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IBM Unveils World's Fastest On-Chip Dynamic Memory Technology

Breakthrough System-on-a-Chip Design Speeds Multi-Core, Graphics, and Networking Performance While Reducing Energy

San Francisco, Calif - 14 Feb 2007: In papers presented at the International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) today, IBM revealed a first-of-its-kind, on-chip memory technology that features the fastest access times ever recorded in eDRAM (embedded dynamic random access memory).

This new technology, designed using IBM’s Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) for high-performance at low power, vastly improves microprocessor performance in multi-core designs and speeds the movement of graphics in gaming, networking, and other image intensive, multi-media applications.

The technology is expected to be a key feature of IBM’s 45nm (nanometer) microprocessor roadmap and will become available beginning in 2008.

IBM’s new eDRAM technology, designed in stress-enabled 65nm SOI using deep trench, dramatically improves on-processor memory performance in about one-third the space with one-fifth the standby power of conventional SRAM (static random access memory).

“With this breakthrough solution to the processor/memory gap, IBM is effectively doubling microprocessor performance beyond what classical scaling alone can achieve,” said Dr. Subramanian Iyer, Distinguished Engineer and director of 45 nm technology development at IBM. “As semiconductor components have reached the atomic scale, design innovation at the chip-level has replaced materials science as a key factor in continuing Moore’s Law. Today’s announcement further demonstrates IBM’s leadership in this critical area of microprocessor design innovation.”

IBM innovations in microelectronics and the company's groundbreaking system-on-a-chip designs have transformed the world of semiconductors. IBM breakthroughs include High-k, which enhances the transistor’s function while allowing it to be shrunk beyond today's limits, dual-core and multi-core microprocessors, copper on-chip wiring, silicon-on-insulator and silicon germanium transistors, strained silicon, and eFUSE, a technology that enables computer chips to automatically respond to changing conditions. The White House has awarded IBM the National Medal of Technology, the nation's highest technical honor, for 40 years of innovation in semiconductors.

IBM chips are the heart of the company's server and storage systems, the world's fastest supercomputers and many of the best-known and widely used communications and consumer electronics brands.

eDRAM Specifications 

Among the specifications of IBM’s high-performance eDRAM technology:

cell size: 0.126 mm2

Power supply: 1 V

availability: 98.7%

Tile: 1K RowX16 Col X146 (2Mb)

AC power: 76 mW

standby keep alive Power: 42 mW

Random cycle time: 2ns

Latency: 1.5ns

Contact(s) information

Glen Brandow
IBM Media Relations
914.766.4615
brandow@us.ibm.com

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Subramanian Iyer, IBM Systems and Technology Group, Global Engineering Solutions, Distinguished Engineer, Director 45nm technology development

IBM Test Technician Curtis Babbie holds a tray of microprocessors.

Magnificent Memory -- IBM announced a major breakthrough in microchip design that will more than triple the amount of memory contained on a single high-end chip. With the advent of multi-core chips, memory has become an increasingly critical aspect of microprocessor performance. This prototype eDRAM, or Embedded Dynamic Random Access Memory chip, contains over 12 million bits and high-performance logic. It will be available in IBM products beginning next year.

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