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AMD Developes New Flex Bank Architecture
Date: Tuesday March 20, 2001
Category: Memory
Manufacturer Link: AMD Discus -- BBS
--High Density Flash Memory Device Delivers Greater Flexibility for Mobile Applications--

SUNNYVALE, CA--MARCH 20, 2001--AMD today introduced the Am29DL640, a 64-Mb Flash memory device featuring AMD's latest innovation, the Flex Bank architecture. Building on AMD's patented and award-winning Simultaneous Read/Write (SRW) technology, Flex Bank devices offer extremely flexible, easy-to-use and energy efficient high-density Flash memory solutions for mobile applications.

"Versatile, multifunctional devices such as cellular telephones, handheld organizers and automotive PCs, will increasingly require innovative and flexible Flash memory solutions," said Kevin Plouse, vice president of technical marketing and business development for AMD's Memory Group. "In anticipation of these demanding requirements, AMD has developed the Flex Bank architecture which allows designers to dynamically and effectively utilize memory and thereby help create superior products."

Simultaneous Read/Write technology allows users to read code from one bank while executing a program or erase function in another bank with zero bank switching latency. Current bank architectures limit the designer to only two fixed memory banks. AMD's latest innovation, the Flex Bank architecture, overcomes this limitation by extending the SRW capability to multi-bank devices. This enhanced ability represents a significant improvement since it allows users to program/erase a bank while reading from any of the other banks. AMD's Flex Bank architecture enables manufacturers to change code and data memory partitions in real-time allowing them to develop solutions that can be tailored to the end user's needs.

In a personal digital assistant (PDA), Flash memory stores and executes the operating system (OS). Simultaneously, the Flash memory allows a user to store data, download and execute other applications or update the OS. AMD's SRW architecture allows the user to read and execute the OS from one bank, while downloading (i.e., writing) an application into a second bank. With the Flex Bank architecture, the user can then execute the application while writing data into an address book, or saving cookies for a web session, in a third bank. The system can also download an updated version of the OS into yet another bank and then execute the OS from that bank. AMD's Flex Bank architecture offers designers an elegant and simple way to deliver a high degree of functionality using a single Flash memory device.

"While designers value the versatility and flexibility offered by multi-bank Flash, they need to have assurance that the device will operate no matter how they partition or use the memory," said Plouse. "Testing to ensure that the Flash will work under all possible read/write combinations is extremely challenging but absolutely necessary. AMD's rigorous and comprehensive testing processes allow customers to use the Flex Bank devices with complete confidence."

Features and Packaging The Am29DL640 has four memory banks, two 8-Mb and two 24-Mb banks, and features AMD's Zero Power Operation. This feature allows the device to put itself into "sleep" mode when it is inactive thereby limiting the current consumption to 0.2uA. The device is available in the TSOP (Thin Small Outline Package) and FBGA (Fine-pitch Ball Grid Array) packages and also includes the SecSiTM (secured silicon) Sector, which helps protect against unauthorized system cloning.

The Am29DL640 is supported by AMD's Data Management Software (DMS). AMD's DMS works with SRW Flash devices to make it easier for customers to store code and data in a single Flash device. DMS takes advantage of the device by storing the system software (including DMS) in one bank of the Flash, and storing data in the other bank so that users can take greater advantage of SRW functionality.

Applications In addition to meeting the needs of advanced automotive, portable, handheld and cellular devices, the flexibility of the Am29DL640 makes it an optimal solution for telecommunications, networking and set top boxes.

Price and Availability The Am29DL640 is available now in TSOP or FBGA packages and is priced at $26.15 in 10,000 piece quantities.

AMD Flash Memory Awards AMD has been the recipient of numerous customer service, quality and technology awards. The most recent Flash memory awards include: Cisco Systems' highest customer satisfaction recognition - the Cisco President's Award; the Nortel 2000 "Supplier of the Year" award; the Samsung 2000 "Best Supplier" award; the Volkswagen 1999 "Leading Edge" award; and the Cisco 1999 "Semiconductor Supplier of the Year" award.

AMD's Memory Group also holds QS9000 certification, a stringent quality standard adopted by the automotive industry and its suppliers.

About AMD Flash Memory Devices AMD technology is employed by the world's largest producer of Flash memory devices, Fujitsu AMD Semiconductor Ltd. (FASL). AMD Flash memory products encompass a broad spectrum of densities and features to support a wide range of markets. AMD Flash memory customers represent leaders in the automotive, networking, telecommunications, and handheld mobile terminal markets. AMD offers many Flash memory products, such as the award-winning SRW product family; Super Low Voltage 1.8V Flash memory devices; and Burst- and Page-Mode devices. AMD developed the robust Known Good Die (KGD) program and the patented negative gate erase technology, and refined the industry-standard Fine-pitch Ball Grid Array (FBGA).

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