Feeds

Micron: Hot DRAM. We don't need no steenkin' PCM

How 3D saved us from the Incredible Shrinking NAND

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Micron has reportedly withdrawn Phase Change Memory (PCM) products from its portfolio.

Electronics360 says Micron has removed “128-Mbit 90nm serial and parallel NOR pin-out PCM devices from the products listed on its website".

Sure enough we couldn’t find them there. Micron once supplied 45nm 1-Gbit PCM chips to Nokia for use in its mobile phones, and was the first to put PCM into mass production. This was Micron’s first generation PCM part. It announced a second gen 512Mbit part in December 2012.

PCM, a type of non-volatile memory, relies on a characteristic of chalcogenide materials: their ability to change from a crystalline to an amorphous structure through the application of electrical current. The two resulting states have different resistance levels and these can be used to signal a binary digit value.

PCM isn’t addressed in blocks and is faster than NAND. It is positioned as a potential post-NAND successor when flash process technology cannot be shrunk further, roughly beyond 15-10nm. But it seems that point has not yet been reached.

Micron PCM blog

Micron PCM blog 13 Jan 2013. This time last year it had high hopes...

A Micron blog about PCM from this time last year says that, after 10 years of PCM research and development, “we can now produce PCM in high volumes, with industry-standard yield, high performance, and high reliability.”

But it seems that just 12 months after the blog was written, 3D NAND has saved it from a 180˚ turn towards PCM. Although Micron now says it is working on a "follow-on process", no PCM products appear to be currently available for purchase.

In an email to Electronics360, a Micron spokesperson said: "Micron's previous two generations of PCM process technologies are not available for new designs or technology evaluation, as the company is focused on developing a follow-on process to achieve lower cost per bit, lower power and higher performance."

A search on PCM on Micron’s site reveals this PCM page, which states: “Micron continues innovating with PCM. After two generations of PCM process technologies, we’re developing a follow-on process to achieve lower cost per bit, lower power, and higher performance. PCM is one of several emerging memory technologies that Micron is investing in.”

Micron's latest 3D NAND project, however, is seemingly ready for rollout. The technology aims to extend the life of 2D or planar NAND technology by placing multiple layers of it on a single chip, creating a 3D structure. It hopes to start production sampling of 3D NAND chips in the second quarter of this year, with general availability happening some time in 2015.

This would increase the capacity of NAND chips, a significant reason why NAND process geometry shrinks have been pursued.

Of course, using the 3D NAND process means the firm does not have to undergo the expense of a wholesale move to PCM production technology and testing equipment. This may be the underlying reason for the (temporary) withdrawal from PCM tech by Micron. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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
Microsoft and Dell’s cloud in a box: Instant Azure for the data centre
A less painful way to run Microsoft’s private cloud
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
AWS pulls desktop-as-a-service from the PC
Support for PCoIP protocol means zero clients can run cloudy desktops
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.