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Everspin's new gig: a gig or two of non-volatile RAM on PCIe

Smaller than Optane, but faster and perhaps a bit immortal too

Non-volatile memory outfit Everspin's popped some of its Spin Torque MRAM onto a PCIe card in the hope system builders get excited about a new tier of memory. Or is it a new tier of storage?

The first of the new “nvNITRO E” range will be a half-height, half-length PCIe card that can operate as an NVMe solid state disk, or as memory mapped IO (MMIO).

The company thinks it has two shots at glory with this stuff, one with those of you who just like raw speed. The cards claim 1,500,000 IOPS with six microsecond end-to-end latency, making them rather useful in scenarios like high-frequency trading where the odd microsecond can be the difference between profitability and purgatory.

The second other is with system builders, as Everspin thinks they're tired of building supercapacitors and batteries into servers and storage arrays to make sure conventional RAM has enough juice to survive hiccups in the slices of time data passes from memory to solid state disks. The idea is that MRAM can allow the construction of denser and cooler-running data centre devices. The company's working on M.2 and U.2 versions of the product, too, because even a half-size PCIe device is too large for dense devices.

The PCIe devices will offer one or two gigabytes. Future products will range from 512MB to 8GB. All are under development, but the PCIe stuff is close enough to ready that it's in the hands of brave customers. As is Intel's Optane, we think in rather larger chunks of 375 GB on the same-sized card. Everspin asserts its product is rather faster than Intel's 10 µs and, critically, that you can read and write to it all you like without the prospect of the medium degrading.

The company's also struck a deal with FPGA outfit Xilinx to get the latter's RAM driver talking to Everspin MRAM. It's hoped that will see those who build around FPGAs excited about non-volatile memory. ®

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