Earlier this week Dutch manufacturer Numonyx BV – a joint venture between chip giant Intel Corp. and ST Microelectronics – have revealed their first series of Phase Change Memory devices. Phase Change Memory [or more commonly referred to as PCM, PRAM, PCRAM or C-RAM] could significantly increase performance and endurance for consumer electronics, PCs and other embedded applications.
Phase Change Memory is a type of non-volatile memory technology – similar to NAND Flash circtuits – that uses the physical behavior of chalcogenide glass to switch between crystalline and amorphous states, and is capable of retaining data even when not powered. PCM chips work well for both executing code and storing large amounts of data, giving it a superset of the capabilities of both flash memory and dynamic random access memory.
Acccording to Numonyx BV today’s new products feature write speeds of up to 300 times faster and ten times more endurance than current Flash memory on the market.
Properties of chalcogenide glasses were initially explored for potential memory usage back in the 1960s, and Gordon Moore – Intel co-founder – also published an article on the technology in September 1970. More recently, during IDF 2006, Intel previewed PCM technology as potential replacement for NAND Flash memory.
“Not since flash memory was introduced in 1988 has the industry seen a new, high-density memory technology,” said Glen Hawk, Numonyx Vice President and General Manager of the Embedded Business Group. “Today, designers have to use different memory types for code storage and execution, as well as data storage. Now, with Numonyx Omneo PCM, they have a simple, one-device solution.”
Original Author: Thomas Jørgen Jacobsen
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