Electronic Design

CPU Companion Chips Add FRAM Storage And Peripheral Support

By combining nonvolatile storage and logic functions, a family of ferroelectric-based processor companion chips makes multifunction support a reality for embedded processors. Ramtron's FM3104, 3116, 3164, and 31256 include 4, 16, 64, or 256 kbits of nonvolatile ferroelectric RAM (FRAM). They also pack a real-time clock, a processor supervisor, and additional peripheral functions.

According to the company, these processor companion devices are the most integrated FRAM products in the field. They provide some of the most commonly needed system functions for a variety of automotive, consumer, communications, industrial, metering, and computing applications.

The processor supervisor block boasts a programmable low-VDD reset, a programmable watchdog timer, and a manual reset function. Other peripherals include a nonvolatile event counter and a lockable 64-bit serial number area. A general-purpose comparator can be used for an early power-fail (nonmaskable) interrupt or another purpose. The nonvolatile storage and peripheral functions share a common interface and combine to fit in a tiny 14-lead small-outline IC package. A standard two-wire bus accesses the memory and controls all functions.

Each device operates from 2.7 to 5.5 V. Samples of the FM3104, 3116, 3164, and FM31256 are immediately available. In quantities of 10,000 units, the companion chips sell for $2.04, $2.34, $2.75, and $3.76, respectively.

Ramtron Inc.

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