Keeping you up-to-date with the latest design contests on the net, and following the 8051 post from Monday:
Ramtron International is running a design contest for their "VRS51L3074 FRAM Enhanced Microcontroller". This microcontroller is 8051-based and has a portion of its address space use Ramtron's FRAM non-volatile random access memory. Using this FRAM rather than a conventional EPROM or FLASH memory to store data saves a lot of time and code for developers, enabling them to do more with less, ultimately saving dollars on a design.
What this means is that without power the data stored in FRAM is not lost like on conventional RAM. If this technology were to be scaled up to PC system levels you could unplug your PC while it was still running, move it, plug it back in and it would turn on doing the same thing it was before you moved it.
The VRS51L3074 runs at 40MHz @ 3.3V, has 64KB flash memory, 8KB FRAM memory, 4k SRAM, and 56 I/O lines. Unfortunately, the package is QFP-64 not DIP but the development board ( VersaKit ) is sold for only $49, so itís not too bad.
The FRAM is rated for a trillion read/writes, has a 10 year data retention, is non-volatile, is 5V, 15mA draw with an access time of 120ns. This isnít too bad, from what I have seen, access times are around 100ns.
So break out those notebooks, logic probes, o-scopes, analyzers, chip programmers and other tools you use and sign up for the $2,500 cash prize.