|Computer memory types|
|Early stage NVRAM|
Z-RAM is a tradename of a now-obsolete dynamic random-access memory technology that did not require a capacitor to maintain its state. Z-RAM was developed between 2002 and 2010 by a now-defunctcompany named Innovative Silicon.
Z-RAM relies on the floating body effect,an artifact of the silicon on insulator (SOI) process which places transistors in isolated tubs (the transistor body voltages "float" with respect to the wafer substrate beneath the tubs). The floating body effect causes a variable capacitance to appear between the bottom of the tub and the underlying substrate. The floating body effect is usually a parasitic effect that bedevils circuit designs, but also allows a DRAM-like cell to be built without adding a separate capacitor, the floating body effect then taking the place of the conventional capacitor. Because the capacitor is located under the transistor (instead of adjacent to, or above the transistor as in conventional DRAMs), another connotation of the name "Z-RAM" is that it extends in the negative z-direction.
Theoretically, a reduced cell size would have allowed denser storage, which in turn could (when used with large blocks) have improved access times by reducing the physical distance that data would have to travel to exit a block.For a large cache memory (as typically found in a high-performance microprocessor), Z-RAM would then have been potentially as fast as the SRAM used for conventional on-processor (L1/L2) caches, but with lower surface area (and thus cost). However, with advances in manufacturing techniques for conventional SRAM (most importantly, the transition to 32nm fabrication node), Z-RAM lost its size advantage.
Although AMD licensed the second generation Z-RAM in 2006,the processor manufacturer abandoned its Z-RAM plans in January 2010. Similarly, DRAM producer Hynix had also licensed Z-RAM for use in DRAM chips in 2007, and Innovative Silicon announced it was jointly developing a non-SOI version of Z-RAM that could be manufactured on lower cost bulk CMOS technology in March 2010, but Innovative Silicon closed on June 29, 2010. Its patent portfolio was acquired by Micron Technology in December 2010.
In computing, memory refers to a device that is used to store information for immediate use in a computer or related computer hardware device. It typically refers to semiconductor memory, specifically metal–oxide–semiconductor (MOS) memory, where data is stored within MOS memory cells on a silicon integrated circuit chip. The term "memory" is often synonymous with the term "primary storage". Computer memory operates at a high speed, for example random-access memory (RAM), as a distinction from storage that provides slow-to-access information but offers higher capacities. If needed, contents of the computer memory can be transferred to secondary storage; a very common way of doing this is through a memory management technique called "virtual memory". An archaic synonym for memory is store.
Static random-access memory is a type of semiconductor random-access memory (RAM) that uses bistable latching circuitry (flip-flop) to store each bit. SRAM exhibits data remanence, but it is still volatile in the conventional sense that data is eventually lost when the memory is not powered.
Dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) is a type of random access semiconductor memory that stores each bit of data in a memory cell consisting of a tiny capacitor and a transistor, both typically based on metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS) technology. The capacitor can either be charged or discharged; these two states are taken to represent the two values of a bit, conventionally called 0 and 1. The electric charge on the capacitors slowly leaks off, so without intervention the data on the chip would soon be lost. To prevent this, DRAM requires an external memory refresh circuit which periodically rewrites the data in the capacitors, restoring them to their original charge. This refresh process is the defining characteristic of dynamic random-access memory, in contrast to static random-access memory (SRAM) which does not require data to be refreshed. Unlike flash memory, DRAM is volatile memory, since it loses its data quickly when power is removed. However, DRAM does exhibit limited data remanence.
Non-volatile random-access memory (NVRAM) is random-access memory that retains data without applied power. This is in contrast to dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) and static random-access memory (SRAM), which both maintain data only for as long as power is applied, or such forms of memory as magnetic tape, which cannot be randomly accessed but which retains data indefinitely without electric power.
Magnetoresistive random-access memory (MRAM) is a type of non-volatile random-access memory which stores data in magnetic domains. Developed in the mid-1980s, proponents have argued that magnetoresistive RAM will eventually surpass competing technologies to become a dominant or even universal memory. Currently, other memory technologies such as flash RAM and DRAM have practical advantages that have so far kept MRAM in a niche role in the market. It is currently in production by Everspin Technologies, and other companies, including GlobalFoundries and Samsung, have announced in 2016 product plans. A recent, comprehensive review article on magnetoresistance and magnetic random access memories is available as an open access paper in Materials Today.
Nano-RAM is a proprietary computer memory technology from the company Nantero. It is a type of nonvolatile random access memory based on the position of carbon nanotubes deposited on a chip-like substrate. In theory, the small size of the nanotubes allows for very high density memories. Nantero also refers to it as NRAM.
Volatile memory, in contrast to non-volatile memory, is computer memory that requires power to maintain the stored information; it retains its contents while powered on but when the power is interrupted, the stored data is quickly lost.
Semiconductor memory is a digital electronic semiconductor device used for digital data storage, such as computer memory. It typically refers to MOS memory, where data is stored within metal–oxide–semiconductor (MOS) memory cells on a silicon integrated circuit memory chip. There are numerous different types using different semiconductor technologies. The two main types of random-access memory (RAM) are static RAM (SRAM), which uses several transistors per memory cell, and dynamic RAM (DRAM), which uses a single transistor and MOS capacitor per cell. Non-volatile memory uses floating-gate memory cells, which consist of a single transistor per cell.
1T-SRAM is a pseudo-static random-access memory (PSRAM) technology introduced by MoSys, Inc., which offers a high-density alternative to traditional static random access memory (SRAM) in embedded memory applications. Mosys uses a single-transistor storage cell like dynamic random access memory (DRAM), but surrounds the bit cell with control circuitry that makes the memory functionally equivalent to SRAM. 1T-SRAM has a standard single-cycle SRAM interface and appears to the surrounding logic just as an SRAM would.
Ferroelectric RAM is a random-access memory similar in construction to DRAM but using a ferroelectric layer instead of a dielectric layer to achieve non-volatility. FeRAM is one of a growing number of alternative non-volatile random-access memory technologies that offer the same functionality as flash memory.
The floating body effect is the effect of dependence of the body potential of a transistor realized by the silicon on insulator (SOI) technology on the history of its biasing and the carrier recombination processes. The transistor's body forms a capacitor against the insulated substrate. The charge accumulates on this capacitor and may cause adverse effects, for example, opening of parasitic transistors in the structure and causing off-state leakages, resulting in higher current consumption and in case of DRAM in loss of information from the memory cells. It also causes the history effect, the dependence of the threshold voltage of the transistor on its previous states. In analog devices, the floating body effect is known as the kink effect.
The 32 nm node is the step following the 45 nm process in CMOS (MOSFET) semiconductor device fabrication. "32-nanometre" refers to the average half-pitch of a memory cell at this technology level. Toshiba produced commercial 32 GiB NAND flash memory chips with the 32 nm process in 2009. Intel and AMD produced commercial microchips using the 32-nanometre process in the early 2010s. IBM and the Common Platform also developed a 32 nm high-κ metal gate process. Intel began selling its first 32 nm processors using the Westmere architecture on 7 January 2010.
The transistor count is the number of transistors on an integrated circuit (IC). It typically refers to the number of MOSFETs on an IC chip, as all modern ICs use MOSFETs. It is the most common measure of IC complexity. The rate at which MOS transistor counts have increased generally follows Moore's law, which observed that the transistor count doubles approximately every two years.
The 22 nm node is the process step following the 32 nm in MOSFET (CMOS) semiconductor device fabrication. The typical half-pitch for a memory cell using the process is around 22 nm. It was first demonstrated by semiconductor companies for use in RAM memory in 2008. In 2010, Toshiba began shipping 24 nm flash memory chips, and Samsung Electronics began mass-producing 20 nm flash memory chips. The first consumer-level CPU deliveries using a 22 nm process started in April 2012.
Random-access memory is a form of computer memory that can be read and changed in any order, typically used to store working data and machine code. A random-access memory device allows data items to be read or written in almost the same amount of time irrespective of the physical location of data inside the memory. In contrast, with other direct-access data storage media such as hard disks, CD-RWs, DVD-RWs and the older magnetic tapes and drum memory, the time required to read and write data items varies significantly depending on their physical locations on the recording medium, due to mechanical limitations such as media rotation speeds and arm movement.
Advanced-Random Access Memory (RAM) is a type of dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) based on single-transistor capacitor-less cells. A-RAM was invented in 2009 at the University of Granada (UGR), in Spain, in collaboration with the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), in France. It was conceived by Noel Rodriguez (UGR), Francisco Gamiz (UGR) and Sorin Cristoloveanu (CNRS). A-RAM is compatible with single-gate silicon on insulator (SOI), double-gate, FinFETs and multiple-gate field-effect transistors (MuFETs).
Thyristor RAM (T-RAM) is a new (2009) type of random-access memory invented and developed by T-RAM Semiconductor, which departs from the usual designs of memory cells, combining the strengths of the DRAM and SRAM: high density and high speed. This technology, which exploits the electrical property known as negative differential resistance and is called thin capacitively-coupled thyristor, is used to create memory cells capable of very high packing densities. Due to this, the memory is highly scalable, and already has a storage density that is several times higher than found in conventional six-transistor SRAM memory. It was expected that the next generation of T-RAM memory will have the same density as DRAM.
The memory cell is the fundamental building block of computer memory. The memory cell is an electronic circuit that stores one bit of binary information and it must be set to store a logic 1 and reset to store a logic 0. Its value is maintained/stored until it is changed by the set/reset process. The value in the memory cell can be accessed by reading it.
High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) is a high-performance RAM interface for 3D-stacked SDRAM from Samsung, AMD and SK Hynix. It is used in conjunction with high-performance graphics accelerators, network devices and in some supercomputers. The first HBM memory chip was produced by SK Hynix in 2013, and the first devices to use HBM were the AMD Fiji GPUs in 2015.