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This letter presents energy-efficient MgO based magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ) bits for high-speed spin transfer torque magnetoresistive random access memory (STT-MRAM). We present experimental data illustrating the effect of device shape, area, and tunnel-barrier thickness of the MTJ on its switching voltage, thermal stability, and energy per write operation in the nanosecond switching regime. Finite-temperature micromagnetic simulations show that the write energy changes with operating temperature. The temperature sensitivity increases with increasing write pulsewidth and decreasing write voltage. We demonstrate STT-MRAM cells with switching energies of <;1 pJ for write times of 1-5 ns.