Faster Than RAM With The Price Tag Of Flash
Earlier this month, tech giant IBM announced a more efficient way to use phase-change memory. This new method is a breakthrough with the potential to transition electronic devices from standard RAM and flash to the much faster and more reliable phase-change memory, or PCM. Phase-change memory is a type of non-volatile optical storage that manipulates the behavior of chalcogenide glass, the same method of data storage on rewriteable Blue-ray disks. Electric current applied to the PCM cells enables a binary modification from amorphous to crystalline structure which is the equivalent of a 0 or a 1 for the purpose of memory storage.
In the past, PCM’s limited capacity and high cost have been barriers to its widespread use but the recent discovery by IBM researchers was a way to triple the storage amount per cell. By operating the cells at high temperatures and studying the cells’ reactions, 3 bits were able to be stored per cell instead of 1. Haris Pozidis, an IBM manager of non-volatile memory research writes, ” The jump is significant because at this density, the cost of PCM will be significantly less than DRAM and closer to flash.”
Applications range from full replacement to a variety of hybrid options to maximize speeds and minimize costs. Additionally, even cloud-based artificial intelligence applications could benefit from PCM. Machine learning algorithms using massive datasets will also see speed boosts by reducing the latency overhead. Compared to flash which can withstand about 3,000 write cycles, PCM can withstand up to 10 million cycles, making it an industry-changing technology for data centers.
Our partners over at Nexcopy provide excellent flash memory and make sure to pass on the benefits of low cost flash memory and data duplication to their customers. They have also been watching the prices and development of phase-change memory closely and are working to develop a duplicator designed for, and utilizing, PCM technology as soon as it’s available.