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Friday, January 20, 2006
AMD Interested in Z-RAM Memory Technology

AMD has reportedly signed a technology license for "floating-body" silicon-on-insulator (SOI) memory developed by Innovative Silicon Inc. AMD said it is interested in the Z-RAM technology, a capacitor-less DRAM alternative, for use in its microprocessors.

AMD is currently using SRAM memory for CPU cache in its processors. The Z-RAM (zero capacitor) memory design technology can be applied and produced on silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers, an area where AMD has already gained expertise for more that a year now.

Innovative Silicon claims that the Z-RAM, a Zero Capacitor DRAM, is capable of achieving twice the memory density of existing embedded DRAM technology and five times that of SRAM, yet requires no special materials or an extra mask/process step.

It could also provide a means to help AMD put distance between itself and PC processor rival Intel Corp. which, so far, has said it does not see a need to go to SOI technology. AMD's licensing of Z-RAM could also have implications for IBM and Chartered Semiconductor, with which AMD is aligned.

The increase in density offered by the Z-RAM embedded memory can enable much larger on-chip microprocessor cache memories resulting in improved performance and reduced I/O power consumption.

In an interview with EETimes.com, AMD spoksmen declined to say how quickly AMD could deploy the technology. AMD is currently focused only on the microprocessor application for Z-RAM.

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