COMPONENTS, HARDWARE & INTERCONNECT
SIMTEK'S 4-MBIT PRODUCT FAMILY,
In some storage applications, loss of data simply can't be tolerated.
For those, Simtek Corp. has a solution. Its family of non-volatile memory products combines a 4-Mbit high-speed static random access memory (SRAM) array with a 4-Mbit EEPROM array to save data during loss-of-power situations. The company engineers say they foresee it being used in transaction processing, data logging and “instant-on” applications, as well as in portable medical equipment, military systems, copiers and a variety of other end products. “This is suited for any application where you get cut off from power and you have some scratchpad information or some critical data-log information and it must be there when you come back up,” says Grant Hulse, vice president of worldwide marketing for Simtek.
Consisting of the STK14EC8 and STK14EC16 nvSRAM products, the new family is targeted at applications above the cost-level of some consumer electronics devices, largely because it averages “a couple of dollars more” than FRAM and battery-backed SRAM, the company says.
During normal use, the products' read and write operations occur within SRAM. When loss of power is detected, the entire contents of the SRAM array are written to the EEPROM array in one 20-ms block transfer. An external capacitor supplies the power for that action.
Simtek engineers claim its nvSRAM products have the fastest access and cycle times of any non-volatile memory. Because it backs up the entire 4 Mbits of data in 20 ms, they say, the solution is several times faster than competing methods, which typically take hundreds of milliseconds for back-up.
Simtek engineers say they foresee it being employed in RAID (redundant array of independent disks) storage in small businesses, as well as in automated transfer lines, power plant instrument panels and factory floor systems.
“This is a high-quality product that's being used by non-consumer players,” Hulse says. “Anybody who absolutely needs to have best-in-class storage back-up is going to be willing to pay a couple of extra dollars for this to get it."