Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. announced Monday (Sept. 11) it has completed the industry’s first fully working prototype of a 512-Mbit Phase-change Random Access Memory (PRAM). The PRAM features the fast processing speed of RAM for its operating functions combined with the nonvolatile features of flash memory for storage, giving it the nickname of “Perfect RAM”. PRAM can rewrite data without having to first erase data previously accumulated, it is effectively 30-times faster than conventional flash memory. It is also expected to have at least 10-times the endurance of the conventional flash memory. Samsung is targeting 2008 to launch it commercially. PRAM’s cell size is only half the size of NOR flash memory. In addition, its PRAM requires 20 percent fewer process steps than those for the manufacturing of NOR flash, making it cheaper to produce.
Business analysis of PRAM versus NOR and NAND Samsung’s dominant NAND flash position is why it is only pushing PRAM for NOR flash.