DRAM Cell - Working and Read and Write Operations

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1. DRAM CELL Read and Write Operations, Working Naman Bhalla Amber Bhargava 2. What is a DRAM ? ã A type of random access semiconductor memory that stores each bit of…
  • 1. DRAM CELL Read and Write Operations, Working Naman Bhalla Amber Bhargava
  • 2. What is a DRAM ? • A type of random access semiconductor memory that stores each bit of data in a separate tiny capacitor within an integrated circuit. • The capacitor can either be charged or discharged (1 or 0). • Volatile memory - Loses data quickly when power is removed. (Limited Data Remanence)
  • 3. Advantages Disadvantages Simple Design Volatile Speed High Power Consumption Low Cost
  • 4. Types of DRAM Based on Interface for Communication • Fast Page Mode (FPM) DRAM • Extended Data Out (EDO) DRAM • Synchronous (S) DRAM • Single Data Rate SDRAM • Double Data Rate (DDR) SDRAM • DDR2, DDR3, …… Synchronous DRAM • Types of DRAM synchronised with the clock speed of the microprocessor.
  • 5. DRAM SRAM Less expensive to produce. Expensive. Needs to be refreshed periodically. Doesn’t need to be refreshed. Slower Faster in reads and writes. Consumes less power in active state. Consumes considerably less power in sleep mode.
  • 6. Why called “DRAM” ? • The electric charge on the capacitors slowly leaks off. • Without intervention the data on the chip would soon be lost. • DRAM requires an external memory refresh circuit which periodically rewrites the data in the capacitors, restoring them to their original charge. • Thus, it is “DYNAMIC” !!
  • 7. DRAM Cell Design • A capacitor to store each bit of data. • A transfer device that acts as a switch. • The presence of charge in the capacitor indicates a logic "1" and the absence of charge indicates a logical “0". • Two lines are connected to each dynamic RAM cell - the Word Line (W/L) and the Bit Line (B/L) connect as shown so that the required cell within a matrix can have data read or written to it.
  • 8. • To improve the write or read capabilities and speed, the overall dynamic RAM memory may be split into sub-arrays. • The presence of multiple sub-arrays shortens the word and bit lines and this reduces the time to access the individual cells. • For example a 256 Mbit dynamic RAM, DRAM may be split into 16 smaller 16Mbit arrays.
  • 9. Read and Write Operations
  • 10. There are several lines that are used in the read and write operations
  • 11. RAS - Row Address Strobe • As the name implies, the /RAS line strobes the row to be addressed. • The address inputs are captured on the falling edge of the /RAS line. • The row is held open as long as /RAS remains low.
  • 12. CAS - Column Address Strobe • This line selects the column to be addressed. • The address inputs are captured on the falling edge of /CAS. • It enables a column to be selected from the open row for read or write operations.
  • 13. WE - Write Enable • This signal determines whether a given falling edge of /CAS is a read or write. • Low enables the write action, while high enables a read action. • If low (write), the data inputs are also captured on the falling edge of /CAS.
  • 14. OE - Output Enable • The /OE signal is typically used when controlling multiple memory chips in parallel. • It controls the output to the data I/O pins. • The data pins are driven by the DRAM chip if / RAS and /CAS are low, /WE is high, and /OE is low. • In many applications, /OE can be permanently connected low.
  • 15. DRAM Read
  • 16. Step 1 … • Initially, both RAS* and CAS* are high.
  • 17. Step 2 … • A valid row address is applied to the address pins of the DRAM • RAS goes low. • The row address is latched into the row address buffer on the falling edge of RAS* and decoded.
  • 18. Step 3 … • The decoded row address is applied to a row line driver. • This forces one word line to high, thus connecting a row of DRAM cells.
  • 19. Step 4 … • Sensing occurs. • Sensing is essentially the amplification of the differential voltage between the two digit lines. • The P sense amplifier and the N sense amplifier are generally fired sequentially. • First, the N sense amplifier is fired by bringing NLAT* (N sense-amplifier latch) toward ground. • As the voltage difference between NLAT and the digit lines increases, the NMOS transistor whose gate is connected to the higher voltage digit line begins to conduct.
  • 20. Step 4 (continued) … • Conduction causes the low-voltage digit line to be brought to discharge towards NLAT* and finally to be brought to ground voltage. • The other NMOS transistor will not conduct. • As the low-voltage digit line is close to ground, the corresponding PMOS transistor is driven into conduction. • As a result of this operation, all digit lines are either driven to high or to low according to the contents of the DRAM cell in the row.
  • 21. Step 5 … • The column address has been strobed into the column address buffer in the meantime. • When CAS* falls, the column address is decoded and one of the sense amplifiers is connected to the data out buffer.
  • 22. Step 6 … • When RAS* is de-asserted, the word line goes to low • All DRAM cells in the row are now disconnected from the digit line.
  • 23. DRAM Write
  • 24. Step 1 … • RAS* and CAS* are high. • All digit lines are precharged
  • 25. Step 2 … • A valid row address is applied to the row address decoder and RAS* goes low. • This enables the row address decoder so that a single row line (corresponding to the address) goes high. • This connects all the cells in this row to the digit lines.
  • 26. Step 3 … • The digit lines are pulled up or down by the sense amplifiers according to the contents of the cell.
  • 27. Step 4 … • The datum is applied and the write driver enabled (because WRITE* is de- asserted).
  • 28. Step 5 … • A valid column address is applied to the column address decoder and CAS* goes low. • The write driver overdrives the sense amplifier selected by the column address decoder.
  • 29. Step 6 … • RAS* and CAS* go high again. • The row line goes low and all cells are now disconnected from the digit lines.
  • 30. WORKING • DRAM Refresh • Banking • Pipelining • Prefetching
  • 31. DRAM Refresh
  • 32. DRAM Refresh … • The capacitor in each DRAM cell discharges slowly. • At certain intervals, we need to recharge the DRAM cell. • This is achieved by reading the cell. • The read will place the contents of the cell on the digit line, which is then pulled up to full level by the sense amplifiers. • When the word line is de-asserted, all cells in the row have their contents restored at full charge / discharge level.
  • 33. “A refresh operation thus refreshes all the cells in the same row at once!”
  • 34. DRAM Refresh … • Early DRAM memories were refreshed under system control. • Every so often, the system would issue a read request that would refresh a particular row. • Nowadays, the DRAM chip contains a timer that allows it to refresh autonomously. • Besides the timer, the main component is the refresh counter that contains the address of the row that needs to be refreshed. • When a refresh operation is finished, then the counter is set to the next row in a cyclical manner.
  • 35. “The need to refresh amounts to using a certain (small) portion of the DRAM bandwidth.”
  • 36. BANKING • To stream out data faster than even in page/burst mode, DRAMs use a large number of memory arrays or banks. • Consecutive accesses are then serviced by different banks. • The least significant bit of the address then selects between the two banks. • If accesses use the two banks alternatively, then the operations can overlap, giving twice as fast data rates. • A DRAM with banks has an additional internal command to a bank, the ACT (activate) command that precharges the bank.
  • 37. PIPELINING • By pipelining the addresses, the average access time can be sped up. • In this case, the input latch is used to store the incoming address, while the DRAM is still working on the previous command. • The pipeline has three stages, the first for the input (address and possibly data), the second for the bank access, and the third for latching the output (for a read).
  • 38. PREFETCHING • We can increase the speed of a synchronous DRAM by prefetching. • In this case more than one data word is fetched from the memory on each address cycle and transferred to a data selector on the output buffer. • Multiple words of data can then be sequentially clocked out for each memory address.
  • 39. THANKS !!
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