Hynix and Toshiba join MRAM-forces

Say it 10 times, fast!

Toshiba Corporation (TYO:6502) and Hynix Semiconductor Inc. (SEO:000660) have agreed to pool their efforts in the development of Spin-Transfer Torque Magnetoresistance Random Access Memory (MRAM) according to a joint press release.

MRAM is seen by many as being a viable candidate to replace both DRAM and NAND flash in unified memory architectures, but faces stiff competition from PCRAM – Phase Change Random Access Memory. The development of PCRAM is pursued by rival Micron.

The agreement between Hynix and Toshiba is about the development of MRAM products, but according to the press release the 2 companies also plan on joint manufacturing.

“MRAM is a rare gem full of exciting properties, like ultra-high-speed, low power consumption, and high capacity, and it will play the role of key factor in driving advances in memories. It will also be a perfect fit for growing consumer demand in more sophisticated smart phones. MRAM is our next growth platform,” said Oh Chul Kwon, CEO of Hynix, in a statement.

Compared to existing technologies MRAM is superior as it is both nonvolatile as well as supporting addressing of individual bits and not complete blocks as is the case when using NAND flash.

“We believe that MRAM has huge potential as highly scalable non-volatile RAM,” said Kiyoshi Kobayashi, Corporate Senior Vice President of Toshiba Corporation, and President and CEO of Toshiba’s Semiconductor and Storage Products Company. “We will strongly promote initiatives in integration of storage solutions including MRAM, NAND, and HDD. The MRAM joint development program with Hynix is one of the key steps to support our efforts.”

MRAMM is still way behind flash and DRAM when it comes to capacity and density, but is believed to scale much better – and much faster.  Current MRAM chips have a capacity around 16Mbit whereas cutting edge flash chips boast a capacity of 64Gbit.S|A

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