Z-RAM Ultra-Dense Memories Remove Last Barrier to Entry for SOI

ISi’s memory technology helps designers achieve speed increases and power savings at no extra cost.

It is well-accepted that SOI processing offers significant benefits in terms of speed and low power. Moreover, as the industry moves to the 65 and 45nm nodes, many analysts predict that bulk CMOS – so long the technology of choice – will be unable to scale due to inherent issues such as leakage, forcing system-on-a-chip (SoC) and microprocessor manufacturers to shift to SOI. Taking these factors into account, Gartner-Dataquest predicts a CAGR of 41.2 percent for SOI wafers between 2002 and 2008, and many leading companies such as AMD are already delivering chips built on SOI technology.

One of the last remaining impediments preventing companies from adopting SOI is cost. However, with the introduction of Z-RAM (Zero Capacitor DRAM) memory technology by Innovative Silicon Inc. (ISi), this last barrier is removed. Z-RAM memories are so dense – up to twice the density of existing embedded DRAM and five times denser than current embedded SRAM – that the typical processed wafer cost penalties of 8 to 15 percent that are usually associated with SOI are more than offset by the financial savings that can be realized by smaller die sizes.

SOI is already a great choice, and when used in combination with ISi’s Z-RAM memory IP, not only can designers achieve speed and power improvements, but they can save money, too. Depending on how much memory is put on-chip, the die cost of SOI + Z-RAM will be 10%-40% cheaper than the same chip designed in bulk CMOS.

By removing the cost obstacle, Z-RAM is enabling SOI to move deeper into the mainstream.

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