The recent agreement between IBM Corp. and Infineon Technologies AG to develop magnetic memory-technology has reconfirmed the faith that the IC industry has in magnetic RAM, with commercialization seen in just three to four years. MRAM promises a low-power, nonvolatile replacement for flash memory, DRAM, and SRAM, even if it is more expensive initially. Eventually, many believe, it will replace other memory technologies completely because MRAM will be faster, with higher densities, operating with far less power with almost infinite life spans.
Honeywell Inc. and Motorola Inc. are working toward volume MRAM production through a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency contract. DRAM makers Micron, NEC, and Samsung are also believed to be working on MRAM and Hewlett-Packard is investigating chip-level magnetic storage. It is believed the first MRAM chips will reach market at 256 Mbits.
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