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/"Alternative" Innovation Road for Memory

"Alternative" Innovation Road for Memory

November 04, 2020

IoT devices are facing a "security paradox." Its importance is self-evident, but users often choose to ignore it, and manufacturers are hesitant to pay additional costs to add security features. This forces the increase of security functions to move forward in the industry chain, and upstream chip companies will assume more security responsibilities.


For Winbond Electronics, most of the code and user data in the electronic system are stored in flash memory. How to increase the security of flash memory has become one of the starting points for its development of TrustME® secure flash memory products. Only hardware security can be used. Ways to develop software security, and then to develop system security, all the way to the security of the entire network, so this is linked to each other, the so-called Chain of Trust concept, Winbond electronic security solutions marketing everywhere Long Chen Hongwei said.


What is the value of Winbond’s storage products in terms of security? Chen Hongwei believes that there are three points:

First, Winbond’s products must pass safety certification;

Second, it is flexible and can adapt to current and future designs;

Third, it is scalable and meets the flash-less trend of IoT MCUs.


Why safety certification is the most important, because electronic products face an increasingly strict regulatory environment for safety regulations, and many countries and regions have introduced safety regulations. Non-compliant products will face fines and will also cause a decline in brand reputation. Winbond’s W77Q secure storage product focuses on satisfying the “substantial” level of the EU’s "Cyber Security Act" and can meet the CC EAL2 certification and IEC62443 standards, as well as the SESIP certification currently being promoted by GlobalPlatform.


The product uses a standard SPI Flash pin-compatible package design, which can directly replace ordinary standard flash memory. Winbond made the product increase the system's toughness protection function, which can restore the system after the product is attacked. In addition, it also has the root of trust, encrypted data storage and secure online firmware update functions.


It is very important that all IoT devices are connected to the cloud. When the main chip is attacked, Winbond’s solution can reset the flash memory firmware from the cloud.


"Storage security is already very important, because it can be found from many hacker incidents that hackers will continue to attack the code and data stored in the flash memory." Chen Hongwei pointed out that Winbond's secure flash memory plays a very important role. "The system Firmware, code, and user data are mainly stored in flash memory, so our products can complement the SoC/MCU in security."


Since the development of the Internet of Things, the cost of equipment components is still a priority. Chen Hongwei believes that Winbond provides cost-effective solutions from the perspective of increasing safety.


With the gradual landing of 5G commercialization, the pull of cloud computing, IDC business, and the growth of demand in the automotive and IoT fields, DRAM will face a more diversified market. Winbond Electronics has a very complete layout for DRAM, ranging from cloud servers, edge computing, 5G-CPE (Customer Premise Equipment), to TWS headsets, AR/VR, ADAS and other fields. The corresponding product.


GP-Boost DRAM is Winbond’s product layout plan for edge artificial intelligence. The power consumption covers the range of 0.05-0.4W, and the bandwidth has been from 2.13 GB/s to 17.04 GB/s. "GP stands for Green Power, which stands for low-power DRAM, plus Boost means that we can provide high-bandwidth products." Winbond DRAM Memory Product Sales Planning Department Manager Zeng Yijun explained.


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The beginning of the layout is 32Mb to 256Mb ULP HyperRAM™, which corresponds to a computing power of 0.3 to 0.5 TOPS, and is based on general controllers plus NPU. This is an external storage solution provided by Winbond, which will be used in simple sound processing or image recognition. The computing power reaches 0.5 to 1 TOPS, the CPU is Arm Cortex-Ax, and the NPU is N37, which is developed by the customer. The corresponding DRAM is 512Mb/1Gb LP2. Application scenarios are smart door locks, smart homes or face recognition. The computing power reaches 1.0 to 4 TOPS, and the application scenario is real-time (real time) image recognition and pattern detection, corresponding to 1Gb LP3. This part is heating up, and Winbond’s products have been introduced into the design-in phase of many companies. If the computing power is increased again, and the application scenario is smart camera or edge computing, Winbond's low-capacity LPDDR4 will be used. Winbond is working closely with customers in the design of some AI acceleration chips.


Winbond’s entire GP-Boost DRAM layout is relatively complete in low and medium capacities. If customers need one-stop procurement, this is a good DRAM solution. At the same time, Winbond’s 1Gb LPDDR3 has begun to introduce some high-definition panel designs in addition to artificial intelligence. Zeng Yijun said that the 8K design used to require 4 1Gb DDR3, or even 6-8, but if you change to Winbond’s GP-Boost storage, you will only need 2 or 3 1Gb LPDDR3.


Zeng Yijun told reporters: "There have been more than a dozen design cases for 1Gb LPDDR3, and they are still increasing, which can represent the high customer acceptance of this product in the market."


The HyperRAM™ product has also been placed in high hopes by Winbond. The 32/64/128Mb series have been mass-produced, and there will be 256Mb by the end of the year, which is the largest capacity of the whole series. HyperRAM™ is characterized by low power consumption. Taking 64Mb as an example, the standby power consumption can reach 45 mW at 1.8V. "Low power consumption, low capacity, and easy to design, there are only 8 signal pins, and the total number of pins is only 13." Zeng Yijun said that HyperRAM™ is a very useful product. It is understood that HyperRAM™ has received enthusiastic responses in applications such as electric bicycles, wearable watches, and TWS headsets.


Use speed to prove


It is inevitable that NAND will slowly switch from a parallel port to a serial port. The reason is that the serial port has a smaller number of pins and a smaller package area than the parallel port. "In order to control data output and control signals, the traditional parallel port NAND has many pins, usually 15 or 23 lines. If it is converted to a serial port, there are only 6 lines in total. Therefore, serial flash memory can save electronics The space and cost of storing codes when the product is not connected to the power source" Huang Xinwei, Planning Manager of Winbond Electronics’ Flash Memory Products, introduced the advantages of serial NAND.


Winbond introduced the world's first 8-bit serial port NAND-OctalNAND Flash, whose pins are fully compatible with the existing QSPI Flash pins on the market, and do not require any system changes.


OctalNAND has a huge advantage in data reading, which comes from its ability to transmit large amounts of data to DRAM at high speed with eight bits after initialization. To make a comparison in terms of transmission rate, ordinary serial NAND is about 20 to 30MB per second, and this OctalNAND can reach 240MB per second, which is currently the fastest serial NAND flash memory in the world.


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Currently, a small-capacity NOR Flash is often used with eMMC on the system to obtain the read speed. But Huang Xinwei believes that OctaINAND will not be slower than eMMC under certain circumstances. For example, he said that OctaINAND is even faster than eMMC when some blocks read each time are less than 18KB. According to reports, OctaINAND uses Winbond’s own mature manufacturing process, so some error correction actions required by advanced manufacturing processes will not occur, making the design of the entire system easier. "On the other hand, its cost is very advantageous. Compared with the same capacity of NOR, NAND will cost 50% less than NOR. This is just the cost of the chip itself. Then if you consider the cost of the entire system , There will be even more advantages." Huang Xinwei pointed out.


Traditionally, the read speed of NAND cannot keep up with NOR. Winbond developed the 8-bit OctaINAND to solve the problem of read speed. After solving the reading speed, coupled with the cost advantage, I believe that OctaINAND has a great opportunity to shine in the automotive market. For Winbond, listening to market trends, developing its own unique technology, and avoiding the development of standardized products following the trend is the secret of its ability to maintain innovation and a necessary condition for the comprehensive evolution of memory in the IoT era.


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