Embedded Non-Volatile Memory (NVM) readies to take off driven by low-power applications. Stand-alone NVM continues its journey toward mass adoption, despite ecosystem slowdowns.
- Re-definition of the AI market segment to include the following types of products:
- (1) Edge AI chips with NVM replacing SRAM (digital approach)
- (2) Analog in Memory Computing
- Financial analysis of leading emerging NVM companies
- Report on ferroelectric technologies (e.g., FeFET) and other newly emerging devices: SOTMRAM, VCMA-MRAM, CeRAM and NRAM
- Overview of equipment – technology, challenges, and solutions – for manufacturing magnetic STT-MRAM
- Analysis of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the memory business
- Updated presentation and analysis of emerging NVM activities in China
- Presentation of Intel’s new products and activities to develop the persistent memory (PM) ecosystem
Key features of the report
- 2020 – 2026 market forecast in $US, Gbits, wafer-starts, and units
- Competitive landscape and market dynamics
- Emerging NVM applications and market drivers
- Technology roadmaps, with time-to-market
- Price evolution, by application and technology
- Technology description and main technical trends, along with overview of main players and product-development roadmaps
Objectives of the report
- Present an overview of the semiconductor memory market:
- Stand-alone (NAND, DRAM, NOR, etc.) and embedded memory (eFlash, SRAM)
- Provide an understanding of emerging NVM applications:
- Market drivers & challenges, technology roadmap, players, and main trends for five stand-alone and five embedded applications
- Offer market forecasts for emerging NVM business:
- 2020 – 2026 market forecast in $US, M Gb, number of dies, and wafers for 10 applications and three technologies (MRAM, RRAM, PCM)
- Describe emerging NVM technologies:
- Working principles, manufacturing methods, advantages/limitations, development status, price, time-to-market
- Latest product development status for each key market player
- Detail and analyze the competitive landscape
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Glossary and definitions 2
- Table of contents 10
- Report objectives 11
- Scope of the report 12
- Methodology & definitions 13
- Comparison with the 2020 report 16
- Three-slide summary 21
- Executive summary 25
- Context – Overview of the memory business 59
- Stand-alone memory – NAND, DRAM, NOR and (NV)SRAM
- Embedded memory – eFlash, eDRAM, SRAM
- Memory market players
- Overview of emerging non-volatile memory 108
- Emerging non-volatile memory applications 120
- Fast/Reliable memory for industry, defense, etc. (NVRAM)
- Persistent memory (NVDIMM)
- Code/Data storage (NOR-like)
- Low-latency storage (SCM Drive)
- Embedded NVM for analog ICs
- Embedded NVM for MCU, SoC, ASIC, etc.
- Embedded cache memory for CPU/APU
- Embedded NVM for Edge AI
- Emerging NVM market forecast 192
- MRAM market forecast – in $M, Gb, units, and 12’’ eq. wafers
- PCM market forecast – in $M, Gb, units, and 12’’ eq. wafers
- RRAM market forecast – in $M, Gb, units, and 12’’ eq. wafers
- MRAM technology roadmap and players 230
- MRAM manufacturing challenges – overview
- PCM technology roadmap and players 262
- RRAM technology roadmap and players 282
- FeFETs and other newly emerging NVMs (CeRAM, NRAM and more) 302
- China’s memory landscape 317
- Impact of Covid-19 on the memory business 331
- General conclusions 333
- M&A, partnerships, new companies and funding 341
- Noteworthy news 348
- Yole Group Presentation 358
THE FIRST PRODUCTS WITH EMBEDDED MRAM (eMRAM) HIT THE MARKET IN 2020, TRIGGERING THE TAKEOFF OF THE EMBEDDED NVM BUSINESS.
After several years in development, embedded emerging NVM technologies have gained significant maturity and are now ready for market take off. The year 2020 has witnessed the introduction of the first commercial products based on eMRAM, namely Sony’s GPS SoCs manufactured by Samsung (28nm FDSOI) and Ambiq’s low-power MCUs manufactured by TSMC on 22nm ultra-low leakage (ULL) process. A number of eMRAM-based devices could enter volume production in 2021, among which are GreenWave’s AI processors with GlobalFoundries’ eMRAM (22nm FDSOI) as well as edge-AI accelerators developed by Numen and Gyrfalcon (22nm ULL at TSMC). Products incorporating embedded RRAM (eRRAM) also hit the market in 2020 with Nuvoton-Panasonic introducing new IC devices with 40nm OxRAM for security applications.
Embedded MRAM is expected to be adopted more rapidly than RRAM: in an optimistic scenario of effective roadmap execution, we forecast a ~$1.7B embedded MRAM market in 2026, which corresponds to ~76% of the overall embedded emerging NVM market. However, eRRAM will remain a strong competitor. In fact, leading players have been investing in RRAM targeting eFlash replacement at 40nm and beyond: TSMC has enriched its 40nm ultra-low-power (ULP) process with embedded OxRAM and currently offers OxRAM at 22nm; GlobalFoundries licensed Adesto’s CBRAM™ from Dialog Semiconductor and is now implementing it on 22nm FDSOI for low-power consumer applications; UMC is pursuing 28nm OxRAM development in partnership with Nuvoton-Panasonic, and they could target the smartcard market in the coming years.
Finally, embedded PCM is still in the race and will target eFlash replacement in automotive MCUs. STMicroelectronics is its main promoter, having selected PCM as the best emerging NVM solution for 28nm FDSOI node in the automotive market.
DESPITE IMPORTANT ECOSYSTEM-DEVELOPMENT CHALLENGES, STAND-ALONE NVMs CONTINUE TO EXPAND IN THE DATACENTER SPACE, THOUGH SLOWER THAN EXPECTED.
The stand-alone emerging NVM market – comprising PCM, MRAM and RRAM – will grow from ~$595M in 2020 to ~$3.3B in 2026. It will be driven by two key segments, namely low-latency storage (enterprise and client SCM drives) and persistent memory (NVDIMM). PCM will be the leading technology thanks to the sales of 3D XPoint products – particularly persistent memory (PM) DIMMs – that are sold by Intel in a bundle with its server CPUs. New stand-alone Optane products have been launched in 2020, one of which is the long-awaited Alder Stream SSD. This is the first product that employs the 2nd generation 3D XPoint with four stacked PCM layers. In late 2020, Intel confirmed that about 200 of the Fortune 500 companies have either directly deployed Optane PM or are in the Proof of Concept (POC) stages, and the POC-to-deployment conversion rate is expected to be over 85%. However, the effort to build up a software-hardware ecosystem for PM deployment has been found to be extremely challenging and time-consuming, and is currently carried out by one key player, Intel.
In comparison to PCM, the MRAM and RRAM stand-alone markets will remain significantly smaller, holding a combined ~22% share of the stand-alone emerging NVM market in 2026. The sales ramp-up time for STT-MRAM chips that are sold to IDMs and OEMs in the low-latency storage business is taking longer than expected. The use of STT-MRAM in storage modules requires significant time and resources to engineer the system architecture and develop a suitable controller technology.
Stand-alone 3D RRAM with XPoint-like structure has also been delayed compared to previously reported roadmaps: RRAM-based SSD drives will presumably be introduced using new protocols – such as CXL or Gen-Z – that are not mature yet. More time is needed (>2 years) for the new interfaces to mature to the point of triggering the adoption of novel SCM drives as alternatives to the NVMe-based drives currently available (e.g., Z-SSD, Optane SSD).
EVEN DURING THE PANDEMIC, EMERGING NVM ACTIVITIES KEEP PROLIFERATING, AND PROMISING NEW TECHNOLOGIES APPEAR ON THE HORIZON.
COVID-19 with its global lockdowns had a mixed impact on the memory industry. Datacenters and laptop demand grew, automotive and smartphones faced a slowdown. The net result has been a relatively balanced memory demand. As the emerging NVM business is currently expanding mostly on the datacenter side with SCM applications enabled by 3D XPoint, there has not been a detrimental impact on the overall emerging NVM market evolution.
The pandemic created supply-chain disruptions in the first half of 2020, but these were largely cleared by the beginning of 2H-2020.
Despite the challenging conditions set by COVID-19, emerging NVM activities have been proliferating worldwide, particularly in China, where several projects have been launched by national and local governments. However, we expect that funding might not be as abundant and available as in the last years. In the past, the Chinese government invested significant resources in semiconductor activities, sometimes without a tight focus and control. Now, funding agencies are stricter and invest on the most reliable/promising players and on the key markets and applications.
In the meantime, promising new technologies have appeared on the horizon: resistive memories exploiting correlated electron switching (CeRAM) are now in development at Cerfe Labs, an ARM spin-off; magnetic memories based Spin Orbit Torque (SOT) and Voltage Controlled Magnetic Anisotropy (VCMA) could become viable options for high-speed embedded caching applications; ferroelectric FET devices have also drawn huge interest and are currently in the works at major players: GlobalFoundries, Intel, Kioxia, just to mention a few. Although promising, these technologies are still in their early development stages and have significant challenges ahead. We are carefully tracking their evolution as we expect they could be disruptive in the long term.
Leveraging our sound expertise in emerging memory technologies and related markets, Yole introduces the 8th edition of its Emerging Non-Volatile Memory report, providing the most comprehensive analysis of the emerging NVM business and its competitive landscape.
4DS, Adesto, Ambiq Micro, Antaïos, Apple, Applied Materials, ARM, Avalanche, Buffalo, Canon, CEA Leti, Cerfe Labs, CXMT, Cisco, Crocus Nanoelectronics, Crossbar, Cypress, Dell, Dialog Semiconductor, eVaderis, Everspin, Facebook, Ferroelectric Memory Company, Fujitsu, GigaDevice, GlobalFoundries, Google, GreenWaves, Gyrfalcon, H-Grace, Hikstor, HLMC, Honeywell, HP, Hprobe, Huawei, IBM, IMEC, Infineon, Intel, Intermolecular, Intrinsic Semiconductor, ITRI, JHICC, Jiangsu Advanced Memory Technology, Kioxia, Lam Research, Lenovo, Macronix, Materion, Mediatek, Merck, Microchip, Micron, Mythic, Nantero, Nanya, National Tsing Hua University, NEC, NetApp, Nike, Nokia, Numen, Numonyx, Nuvoton, NXP, Panasonic, Qualcomm, Rambus, Reliance, Renesas, Rohm, Samsung, SanDisk, Seagate, SK hynix, Smart Modular Technologies, SMIC, Sony, Spansion, Spin Ion Technologies, Spin Memory, Spin-Orbitronics Technologies, Spintec, STMicroelectronics, Stanford University, Syntiant, TDK, Texas Instruments, Tezzaron, Tohoku University, Tokyo Electron, Teledyne e2v, Toshiba, TowerSemi, TPSCo, Tsinghua Unigroup , TSMC, UMC, Violin Memory, Weebit, Western Digital, Winbond, XFab, XMC, YMTC, and more.
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