Crossbar Claims its Resistive RAM is Capable of Storing 1 Terabyte on a Single Chip, 20x Faster than NAND

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News Posted: Tue, Aug 6 2013 4:53 PM

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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Joel H replied on Tue, Aug 6 2013 5:05 PM

Keep in mind that the version of the tech they've actually *built* to date holds 1MB.

Those 1TB claims are...long-term. And while I think it's absolutely true that we'll eventually be able to build 1TB of storage in a chip, we'll have 1TB NAND by the same point.

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The BUS speed on the RAM is always going to be the biggest limiting factor. It doesn't matter if you've got 16 GB or 1 TB if you can only access it at the same ol' rate. Without a radical BUS speed increase you'd never be able to use that much RAM--it'd take half an hour just to load in that much data.

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JenniferSnow:

The BUS speed on the RAM is always going to be the biggest limiting factor. It doesn't matter if you've got 16 GB or 1 TB if you can only access it at the same ol' rate. Without a radical BUS speed increase you'd never be able to use that much RAM--it'd take half an hour just to load in that much data.

While I fully approve and hope to see this tech expand to the point where they lay their future claims of 1 TB per chip, I am mostly in agreement with you, Jennifer. Current market BUS speeds are far behind where they need to be. Improvements in RAM have mostly been (until recently) about capacity while improvements in CPU's have mostly been on the speed and core strength side. Even with aggressive and terribly cost-inefficient LN2 cooling, RAM only barely breaks 2000 MHz. While this is an effective speed of over 4000 MHz, that's where CPU's are at with air cooling and minimal OC. Until DDR4 SDRAM is profitable, it will just sit on a wishlist for enthusiasts and prevent any real speed growth.

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I would be happy with 8GB of this

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What are you people talking about?! You do realise that this is a replacement for NAND flash, not system ram. It is for the storage system.

Please read the story before posting a comment that has nothing to do with it.

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