Micron Shows Off New Tech Center
March 19, 2015, Milpitas, CA— Tom Eby, Vice President of Micron’s Compute and Networking Business Unit introduced the newest addition to its Global Customer Labs. The lab in Milpitas is designed to support local users in applying various memory technologies.
One driver is the growing amounts and types of memories in all areas. The amount of silicon dedicated to memories has doubled since '06, and more types of platforms are appearing all the time from computers, to mobile devices, and now automotive. The end form-factors are also changing from just a JEDEC conforming package to bare die and larger assemblies.
As a result, the systems labs are being put in place to help developers with detailed technical issues and potential applications. helping define new apps at the architectural level also helps to define new memory types and packaging. This approach is changing the evolutionary flows and pressures in memory functions. Nevertheless, every memory application still needs some tuning for the app.
Some of the latest applications like networking, machine-to-machine, mobile, cloud, and big data have been around for a while, but are taking new forms and require new approaches to defining and developing the memory subsystem. One of the primary issues in the ecosystem is that of latency. The increasing velocity of the data flows is now forcing developers to consider the length of retention, but many developers do not have the complete levels of expertise in memory functions and applications to create a very good design.
These companies need to partner with their memory supplier to get the most out the memories within the limits of power and total capacity. Power is becoming one of the bigger bottlenecks in design, as its components of storage and movement start to overwhelm total system limits. As a result of the difficulties in getting memory design expertise in-house, many companies are looking for help.
This center is one of 8 global customer support laboratories, which are manned by about 30 engineers around the world. Lab locations are in Milpitas, CA; Boise, ID; Munich, Germany; Shanghai, China; Singapore; Tokyo, Japan; Taiwan and South Korea. The various labs collaborate across all internal business units and with each other for their different areas of expertise. The labs also get support from the business units for device-specific details and parameters.
The centers focus on smaller areas. For example, Munich is automotive, and Singapore is computers and networking. Each center works to develop solutions and provide other design services to the customer base. Some of the services include simulations, time and signal analysis, and recommendations for various internal settings. The centers can also perform failure analysis and validation support. This combination of domain expertise and investigative tools allows the centers to help with many memory optimizations.
Some of the equipment in the lab includes hot-cold ovens, and PCB rework stations, as well as standard test equipment and specialized memory testing capabilities. In addition to the forward-looking design consultation, the lab also tests compatibility with legacy devices. Since the Lexar brand is a consumer-level product line, the company tries to ensure back compatibility with PCs, cameras, etc. whenever any changes appear in new NAND controllers or new devices. They check all cards and USB devices for functionality and compatibility, a process that takes about 4-days per device.