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Embedded dynamic random access memory (EDRAM) is a type of random access memory which is completely embedded in the application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC). The ASIC can also include the microprocessor. This technology is much costlier than standard DRAM. However, it has a huge advantage over standard DRAM in terms of speed, power requirements and efficiency, as it is integrated into the IC itself. It has applications in devices like smartphones and gaming consoles.
If the DRAM is integrated into the IC or the microprocessor itself, the major enhancements would be the introduction of wider buses for data transfer. This allows faster transfer of data and in turn, leads to higher processing speeds. EDRAM is more costly than ESRAM, but EDRAM takes up much less space than ESRAM. Thus, a lot of memory can be fit into a much smaller place.
EDRAM has to be refreshed periodically, like other DRAM, to maintain its efficiency and prevent overcrowding of data. However, this makes the process quite complex. The refresher controller can also be integrated into the IC or the microprocessor for refreshing it, but the IC can then treat it as a normal SRAM. Thus, other techniques have to be employed for refreshing the EDRAM caches.
This technology is used in a variety of computing systems, including gaming consoles like Sony’s PS2, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Nintendo’s Wii series of gaming consoles. It is also used in smartphones like Apple’s iPhone.