IBM resurrects 1970s memory technology

Magnetic attraction

IBM and Infineon are jointly to develop a memory technology dating from the 1970s that could significantly increase the battery life of portable computing devices and help the spread of 'instant-on' PCs.

Magnetic Random Access Memory (MRAM) uses magnetic charges to store data and the two companies claim commercial products could appear by 2004. MRAM is non-volatile, faster and uses less power than standard memory, it is claimed.

IBM developed a technology called the magnetic tunnel junction back in 1974, eventually adapting it for use in data storage and built a prototype MRAM chip in 1998.

About 80 IBM and Infineon engineers will work on the project at IBM labs across the US. ®