Non-volatile memory technology is now at a turning point where we find out which technology will be doomed to be BETAMAX and which will carry on to become the VHS equivalent; hopefully that analogy is not too accurate as VHS was not the better of the two. Allyn discussed the reasons why the market is looking for a new technology back in 2012 and his predictions that NAND still had some life in it have been proven over the past few years but we are seeing new limitations with the current technology.
In the past we have covered HP's Resistive RAM, also called a Memrisitor, which has been in development for many years but has finally appeared in some Panasonic microcomputers which control sensors. STT-MRAM, spin transfer torque magnetoresistive random access memory, is Toshiba's project and while we still haven't seen any product it has been in development for more than 3 years and news of prototypes should arrive soon. Lastly is NRAM, nano-RAM so named for the use of carbon based nanotubes in its design which is being developed by Nantero.
It is Nantero which is in the news today, having secured $31.5 million in funding this year, triple what they have seen in previous years according to the numbers The Inquirer has. This particular technology offers densities in the terabytes per chip, storage which requires no active power source once written to and data retention of over 1,000 years at 85 degrees Celsius. The speeds should match those expected from STT-RAM but at a fabrication price closer to the much lower cost RRAM; don't hold off buying your next SSD but do not think that market is going to get boring any time soon.
"It got $31.5m in an over-subscribed round to continue developing its nanotube-based non-volatile RAM (NRAM) semiconductor technology, which it says has DRAM read/write speed and is ultra-high density – think terabits."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- AMD's Next Generation Graphics Architecture; The Recipe for Success @ Hardware Canucks
- Linux Mint 17.1: Simplicity at Its Best @ Linux.com
- Microsoft, IBM and ARM back new centralised patent ownership database @ The Inquirer
- Bethesda Unveils New Doom Game, Announces Dishonored 2 @ Slashdot
- Windows Server 2003 end of life is less than a month away @ The Inquirer
- Hey kids, who wants to pwn a million BIOSes? @ The Register
- ISP Level 3 goes TITSUP after giganto traffic routing blunder @ The Register
Many thanks for the
Many thanks for the follow-up, Jeremy.
> STT-MRAM, spin transfer torque magnetoresistive random access memory, is Toshiba’s project and while we still haven’t seen any product it has been in development for more than 3 years and news of prototypes should arrive soon.
I believe Everspin is now in production with their ST-MRAM products:
Thanks for the links, I have
Thanks for the links, I have posted about Crossbar before and it is a very interesting product.
Many thanks, Jeremy: please
Many thanks, Jeremy: please come with me on a thought experiment, just for a moment or two.
When we SHUTDOWN current PCs, RAM powers down too and we lose all binary digits previously loaded into RAM. Then, when we STARTUP again, we need to read the entire OS from a storage subsystem and load that OS into RAM again.
If UEFI BIOS subsystems can be enhanced with a “Format RAM” option, and when that Formatted RAM is a reliable Non-Volatile Memory, we can do a clean install of that OS just once, and that OS should remain memory-resident.
Of course, for redundancy, it will be wise to clone “images” of that memory-resident OS, as a fast way of recovering from data corruption that may occur with OS files e.g. virus or malware.
In fact, there may be a speed advantage that results from adding another UEFI option that allows us to BOOT using a cloned “image” as a single input file when re-loading RAM. Proper experimentation will surely address that issue.
Another big advantage of this thought experiment is that we can switch such a PC completely OFF, and then switch it back ON again, and we should find ourselves right where we left it e.g. at the Windows Desktop.
The one big barrier to this particular experiment, presently, is that very large amounts of RAM are usually not available in workstation-class PCs. But, that barrier no longer exists for large server motherboards.
Maybe all we need is a little time, and PCs with 256GB-to-1,024GB of NVRAM will become commonplace and affordable?
As it turns out, the availability of NVRAM still has the potential to revolutionize PCs, even if a “Format RAM” option is not available in the UEFI, and even if PC RAM capacities remain between 32GB and 64GB. We should still be able to switch OFF, then switch back ON, and find ourselves back at the Desktop, just like a light switch.
Thanks for traveling with me 🙂
An expert you should speak
An expert you should speak with is Jeff Chang:
“The NVDIMM SIG was formed to accelerate the awareness and adoption of NVDIMMs,” stated Jeff Chang, Co-Chair of the SNIA NVDIMM SIG.
He’s presently at AgigA Tech: