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  Date: 08/03/2015

Non volatile STT-MRAM circuit for SoCs developed by Toshiba

Toshiba has developed a spin-transfer torque magnetoresistive random-access memory (STT-MRAM) circuit for use in latest processors and system-on-a-chip (SoC) integrated circuits, implementing a 1-Mb class of new magnetic materials. The newly developed memory circuit allows low-power, high-efficiency, high-speed performance in energy-efficient magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ) memory.

The proposed memory circuit provides speed performance capable of 3.3-ns access to in-cache memory. The circuit furthermore consumes approximately 80% less power than conventional static RAM (SRAM) as embedded memory. Details of the proposed technology were presented on February 24 at the 2015 International Solid-state Circuits Conference in San Francisco.

To solve the power consumption in peripheral memory control circuits and to make memory control circuit components nearly normally-off, Toshiba designed a circuit for sub-100-ns high-speed power shutoff and restoration and confirmed its operation.

Toshiba explains "Specifically, to reduce the time for power restoration after shutoff, we divide power shutoff into seven regions, provide power switches for each region, and then allow power shutoff for regions other than those involved in memory operations. In measured values for the main operational mode, the best time for power restoration was confirmed as 22 ns following power shutoff, which is shorter than the approximately 30 ns average wait time for cache memory access. Furthermore, many innovations further reduce needless power consumption during reads and writes. The technologies described above have resulted in an approximately 80% reduction in power consumption, as compared to conventional embedded SRAM."

Toshiba said it will continue to improve the developed magnetic memory elements and circuits, with the aim of developing, by project end (fiscal 2015), nonvolatile memory technologies that reduce overall processor power consumption to less than one-tenth that of conventional circuits.

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