Everspin rocks SRAM boat with 16-Mbit MRAM
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Continuing to gain momentum in the magnetoresistive random access memory (MRAM) market, Everspin Technologies Inc. is sampling its highest density product to date--a new 16-megabit device.
Everspin (Chandler, Ariz.)--a spin-off of Freescale Semiconductor Inc.--is positioning its 16-Mbit MRAM for the SRAM replacement, data retention and related markets. In industrial and related embedded applications, Everspin hopes to displace battery-backed SRAMs or associated discrete solutions--a move that threatens the likes of Cypress, ISSI, Maxim, STMicroelectronics, TI and others.
Many of the battery-backed SRAM or related discrete solutions ''are cheap, but not reliable,'' said Doug Mitchell, vice president of sales and marketing for Everspin. ''We're starting to get into a lot of these markets because of cost.''
MRAM is a memory that uses the magnetism of electron spin to provide non-volatility. Everspin claims its MRAMs store ''information in magnetic material integrated with silicon circuitry to deliver the speed of SRAM with the non-volatility of flash in a single unlimited-endurance device.''
As before, the company is not pushing its new or current MRAMs for the so-called universal memory market. In that segment, several next-generation memory makers, including those who are developing FRAM, MRAM, phase-change, and RRAM, hope to displace today's DRAMs and flash memories.
''None of those of those technologies will replace DRAM or NAND flash anytime soon,'' Mitchell said.
Instead of the universal memory market, Everspin is aiming its parts for applications that can take advantage of the non-volatility and high-reliability of MRAMs, he said.
For some time, Everspin has sold its MRAM products as ''drop-in replacements'' for SRAMs in various applications, such as aerospace, automotive, industrial, smart meter and even casino games, he said. One of its fastest growing markets is storage, especially the ''RAID write journal'' portion of a RAID system. In that market, OEMs tend to use non-volatile RAM or flash devices from the likes of Cypress and others.
''Everspin is taking a different approach than most alternative memory companies,'' said Jim Handy, an analyst with Objective-Analysis. Unlike most--if not all--of the universal memory hopefuls, Everspin ''is shipping products and established in certain markets. They are moving into smaller markets that take advantage of the attributes of MRAM.''
MRAMs have been in development since the 1990s, but many of the announcements have been hype at best. Several companies have tried but failed to commercialize MRAMs. Other companies are planning to enter the MRAM market, including Crocus Technology, Grandis, IBM-TDK, Samsung, Toshiba and Avalanche Technology.
MRAM has been a difficult technology to develop, make and scale. For example, Everspin's 16-Mbit part is a 180-nm technology; in comparison, the latest NAND flash devices from Intel Corp. and Micron Technology Inc. are 25-nm parts.