Saturday, August 14, 2010

Recent developments

Several new types of non-volatile RAM, which will preserve data while powered down, are under development. The technologies used includecarbon nanotubes and approaches utilizing the magnetic tunnel effect. Amongst the 1st generation MRAM, a 128 KiB (128 × 210 bytes)magnetic RAM (MRAM) chip was manufactured with 0.18 µm technology in the summer of 2003. In June 2004, Infineon Technologiesunveiled a 16 MiB (16 × 220 bytes) prototype again based on 0.18 µm technology. There are two 2nd generation techniques currently in development: Thermal Assisted Switching (TAS)[3] which is being developed by Crocus Technology, and Spin Torque Transfer (STT) on whichCrocus, Hynix, IBM, and several other companies are working[4]. Nantero built a functioning carbon nanotube memory prototype 10 GiB(10 × 230 bytes) array in 2004. Whether some of these technologies will be able to eventually take a significant market share from either DRAM, SRAM, or flash-memory technology, however, remains to be seen.

Since 2006, "Solid-state drives" (based on flash memory) with capacities exceeding 64 gigabytes and performance far exceeding traditional disks have become available. This development has started to blur the definition between traditional random access memory and "disks", dramatically reducing the difference in performance. There is also active research in the field of plastic magnets, which switch magnetic polarities based on light.[citation needed]

Some kinds of random-access memory, such as "EcoRAM", are specifically designed for server farms, where low power consumption is more important than speed. [5]

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