Ramtron is offering what it believes is the industry’s first 8051-based microcontroller with integrated nonvolatile ferroelectric random access memory (FRAM).

The new VRS51L3074 is the first in a series of planned products leading to a microcontroller based entirely on FRAM, where FRAM will be used for program, data and register memory, eliminating the need for Flash and SRAM altogether, said Irv Lustigman, General Manager of Ramtron Canada.

The device maps 8 KB of true non-volatile RAM into the VRS51L3074’s XRAM memory for easy access, fast writes and essentially unlimited endurance. No battery/super cap is required to maintain data. FRAM simplifies the design cycle by eliminating the code overhead accompanying flash data storage, and the limited endurance and drawn out write cycles of Flash/EEPROM. Unlike Flash, FRAM bytes can be modified without first erasing an entire sector, rendering it easier to use.

And unlike Flash/EEPROM, FRAM provides virtually unlimited read/write cycles and fast data writes, Lustigman noted. The VRS51L3074 is currently sampling and costs under $5 in volume.