Innovative Silicon (ISi) and Hynix announced yesterday that they will both working on an agreement to license its Z-RAM memory technology to be implemented on Hynix future memory product lines. The collaboration effort will be able to benefit Hynix with Z-RAM technology integrated to its DRAM manufacturing lines. Similar license was first granted to AMD since end of 2005 for its microprocessor product lines development.
Z-RAM, or sometimes known as “zero capacitor RAM” is a low cost memory technology that has advantages over current DRAM or SRAM technology in terms density and speed. Z-RAM memory uses capacitance stored in the floating body effect of the SOI wafer itself, which eliminates the extra capacitors needed. With only single transistor bitcell (without additional capacitors), the electronics density can be increased as compared to DRAM and SRAM. This helps to shrink its size five times more as compared to SRAM and two times for DRAM theoretically. While lowering the cost and increasing the density, the latency can be improved as well due to the smaller package size and short trace length.
One of the real applications with advantages of using Z-RAM technology is the on-chip cache memory for the microprocessor. With the increase size and faster speed of the cache, the overall CPU performance can be improved significantly. Initially Hynix may experience huge investment and process trade-off just to fine tune its design and manufacturing process, but the Korean DRAM memory maker should expect long term gain after transitioning over to this new technology.