Feeds

Samsung ships phase-change memory for mobes

Throws NOR out for PRAM

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Samsung is shipping phase-change memory in a multi-chip package (MCP) as a NOR replacement for mobile phones.

Phase-change memory involves storing binary digits as different levels of resistance caused by phase changes in an alloy of germanium, antimony and titanium. The phase changes from amorphous to crystalline and back again.

The firm calls its phase-change product PRAM (Programmable RAM) and it combines the non-volatile nature of flash memory with the high-speed capability of DRAM. That's high-speed compared to flash, rather than modern DRAM.

NOR memory is pretty slow compared to Samsung's 60nm PRAM, which is claimed to provide three-times faster data storage performance per word than NOR chips.

Samsung's PRAM is 512Mbits and is backwards-compatible with 40nm-class NOR flash memory in both its hardware and software functionality.

Dong-soo Jun, Samsung Electronics' EVP for Memory Sales and Marketing, said: "Our PRAM MCP will not only enable handset designers to utilise conventional platforms, but expedite the introduction of LPDDR2 DRAM and next-generation PRAM technology as the leading-edge basis for high-performance solutions."

Numonyx, which is being bought by Micron, is the other main phase-change memory developer. It recently announced a 90nm process, 128Mbit product. Samsung expects to move to a 30nm process some time in the near future, and then progress beyond that.

The firm expects PRAM to be widely embraced by next year as the successor to NOR flash in consumer electronics designs, and to become a major memory technology. Samsung is continuing development of faster PRAM write speeds, seeing that as essential for spreading PRAM's market scope into product classes such as MP3 players, personal multimedia players, navigational devices, solid state drives and HDTVs.

It is also hoped by phase-change memory developers that it will succeed NAND flash, which stops being viable once the process size gets down below the 20nm level. The precise cross-over point is not known. HP has its competing Memristor technology, but this is still in development and HP is probably looking for a partner to take the technology and fabricate chips using it.

This is likely to be a multi-year effort and Memristor products will come to a market, if they come, in 2013 or later. By then phase-change memory chips could be shipping in some volume from two competing suppliers. This will give HP and its potential partner a pricing problem unless they have an overwhelming performance advantage. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
It's Big, it's Blue... it's simply FABLESS! IBM's chip-free future
Or why the reversal of globalisation ain't gonna 'appen
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
Bitcasa bins $10-a-month Infinite storage offer
Firm cites 'low demand' plus 'abusers'
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
CAGE MATCH: Microsoft, Dell open co-located bit barns in Oz
Whole new species of XaaS spawning in the antipodes
Microsoft and Dell’s cloud in a box: Instant Azure for the data centre
A less painful way to run Microsoft’s private cloud
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.