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Phase Change Memory Enters a New Phase

Report No. FI-NVM-PCM-0708, July 2008 


After forty years in the research labs, phase change memory reached a milestone in February 2008 when Intel Corp. announced it was sampling a 128Mb phase change memory (PCM) device. The milestone heralded a new phase in the long road to commercialization for phase change memories.

The initial four years is expected to be the learning phase as vendors struggle to manufacture PCM in volume at high yields and OEMs modify firmware to take advantage of the fast performance and bit-alterability of PCM. However, a combination of aggressive advanced process technology transitions, physical cell size reduction and multi-level cell functionality is expected to accelerate cost reductions and make phase change memory a viable candidate to replace flash memory in the next five years. Phase change memory is forecast to growth at a compounded annual growth rate of 164% from 2008 to 2015 and account for 80% of the code flash market in 2015.

Phase Change Memory Enters a New Phase outlines the challenges PCM faces as it vies to compete with mainstream charge-based memories. The report provides a thorough analysis of PCM versus current mainstream semiconductor memories such as SRAM, DRAM, NOR flash and NAND flash. An update on the PCM activities of major vendors as well as a market and price forecast out to 2015 based on a detailed roadmap is also provided.

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