Today’s memory technology gives designers so many choices, and so many tradeoffs. That’s the good news and the bad news, and it’s only going to get more difficult, as new technologies move to market.
That was the message of a keynote address at the Embedded Systems Conference delivered by Jeff Bader, Director of Marketing for the Embedded Business Group of Numonyx (formed in March 2008 by STMicroelectronics, Intel, and Francisco Partners).
Bader said that today’s memory situation parallels the history of TV. At first, your choice was simple: to get a TV or not; a few years later, it was just color or black and white; and now, what an array of choices. Similarly, in those old days, the memory-choice options were primarily size, voltage, and boot block configuration; now there’s NAND, NOR (in various flavors) and, coming on soon, phase change memory (PCM), ferroelectric RAM (FRAM), and magnetic RAM (MRAM). Add to this serial or parallel interface, package choices, and other options, and it’s a designer’s wonderland and also headache.