UMC and Elpida join forces for PRam

UMC and Elpida join forces for PRam

Elpida and UMC have joined forces to create next-generation phase-change random access memory (PRam) products in addition to new low-power DRam modules.

DRam maker Elpida is hoping to take advantage of UMC’s advanced copper low-k processes for better DRam modules, while both companies are hoping to push the acceptance of PRam technology.

PRam is seen as a future rival for Flash memory in the massive, non-volatile memory market. PRam’s key advantage is the ability to write data up to 30 times faster than Flash and, like Flash, still retain data when the device is powered down. It also has a potential life span 10 times that of most Flash memory products.

Takao Adachi, chief technology officer at Elpida, said: “This agreement with UMC is a significant step for memory development, as copper low-k technology will drive the production and continued process migration of high-performance DRams.

“UMC’s leading-edge technology together with our advanced DRam technology will enable us to provide our customers with DRams featuring high speeds, low power consumption and high density, while accelerating the commercialisation of PRams, an important next-generation technology.”

Shih Wei Sun, chief operating officer at UMC, added: “UMC is proud that Elpida, a leader in DRam technology, has selected UMC for this joint development effort. We are pleased by this recognition of the leadership of UMC’s advanced copper low-k technology specifically and of our CMOS logic technologies in general. We look forward to using the results of our collaboration to bring to market more advanced embedded memory SoC solutions in support of our foundry customers.”

Elpida and UMC are the latest companies to hop aboard the PRam bandwagon, as most of the big players are already developing their own PRam products. Samsung looks likely to be first to market while Hynix recently signed an alliance with Ovonyx. Others working on PRam offerings include Intel, Qimonda, IBM and STMicroelectronics.