Winbond Develops First Serial Flash Memory with Quad-SPI

Winbond Electronics Corporation announced at the Flash Memory Summit the industry’s first Serial Flash memory with Quad-SPI (Serial Peripheral Interface). The W25Q16 16-megabit SpiFlash(R) Memory is the first in a family of high-performance memories ranging from 8 to 64 megabits, and features single, dual and quad I/Os in space- and cost-saving 8-pin packaging. The W25Q16′s Quad-SPI architecture allows for greater than six times the performance of the current generation of Serial Flash memories and offers a true code-execution (XIP) alternative to Parallel-NOR Flash.

Prior to the introduction of the W25Q family, Serial Flash memories were used primarily for simple non-volatile storage of code that is downloaded to SDRAM at power-up (code-shadowing). With Quad-SPI performance, application-specific controllers can now execute code directly from Serial Flash, minimizing pin-count and SDRAM usage, and significantly reducing system costs. Quad–SPI can also dramatically improve boot time for traditional code-shadow applications. The W25Q16 is ideal for a variety of consumer and industrial applications, including Blu-Ray(TM) Disc systems, DVD-HD and DVD-W drives, DVD players/recorders, WLAN and DSL equipment, PCs, digital-TV and set-top-boxes, printers, Bluetooth-based products, and FPGAs.

Serial Flash Rapid Market Growth
Serial Flash offers many benefits over Parallel Flash memories including: reduced controller pin count, smaller and simpler PCBs, reduced switching noise, less power consumption, and lower system cost. As a result, Serial Flash unit volumes have grown by more than 400 percent since 2004 and represent 50 percent of the low-density (one- to 16-megabit) NOR Flash market.

“Due to its considerable experience in Flash memory, Winbond is in a strong position to capitalize on the rapidly growing Serial Flash market, in which we project shipments of 1.4 billion units in 2007, and continued growth to more than 2.7 billion units by 2010, with densities during that period climbing even higher,” said Alan Niebel of Web-Feet Research, a leading memory and storage market research firm tracking the Flash memory industry. “The performance-enhancing features such as those in Winbond’s new Quad-SPI products will play an important role in a broad array of applications migrating from parallel to Serial Flash.”

“Designers worldwide have benefited from Winbond’s 25X Dual-SPI SpiFlash memories, which enable transfer rates double those of standard Serial Flash devices,” said John Park, executive vice president of Winbond Electronics’ Flash Memory Product Center. “Now, those same designers can take advantage of the next-generation 25Q SpiFlash memory family, whose Quad-SPI architecture improves throughput more than six-fold and opens up a much wider range of applications that require higher performance.”

W25Q16 Performance, Features
The W25Q16 SpiFlash memory builds on the success of Winbond’s popular W25X family of SpiFlash memories (one- through 64-megabit densities). The 25Q16 maintains function- and pin-out compatibility with the 25X, while adding Dual-I/O and Quad-I/O SPI capability for higher performance. The 25Q16 supports clock rates up to 80MHz, enabling an equivalent clock frequency of 320MHz (40 megabytes per second continuous transfer rate) when using Quad-SPI operation. This is more than six times the transfer rate of standard Serial Flash memories that clock at 50MHz. Besides fast data transfer, the 25Q16 reduces “random access” overhead by more than 70 percent by slashing the number of clocks required per read instruction to 12, from 40.

Efficient random access is essential for XIP operation. Assuming a typical instruction fetch of 32 bytes, the W25Q16 is capable of random access rates of greater than 32 megabytes per second. This outperforms 16-bit asynchronous Parallel Flash memories (70nS access, 100nS cycle time) by more than 50 percent.

Besides its unprecedented performance, the W25Q16 also includes other important features, such as uniform 4K-byte erasable sectors for efficient memory allocation and storage of data. The 4K-byte sectors are commonly required in many Intel-based PC applications. The W25Q16 is also the first Serial Flash memory to offer erase-suspend/-resume capability, commonly found in parallel Flash memories and necessary for interrupt-driven systems that must temporally halt an erase operation to read from Flash memory. Security is also enhanced with lock-down and one-time-programmable (OTP) write protection, and a 64-bit unique identification number that can be used as a seed for copy-protection schemes.

W25Q16 Ordering Information
The W25Q16VSSIG (208mil SO8) is available now, with eight- to ten-week lead times. The W25Q16 data sheet is available online.

About Winbond
Winbond Electronics Corporation, a global company based in Hsinchu, Taiwan, is a leading supplier of semiconductor solutions. Winbond designs, develops and markets IC solutions to the global electronics marketplace. The company’s primary mission is to serve the growing needs of manufacturers of computers, and consumer and communication electronics. Winbond Electronics Corporation has approximately 5000 employees worldwide, with design centers in Hsinchu, Taiwan; Shanghai, China; San Jose, California; Austin, Texas; Japan; and Israel.

SpiFlash is registered trademarks of Winbond Electronics Corporation of America.