Non-volatile MRAM coming to servers in early 2017

Everspin says it has 256Mbit chippery ready to roll to system builders

Everspin's perpendicular magnetic tunnel junction (pMTJ) based ST-MRAM
Everspin's perpendicular magnetic tunnel junction (pMTJ) based ST-MRAM

Non-volatile RAM outfit Everspin says it's almost ready to ship non-volatile 256-megabit DDR3 chips and expects they'll soon find a home in your next server or array.

256 megabits is just 32 megabytes, which doesn't sound worthy of a DIMM slot even if, as Everspin claims, its kit can sustain writes 100,000 times faster than is possible with NAND flash. The company thinks there are some applications where users will find that speed irresistible, but CEO Phill LoPresti told The Register that for now the main market for the product is system builders.

Today, LoPresti said, system builders use supercapacitors to help data move from RAM to flash. The CEO thinks server-makers will appreciate the possibilities of non-volatile RAM as an alternative, both because it offers better protection than supercaps and also because it is faster. 256Mb is enough for data-shuttling roles, he reckons, so will be worth a DIMM slot.

Everspin is sampling the product now, so server-makers can start to play with it at their convenience. LoPresti said he thinks it may find friends among manufacturers of RAID controllers, too.

The CEO thinks Everspin can win such customers without butting heads with Intel, as Chipzilla has promised it will start to make money from its own non-volatile RAM, 3D Xpoint. LoPresti told us Intel will do well as a replacement for flash or other disk, but that it's not as well suited to write cacheing as Everspin's tunnel junction based ST-MRAM.

Everspin didn't name any server-makers who've bought into its plans for the new product, but can point to IBM's use of its earlier products in POWER 8 systems. ®

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