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    NVRAM (also known as Non-Volatile Random Access Memory) is a memory chip that stores data within an electronic circuit without applied power, meaning NVRAM is able to store data even when the power is turned off. This is unlike normal random access memory (RAM) and dynamic random access memory (DRAM), both of which lose memory when there is no power.

    NVRAM memory is ideal for circuits that require a quick start up time as they are quick at reading and writing, which is why NVRAM is commonly found in devices such as laptops and mobile phones. However, they are not always suitable for main memory usage due to their limited memory sizes and power consumption, as NVRAM is battery powered and this, at some point, will need replacing. These devices come in a semiconductor package. Package types include: SIPP (single inline pin package), DIP (dual inline package), CERDIP (ceramic dual inline package) and PDIP (plastic inline package), among others.

    RS offer a range of NVRAM components from Cypress Semiconductor, Maxim Integrated, and more trusted brands from across the industry.

    Types of NVRAM

    • RTC/NVRAM are also known as CMOS chips (complimentary metal-oxide-semiconductor chips). These combine NVRAM with a real-time clock (RTC). The clock is there to read the date and time, which is stored by the NVRAM. RTC/NVRAM chips are designed for lower power consumption.
    • EEPROM stands for electrically erasable programmable read-only memory. It is a type of non-volatile memory which stores data that can be deleted and reprogrammed.
    • FRAM stands for ferroelectric RAM. It is similar in construction to DRAM, although its main difference is that it contains a thin later of zirconate titanate (PZT). The atoms in the PZT change polarity in an electric field, producing a binary switch. This allows the FRAM to retain its data memory, even when power is switched off, and also results in other benefits, such as extremely high endurance and ultra-low power consumption.

    Where is NVRAM used?

    NVRAM memory is used in any device that requires settings to be stored, such as the date and time, but can also be used by computer manufacturers to store details about the state of a computer. This allows the information to be retained between being switched off and being switched on again, resulting in faster boot times. Other typical applications for NVRAM include digital cameras, computers and computer monitors, smart cards, tablets, smartphones, and USB drives.

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