Ramtron Creates FM20L08 One Megabit, 3-Volt, Non-Volatile FRAM

3/30/2005 - Ramtron International Corporation (Nasdaq: RMTR), a leading developer and supplier of non-volatile ferroelectric random access memory (FRAM) products, has announced the availability of the FM20L08, a one-megabit (Mbit), 3-volt, non-volatile FRAM product in a 32-pin TSOP (thin small outline plastic) package. The FM20L08 is Ramtron’s highest-density FRAM memory to date and offers an unlimited number of read/write cycles. The product has been designed as a drop-in replacement for standard asynchronous static random access memories (SRAMs) and is targeted for systems that collect and store data where power levels can vary or power can be lost suddenly, such as set-top boxes, automotive telematics and industrial applications.

As a major enhancement to Ramtron’s existing parallel FRAM product line, the FM20L08 provides fully compatible SRAM timing with address transition detection (ATD), which allows users to change addresses while leaving the chip enable active. The FM20L08 responds to each address just like SRAM, greatly simplifying the design engineer’s task in using a nonvolatile RAM.

“The new ATD scheme greatly improves ease of use for design engineers using our parallel FRAM products,” said Mike Alwais, vice president, FRAM Products. “The FM20L08 drops directly into an SRAM design, allowing the easy replacement of undesirable battery-backed SRAM solutions. The product has a diverse target market, and we have seen significant customer interest in samples for end applications such as automotive telematics, set-top boxes, industrial controls, and utility metering.”

Ease of use was Ramtron’s goal in the design of the FM20L08 feature set. In addition to acting as a standard SRAM, the product includes an internal voltage monitor to lock-out low voltage access and protect stored data. The monitor continuously checks the VDD supply voltage and asserts an active-low signal to indicate that the memory is write-protected when VDD drops below a critical threshold. When the /LVL signal is low, the memory is protected against inadvertent access and data corruption. The FM20L08 also features software-controlled write protection. The memory array is divided into eight uniform blocks, each of which can be individually write-protected under software control with no change to hardware or pin-out. In order to provide a convenient interface to current high-performance microprocessors, the FM20L08 includes a high-speed page mode that allows a 4-byte burst read- or write-operation at much higher bus speeds than a conventional random access memory.

FRAM Product Benefits
All data written to the FRAM memory is immediately non-volatile, without the delays often associated with older non-volatile memory technologies. All FRAM products are non-volatile; allowing data to be retained after power is removed. FRAM provides non-volatile data retention comparable to that of other non-volatile memory technologies, while eliminating the reliability concerns, functional disadvantages and system design complexities of battery-backed SRAM (BBSRAM). In addition, FRAM’s fast write capability and unlimited write endurance make it superior to other types of non-volatile memory, such as electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM) or Flash.

FRAM is superior to BBSRAM in that there is no need for an on-board or external battery to back up data and is inherently highly reliable due to its monolithic form factor. The FM20L08 is a true surface-mount solution, with no rework steps required for battery attachment, and is highly resistant to negative voltage and undershoots that plague battery-backed SRAM.

Product Features
The FM20L08 is organized as a 128K x 8 non-volatile memory that reads and writes like a standard SRAM. Access time is 60ns. The high-speed page mode operation runs up to a bus speed of 33MHz for a 4-byte burst. There are no write delays or maximum write buffer sizes. The product operates on 3.3V and uses less operating current than standard SRAMs, which results in lower operating power. The FM20L08 is offered in both an industrial temperature range of -40°C to +85°C and a commercial temperature range of 0°C to +70°C. Cycle time for the commercial part is 150ns, while cycle time for the industrial version is 350ns.

Pricing and Availability
Samples of the FM20L08 are available immediately in 32-pin TSOP with prices starting at $13.65 in quantities of 10,000. The part will also be available in a “green” lead-free package.

About Ramtron
Ramtron International Corporation (NASDAQ: RMTR) is the leading supplier of non-volatile ferroelectric semiconductors including serial and parallel ferroelectric random access memory (FRAM) devices and Processor Companion devices that integrate a variety of commonly needed discrete analog and mixed-signal functions for processor-based systems. Ramtron’s patented FRAM technology allows devices to perform the functions of both RAM and non-volatile memory in a single chip. Its unique benefits are revolutionising memory-based designs in a variety of automotive, communications, computing, consumer, industrial control, medical and metering applications. Additionally, Ramtron works with various leading edge licensee and manufacturers to bring its technology to market. For more information visit www.ramtron.com

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