By Richi Jennings (@richi).
IBM (NYSE:IBM) Research is previewing nonvolatile, faster, longer-lasting memory. It's announced a way to make reliable multi-level cell (MLC) phase-change memory (PCM) that's 100x faster than today's NAND flash memory, uses less energy, and lasts 300x longer.
- On the one hand, that sounds just the thing to replace my broken SSD.
- On The Other Hand, we'll have to wait a few years before it's on the market.
Plus, today's skateboarding duck: Stabbing burglars will be legal...
Lucas Mearian reports:
IBM said it has produced phase-change memory ... that can store two bits of data per cell without data corruption problems. ... Like NAND flash memory ... PCM is nonvolatile -- meaning it retains data after its power supply is shut down. ... Unlike NAND flash, PCM memory does not require ... erase-write cycle[s] [which] slow NAND flash performance and, over time, wear it out.
PCM can sustain up to 5 million write cycles, according to IBM. ... PCM may also serve as an extension for DRAM. ... DRAM is also expected to hit a technical wall ... when it reaches lithography sizes of between 20-30 nanometers. ... PCM uses electrical charges to change areas on a glassy material from crystalline to random. ... The technique uses far less power than NAND flash to store data. ... IBM scientists achieved a worst-case write latency ... which represents a 100x performance increase over even the most advanced flash memory.
Timothy Prickett-Morgan adds:
Boffins at IBM Research in Zurich, Switzerland, think they have come up with a ... technique that will allow for ... MLC phase change memory to be commercialized. ... [It's] based on an interesting goop called chalcogenide compounds.
The trick that IBM Research has come up with is a clever algorithm that allows for the data to be encoded ... and then to read the data in a relative fashion for blocks of data. ... The bit error rate is below 1 in 10,000 using a two-level cell PCM chip, which is well within the realm of error ... correction. ... The gap between the amorphous and crystalline levels ... is wide enough that IBM believes it will be able to do three or four levels of encoding.
IBM's boffins have been able to show that a two-level PCM memory chip ... could be read after 156 days.
But when, Dean Takahash?
These multi-bit phase-change memory chips could transform enterprise computing and storage by around 2016. ... [They're] lower cost, faster, and more durable.
IBM scientists say they used advanced modulation coding techniques to get rid of ... changes [in] resistance levels in chip circuitry over time [which] cause data read errors. ... IBM presented a paper on the topic at the 3rd IEEE International Memory Workshop in Monterey, Calif.
Meanwhile, Sharif Sakr quips:
Combine this with Intel's promised 50Gbps interconnect ... and data will start flowing faster than booze from an open bar on the boss's tab.
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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. His writing has previously won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.