AMD Eyes Chip Memory Expansion
The chip maker has licensed new technology that could help boost its chips' onboard memory.Advanced Micro Devices Inc. is exploring new types of onboard memory for its chips as a way to bump performance and squeeze more out of its manufacturing plants. The Sunnyvale, Calif., chip maker has licensed memory technology called Z-RAM, created by startup Innovative Silicon Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., in an effort to look at new ways of bumping up the cache or onboard memory of its processors. Z-RAM, which stands for zero-capacitance dynamic RAM, promises the ability to double the density of DRAMused to store dataor quintuple that of static RAMused for processor cacheswithout requiring special materials or extra manufacturing techniques when being fabricated, according to Innovative Silicon officials.
Although its still in the early stages of working with Z-RAM, AMD believes the technology could help it reduce the area that cache memory occupies inside its chips. Changing the sizes its caches take up could either allow it to reduce a chips overall area, referred to as its die size, or add more memory but keep its size the same. Because the wafers chip makers use to turn out chips are a finite sizemost chip makers, including AMD, are now moving to 300MM diameter wafersthe smaller each chip is, the greater numbers it can be manufactured in. Thus smaller chips also cost less to make.