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For example, Atmel microcontrollers come in both EEPROM and mask ROM formats. The main advantage of mask ROM is its cost. Per bit, mask ROM is more compact than any other kind of semiconductor memory. Since the cost of an integrated circuit strongly depends on its size, mask ROM is significantly cheaper than any other kind of semiconductor memory. However, the one-time masking cost is high and there is a long turn-around time from design to product phase.
Design errors are costly: if an error in the data or code is found, the mask ROM is useless and must be replaced in order to change the code or data. As of 2003, four companies produce most such mask ROM chips: Samsung Electronics, NEC Corporation, Oki Electric Industry, and Macronix. Some integrated circuits contain only mask ROM. Other integrated circuits contain mask ROM as well as a variety of other devices. In particular, many microprocessors have mask ROM to store their microcode. Technology Analysis: Oki P2ROM to Replace Mask ROM, Flash EEPROM » Archived 2007-10-21 at the Wayback Machine.
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