Infineon unveils PDA SDRAM

Infineon Technologies (DAX/NYSE: IFX) today introduced a new DRAM product line for the strongly growing market of handheld devices. The “Mobile-RAM” family combines three important features specifically needed in handheld battery-powered applications such as very low power consumption, small form factor, and low cost per bit.

The Mobile-RAM is a low-power SDRAM mounted in a chip-size Ball-Grid-Array package (BGA). Initially based on the 128-Mbit DRAM density, this product fulfills the requirements of handheld applications such as Smart Phones, Personal Digital Assistants and palm-sized computers. The 8M x 16 organization of the first member of the Mobile-RAM family allows it to be used in 16-bit and 32-bit bus environments.

Power consumption of the Mobile-RAM is reduced by up to 80% depending on the operating conditions and system design. This power reduction is achieved by a reduced operating and I/O voltage, and other integrated power management techniques.

Standard SDRAMs operate at 3.3 volts, whereas the Mobile-RAM operates at 2.5 volts for the memory array and 1.8 volts (or 2.5V) for the I/O section. Power management features include provisions for a temperature compensation of the self-refresh rate and optional partial array select to restrict self-refresh to only a portion of the DRAM. Both features contribute greatly to minimize the power consumption of the device in the active and stand-by modes.

Compared to DRAMs mounted in the standard TSOP package, the form factor of the Mobile-RAM is reduced by more than a factor of three by using a Chip-Scale-Package (CSP) which is only marginally larger than the dimensions of the silicon chip. Infineon’s highly competitive die-sizes enable the company to offer the smallest CSP-packaged 128M devices in the industry. The footprint of the 128M device is 8mm x 9mm. The Fine-pitch Ball Grid Array (FBGA) used for the Mobile-RAM is based on Infineon’s proprietary wire-bonding Board-on-Chip technology (BOC) which combines the rigidity of the inexpensive lead-frame bonding techniques with the space-saving features of CSP.

Infineon works together with partners in the industry to achieve standardization of the low-power features and the 54-ball FBGA package of the Mobile-RAM in JEDEC (Joint Electron Device Engineering Council), the semiconductor engineering standardization body of the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA). After JEDEC standardization, a number of compatible parts are expected to become available in due course. With the alternative supply secured, the Mobile-RAM will be enabled to become a widely-used, high-volume DRAM.

“This new 128-Mbit device is the first product on our Mobile-RAM roadmap which will soon be extended to the 256-Mbit generation” said Heinrich Florian, Director of Product Marketing of Infineon’s Memory Product Division. “The Mobile-RAM is only one example of Infineon’s product offerings for the strongly growing memory demand in the information and communication market segment.” In addition to the Mobile-RAM, Infineon offers embedded solutions and is developing non-volatile memory technologies for this market like the ferroelectric RAM (FeRAM) and the Magnetic RAM (MRAM).

The world market for Personal Digital Assistants, the largest of the target markets for the Mobile-RAM, was around 10 million PDA units in 2000, and is projected by Dataquest to grow approximately 46 percent per year to reach 34 million units in 2004. High-end PDAs today come with up to 64 Mbytes of DRAM, but with software becoming more sophisticated and large numbers of applications becoming available at a quick pace, memory content per system is expected to grow above the industry average.

First samples of the 128-Mbit Mobile-RAM organized 8M x 16 will be available in Q2 2001. Volume production is expected to start later this year.

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