Monday, February 6, 2012

Rambus Buys Unity Semiconductor



Rambus has bought Unity Semiconductor for $35m, about half of the value of the equity and loan funding put into the company.



Unity has been trying since 2002 to bring to market a cross-bar memory technology invented by IBM which it calls CMOx.

Micron, Seagate and three VC companies put up some $75m to fund the company.

Last year the company decided to go down an IP licensing route as well as continuing to try and develop a proprietary discrete memory IC.

The plusses for CMOX is that it can be scaled "below 5nm" - though the smallest it has been scaled to is 30nm - and that a 1Tbit part could be made on a 45nm process using 32 memory layers.

The scalability of CMOx vs. NAND is that where CMOx delivers a 0.5f² cell size NAND delivers a 2f² cell size, according to Unity CEO David Eggleston.

"Assuming NAND can do three bits per cell it would have a 256Gbit chip on 17nm when CMOx is looking at 1Tbit," Eggleston told EW last November, "the power of CMOx is very high density and very low cost per bit."

 Unity was banking on gaining a cost advantage of using trailing edge processes in competition with other memory types using expensive leading edge processes based on EUV and double patterning.

Eggleston reckoned that a 1Tbit part would be a leading edge device in 2015 because he expected the NAND people to slow down as they transition to vertical structures. The NAND people are already on 64Gbit.

Eggleston’s strategy was to license CMOx technology to "as many memory manufacturers as we can, we want to see CMOx become a commodity – we want to see it adopted and supported by all the memory makers."

Micron was working with Unity to develop the technology.


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Story Courtesy of: Electronics Weekly

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