Everspin deal with Global Foundries may push MRAM chips to production faster

The deal is a step towards greater mass production of the new memory technology

Everspin has signed up chip maker Global Foundries as a manufacturing partner for its next-generation MRAM (Magnetoresistive RAM) memory chips, in a development that should help the promising technology move toward mass production.

MRAM is an emerging memory technology that offers the speed of fast memory technologies like SRAM and can hold its contents for long periods like flash memory. This best-of-both-worlds ability has some in the memory chip industry excited about future use of the technology, but mass production is only just beginning.

"New memory technology has the problem of getting entry into the market and getting credibility," said Phill LoPresti, president and CEO of Everspin. "With our research and development, we're getting access to finer [production technology] and that will help us accelerate deployment [of MRAM]."

Under the deal, the value of which was not announced, Global Foundries will invest in production technology to initially make ST-MRAM (Spin-Torque-MRAM) chips on 300-millimeter wafers on a 40-nanometer production line.

The nanometer measurement refers to the smallest feature that can be produced by the equipment and is an indication of the sophistication of the manufacturing line. While starting at 40 nm, the MRAM manufacturing deal already has a plan to switch to a 28-nm line, which will result in smaller and more power-efficient chips.

The chip maker has also taken a financial stake in Everspin.

Everspin chips can already be found inside several commercial products including battery backup devices, that require fast memory that can hold data in the event of a power failure, and as cache memory inside storage devices. The company says it has shipped over 40 million chips to date.

Everspin was created in 2008 when it was spun out of Freescale, and Global Foundries was born a year later when AMD divested its manufacturing arm. Global Foundries acquired Chartered Semiconductor later the same year and last week announced plans to buy IBM's semiconductor business.

Everspin is not the only company pursuing MRAM development.

Earlier this month, TDK showed off some of its first work in MRAM development. It has been working on MRAM for several years, but has yet to begin commercial production. The prototypes shown in Tokyo were 8-megabit chips, and were demonstrated reading and writing data at about seven times faster than flash memory.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags business issuesGlobal FoundriesEverspinComponentsinvestmentsmemory

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?