Ramtron's Serial 256Kb FRAM Targets Automotive and Metering Markets

8/26/2005 - Ramtron International Corporation (Nasdaq: RMTR), the leading supplier of nonvolatile ferroelectric semiconductor products, announced the availability of the FM25256, a 256-kilobit (Kb) nonvolatile ferroelectric random access memory (FRAM) product, with a serial peripheral interface (SPI), that is designed for wide voltage operation. Ramtron’s newest 256Kb serial FRAM is the highest-performance SPI memory available with 20-megahertz (MHz) NoDelayä writes and offers an unlimited number of read/write cycles. The product operates from 4.0 to 5.5 volts (V) and offers drop-in compatibility with industry-standard serial EEPROMs.

“The automotive electronics market is a predominant user of the SPI bus, and 5V applications are very common,” said Mike Alwais, vice president, FRAM Products, at Ramtron. The FM25256 is the fastest data collection and storage solution available to the automotive market.

The FM25256 is ideally suited to data collection applications in which power levels vary or can be lost suddenly. Its benefits are similar to Ramtron's previously announced FM25L256, which targeted 3V systems. The 20-MHz bus speed allows the fastest serial interface data collection on the market. The entire memory contents can be written in just over 13 milliseconds (ms).

While the FM25256 is suitable for a wide variety of data collection systems, one of its more important applications is the event data recorder (black box) for passenger cars. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that in 2004, 65% to 90% of U.S. automobiles will provide some form of crash recording. Newly proposed standards for the U.S. market are expected to significantly expand recorded data requirements for cars with crash recorders. The FM25256 provides a highly effective memory solution for this application.

Product Benefits
The FM25256 reads and writes at bus speeds comparable to those of a high-speed RAM, but provides nonvolatile storage like a conventional nonvolatile memory. However, unlike EEPROM or Flash, there are no write delays. Also, like high-speed RAM, the FM25256 supports practically unlimited numbers of read or write cycles, whereas EEPROM is exhausted after approximately one million cycles. These benefits allow the FM25256 to perform the functions of RAM and nonvolatile memory technologies in a single chip.

Product Features
The FM25256 is a wide-voltage-operation 256Kb nonvolatile RAM with an industry-standard SPI and is pin-compatible with comparable 8-pin EEPROM devices. The product operates from 4.0 to 5.5 volts, using lower operating power. Reads and writes are performed at bus speeds of up to 20MHz throughout the entire memory. There are no write delays or maximum write buffer sizes. The FM25256 is rated for -40°C to +85°C operation.

Pricing and Availability
Samples of the FM25256 are available immediately in 8-pin small outline plastic packages (SOIC), with prices starting at $3.84 for quantities of 10,000.

About Ramtron
Ramtron International Corporation (NASDAQ: RMTR) is the leading supplier of nonvolatile 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 nonvolatile memory in a single chip. Its unique benefits are revolutionizing memory-based designs in a variety of automotive, communications, computing, consumer, industrial control, medical, and metering applications. Additionally, Ramtron works with various leading-edge licensees and manufacturers to bring its technology to market.

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