of new applications. But just which technologies will be ready when and which will survive is still anybody's guess.
Niebel of Web-Feet gave a laundry list of the latest wrinkles:
Crossbar has already released their update on RRAM and its progress, but they will be releasing more. Sony-Micron will update on their joint project on CBRAM that is supposed to be available late 2015 at 16Gbit, so they need to show progress in silicon. Contour Semiconductor will be showing their PCM at 4Gbit that uses only 12 layers instead of more than 40 with NAND. Avalanche is going to release something on their STT-MRAM that is being built on 300mm wafers, hopefully in real silicon. Everspin should show volume production on their 64Mbit STT-MRAM or they are going to fall behind.
Each contender has its set of promising attributes and challenges:
Contour has the technology but lacks a funding/fab partner to shrink the process down to 20nm. Sony/Micron is still developing the technology, has the funding and maybe the tools, but needs to show the Gbit CBRAM in silicon. Crossbar is developing the technology while trying to attract a funding/fab partner. What tools need to be developed is unknown nor when they will have Gbit silicon. Avalanche is waiting on tools or not but needs to show some working silicon.
It's not easy inventing a next-gen hybrid memory. Niebel outlines his criteria the winner will have to meet:
Producing silicon at Gbit densities for proof of concept is the first criteria. Then being able to shrink the process lithography to production mode i.e. 2xnm range is the next step to proving the viability. Being able to produce at least 10,000 wafers with acceptable yields is the next step. This implies a well-funded partner or company is able to carry all the developmental costs.
Next page: Hybrid cards and sockets