Feeds

Hitachi GST SVP takes a punt on STT-RAM

Joins Grandis

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The general manager and VP of Engineering at Hitachi GST has left to join a NAND and DRAM replacement technology company, Grandis. That seems like a risky move.

Said GM and VP Mohamad Krounbi is joining Grandis to be its SVP for engineering, taking on responsibility for "all STT-RAM technology and product development at Grandis and for ensuring that the company's licensees incorporate the best technology and processes as they bring their STT-RAM products to market."

What is STT-RAM? It is Spin Transfer Torque Random Access Memory (or magneto-resistive random access memory - MRAM) and is positioned as a technology that can move down to smaller process sizes than NAND, and combine its non-volatility with the speed of DRAM. The idea is to have a spin-polarised current in a tunnel magneto resistance element. Normally an electric current is not polarised as half its electrons are classed as spin-up and half as spin-down. This can be changed by passing a current through a thick magnetic layer such that it has more spin-up electrons than spin-down or vice-versa.

The next step is to have this spin-polarised current transfer its spin characteristic to a magnetic element from which the direction of magnetism signifies a binary one or zero.

Hynix was making approving noises about STT-RAM, as a NAND flash successor, in 2008. It signed an STT-RAM license agreement with Grandis in April of that year.

At that time Sung Wook Park, Head of the R&D Division at Hynix, said: “Grandis is leading in STT-RAM technology and has a broad portfolio of fundamental patents in this area. Through this partnership with Grandis, we look forward to integrating leading-edge STT-RAM technology into our semiconductor manufacturing processes and to a new era in memory capability at advanced technology nodes.”

Researchers at Hitachi and Tohoyu University demonstrated a 32Mbit STT-RAM device, which they called an SPRAM device, in 2009. The two have developed a 2-bit multi-level cell version of the technology. Hitachi has a roadmap to develop a 1Gbit chip by 2015.

Renesas of Japan, a company formed by Hitachi and Mitsubishi spinning off their chip businesses, is developing STT-RAM product, apparently using licensed technology from Grandis.

Fujitsu also has an internal STT-RAM development effort.

We could position STT-RAM as a candidate, along with Phase-Change Memory and HP's Memristor, for the NAND follow-on technology. The STT-RAM technology area looks solid and Grandis appears to be a key player, making Krounbi's move much less of a gamble than it first appears. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.