Magnetic memory faces uncertain future

 

Promising technology has fallen into 'trough of disillusionment'.

Promising technology has fallen into 'trough of disillusionment'.

The magnetoresistive Ram (MRam) introduced last week by Freescale Semiconductor will not be a viable competitor for other memory chips until at least 2010, according to analyst firm Gartner. 

MRam is about 1,000 times more expensive than rival memory technologies and requires support from a tier-one vendor such as Samsung, explained Richard Gordon, a principal analyst covering semiconductors at Gartner.

"Although MRam has the potential to be a 'blockbuster' product, Gartner believes it could just as easily remain a niche technology satisfying the needs of applications that can justify the price premium for high-speed, high-endurance and non-volatile memory," Gordon wrote in an analysis.

"Freescale's device is priced at US$25, making it 1,000 times more expensive per megabyte than Nand Flash. At this price, the mass-market adoption of MRam is years away."

Gordon also pointed out that competing technologies have continued to evolve. Mobile phones, for instance, can now benefit from multichip packaged memory components where memory modules are packaged together with a processor.

MRam was a promising technology in 2004, said the analyst, but has "fallen into the trough of disillusionment".

Freescale revealed last week that it had started volume production of the world's first MRam.

The memory chips combine the speed of traditional Ram with the magnetic storage capability of a hard drive, allowing it to retain data when power is switched off.

Freescale claims that MRam will enable the development of new classes of electronic devices by allowing smaller form factors, lower cost, lower power consumption and enhanced system performance.

Copyright ©v3.co.uk


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