It's been quite the week for memory. Last Friday, we learned that Micron absorbed Elpida, and just earlier today, Samsung showed off its "3D" vertical NAND flash memory. Now, we have potentially the most interesting story of them all, coming to us from start-up Crossbar. The company claims that it has developed the world's most advanced non-volatile memory, capable of storing up to 1TB on a single chip. Mind-blowing, to say the least.
It gets better. This memory also touts being the most energy-efficient, being able to perform 20x faster than traditional NAND, has 10x the endurance of typical NAND (arguably the most important factor here) and has the "easiest SoC integration".
The technology is called "Resistive RAM", or RRAM, and with a mere 200mm2 chip, 1TB of storage can be held. That's 250 HD movies (4GB per) and over 100,000 high-resolution images (10MB per).
With RRAM, the future of mechanical storage really does appear grim, but that assumes that Crossbar will be able to deliver on its promises, and that prices are going to eventually become reasonable. Today's hard drives top out at 4TB, and if a single chip here can hold 1TB, and at 100x the performance of a mechanical drive, things are going to become very, very interesting. It seems at that point, our processors and other hardware will become a major bottleneck - a total flip-flop from where we were prior to the advent of SSDs.
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