September 18, 2009

Tech Roundup: Super high density IBM eDRAM, Xbox supercomputers, Sharp Blue Violet Laser can Enable 100 Gb Blue ray discs

1. IBM has successfully developed a prototype of the semiconductor industry's smallest, densest and fastest on-chip dynamic memory device in next-generation, 32-nanometer, silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology. IBM's used 32 nanometer SOI technology to fabricate a test chip with an embedded dynamic random access memory (eDRAM) with transistor density four times higher than conventional 32 nanometer SRAM memory and twice the density of any announced 22 nm embedded SRAM and equal to the density expected of 15 nm SRAM.

The IBM eDRAM in 32nm SOI technology is the fastest embedded memory announced to date, achieving latency and cycle times of less than 2 nanoseconds. In addition, the IBM eDRAM uses four times less standby power (power used by the chip as it sits idle) and has up to a thousand times lower soft-error rate (errors caused by electrical charges), offering better power savings and reliability compared to a similar SRAM.

2.IBM Corporation (NYSE: IBM) today announced the industry's highest performance, highest throughput processor for system-on-chip (SoC) product families in the communication, storage, consumer, and aerospace and defense markets. The PowerPC 476FP operates at clock speeds in excess of 1.6 GHz, and 2.5 Dhrystone MIPS (million instructions per second) per MHz, delivering over two times the performance of IBM's most advanced embedded core currently available for the original equipment manufacturing (OEM) market. The processor dissipates just 1.6 watts at these performance levels when fabricated in IBM's 45-nanometer, silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology, positioning the 476FP as one of the most energy efficient embedded processor cores in the industry. It provides a growth platform for emerging applications such as 4G networks and WiMax infrastructure products.

3. A new study by a University of Warwick researcher has demonstrated that researchers trying to model a range of processes could use the power and capabilities of a particular XBox chip as a much cheaper alternative to other forms of parallel processing hardware. The results of his work have just been published in the journal Computational Biology and Chemistry under the title of “Implications of the Turing completeness of reaction-diffusion models, informed by GPGPU simulations on an XBox 360: Cardiac arrhythmias, re-entry and the Halting problem”. Sony PS3 with cell processors have already been made into supercomputers.

(H/T Sander Olson)

4. Sharp Corporation has announced the development of a new 500 mW blue-violet semiconductor laser for triple- and quadruple- layer Blu-ray discs.

The semiconductor laser is blue-violet, producing an optical output up to 500 mW and 405 nm wavelength of oscillation under pulsed operation. The new laser has been proven reliable over 1,000 hours of testing.

The device is designed to be used in Blu-ray Disc recorders, and can write at 8 x speed on both triple- and quadruple- layer discs. This would mean recordable discs (with 25 GB per layer at present) to be 75 or 100 GB. The development follows the mass production of a 320 mW blue-violet semiconductor laser starting in June this year. The 320 mW device can write at 8 x speed on single- and dual- layer discs.

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