Fujitsu and Toshiba Announce Joint Development Agreement for FCRAM Next-Generation High-Speed Memories|
8 February, 1999
Tokyo, February 8, 1999---Fujitsu Limited and Toshiba Corporation today announced an agreement to jointly develop a next-generation high-speed memory device, called Fast Cycle RAM, or FCRAM, as part of the collaborative agreement signed between the two companies last December. FCRAM technology adopts a radically new memory architecture to achieve operating cycle times two to three times faster than conventional DRAMs.
Under the agreement, Fujitsu and Toshiba will jointly develop 64, 128, and 256 Megabit FCRAMs to be used as special-purpose memories for applications other than the main memory of PCs. Samples are expected to be shipped before the end of 1999.
Significant improvements have been made in DRAM performance in recent years, focusing on interface technology and aimed at speeding up data transfer to and from the logic IC that controls the DRAM. While taking advantage of these advances in interface speed, FCRAM technology has revolutionized the memory cell array operating scheme that has been used for the past twenty years. FCRAM thus represents a new type of memory chip, with circuit designs that allow operation at a cycle time two to three times faster than conventional memories while cutting power consumption in half.
Through their collective efforts in FCRAM, the two companies are aiming to reshape the DRAM industry. For years the industry has been structured so that development efforts focused on higher integration and cutting per-bit cost, as vendors supplied standardized products to their customers. In recent years, the advancement of the "information society" and the growing variety of information processing products have brought changes to the DRAM market in the form of increasing demand for customized products that can be used in specific areas of application.
In order to respond to these changes in the market environment, both companies will work closely with customers to plan, specify, and supply FCRAM products optimized for their intended field of application. FCRAMs are expected to be used where their speed advantage can be fully realized, for example, in graphics and information-related multimedia applications for consumer electronics, as buffer memory for printers and telecommunications-related products, and as main memory for high-performance information appliances. They are also ideal for commercial system products that experience frequent design changes, because the relatively simple FCRAM command set helps keep system design time short.
The collaboration agreement calls for the deployment of about 50 specialists from both companies at the Fujitsu research facility in Kawasaki, Japan. There, they will work together to develop FCRAM core and peripheral circuitry as well as design and evaluate products. By developing common specifications and interface circuitry, the two firms can maintain their capability to serve as second sources for one another. In addition, since both companies intend to manufacture the chips, a stable supply will be assured.
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