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The best of both worlds

How to blend the speed of sram with the cost associated with dram. By Graham Pitcher.

Bandwidth is becoming one of the most important parameters in the communications industry.

The reason is simple: communication has never been more popular. The boom in the volume of data passing around the world means that the various devices which comprise communications networks – such as servers, routers and switches – are having to work harder and harder. The bottom line when it comes to bandwidth is speed: the faster something runs, the more data it can pass in a given time.

One of the limiting factors to the bandwidth of any communications device is how quickly data can be handled by memory. In an ideal world, all memory in a communications network would be sram. The reason is speed: dram, with its one capacitor cell structure, is not as efficient because it needs to be refreshed on a frequent basis. Sram, on the other hand, stores data using a flip flop arrangement and never needs refreshing. Because the data is always there, sram is fast.

However, the traditional sram cell uses six transistors. This means sram takes up significantly more silicon than the equivalent sized dram device. And that means sram is much more expensive.

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Author
Graham Pitcher

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