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Infineon unveils PDA SDRAM

Eats less power, is more compact than standard SDRAM

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Infineon has launched a mobile-oriented SDRAM technology designed to provide "very low power consumption, small form factor and low cost per bit" to suppliers of palmtops and cellphones.

Dubbed Mobile-RAM, the new chips offer 128Mb (16MB) of capacity in 8Mb x 16 configuration making it suitable for 16-bit and 32-bit operating systems, which makes it suitable, interestingly enough, for Palm's current OS as well as more advanced offerings, such as EPOC 32. Infineon said its MRAM family will soon be extended to 256Mb.

The 128Mb chip measures just 8mm x 9mm, more than three times smaller than regular 128Mb SDRAM.

MRAM operates at 2.5V - 2.5V for the memory array and 1.8-2.5V for the I/O controller - rather less than desktop SDRAM's 3.3V. Infineon has also thrown some power saving technology into the mix, such as the ability to switch off the self-refresh feature o individual chunks of memory. The upshot, the company reckons, is a power consumption reduction of up to 80 per cent.

Of course, achieving that will require some clever hardware design to ensure the PDA, smartphone or whatever can take advantage of the features. They'll have to wait until Q2 to get samples of Infineon's chips, however. Volume production isn't due to kick in until "later this year", according to the company. Presumably it will discuss pricing then - it didn't today.

That said, it should be followed by compatible products from other memory makers fairly quickly. Infineon has submitted its MRAM spec. to JEDEC (Joint Electron Device Engineering Council) with the expectation that the technology will be declared a standard. ®

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