Flash technology goes extreme - Embedded.com

Flash technology goes extreme

Say goodbye to plain-Jane NOR flash which was recently made obsolete, according to Micron Technology. Its new XTRMFlash memory is super-fast at 3.2 gigabit per second and yet pin-compatible with serial NOR flash used today.

Micron's new XTRM (extreme) NOR Flash outperforms all other flash types except the largest NAND flash arrays (which are too slow for realtime instant-on applications).(Source: Micron, used with permission.)

Micron's new XTRM (extreme) NOR Flash outperforms all other flash types except the largest NAND flash arrays (which are too slow for realtime instant-on applications). (Source: Micron, used with permission.)

“The days of parallel flash are over,” Richard De Caro, director of NOR Flash for Micron's Embedded Business Unit, told EE Times in an exclusive interview. “Micron's new XTRMFlash will replace both parallel and serial flash over the next few years–except perhaps in some low-density applications.”

Micron will have a complete line from 128-megabits to 2-gigabits. The first model, a 512-megabit, is sampling now.

Micron already carries endorsements from Freescale and a half-dozen of the biggest chip makers today. The XTRMFlash models also dovetail with Databeans’ recent predictions that automotive semiconductors will jump from $28.5 billion this year to $40 billion by 2020, much of which will be dependent on NOR flash including GPS, satellite radio, vehicle-to-vehicle communications and infotainment systems.

Micron claims faster data transfers and lower latency than any other flash type.(Source: Micron, used with permission.)

Micron claims faster data transfers and lower latency than any other flash type. (Source: Micron, used with permission.)

XTRMFlash out-performs parallel-, serial- and Quad-SPI -NOR Flash, De Caro claimed, with as much as a 75% reduction in pin counts over current parallel NOR flash. The technology also has random access times as fast as 83 nanoseconds, sequential byte reads as fast as 2.5 nanoseconds, 400 megabytes per second memory (transfers faster than both serial and parallel Flash), and yet maintains compatibility with the Quad SPI flash pinout used in today's serial NOR flash. It runs in a completely pin-compatible mode, but with a few circuit board changes can achieve the specs quoted above. 

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