Perfect RAM flash memory opens the way to faster devices

Perfect RAM flash memory opens the way to faster devices

Summary: Yesterday Samsung announced a working prototype of what it calls Phase-change Random Access Memory (PRAM) flash memory, nicknamed "Perfect RAM", amid claims that they expect PRAM to replace high-density NOR flash memory within a decade.

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TOPICS: Hardware
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Yesterday Samsung announced a working prototype of what it calls Phase-change Random Access Memory (PRAM) flash memory, nicknamed "Perfect RAM", amid claims that they expect PRAM to replace high-density NOR flash memory within a decade. 

The prototype has a capacity of 512 Mbit (64MB) so it doesn't represent any kind of hike in storage just yet (although greater capacities are bound to follow down the line) but what's exciting about PRAM is that it's 30-times faster than existing flash memory technology.  It achieves these speeds in part because it can write data without first having to erase previously written data.  To top off these consumer benefits, PRAM has greater read/write lifespan, by up to 10 times!  What we don't have yet is any information on power consumption, since this is aimed at devices that run off batteries, the lower the power consumption the better.

Perfect RAM also offers manufacturing benefits too.  Manufacturing PRAM takes roughly 20% fewer steps compared to NOR flash RAM, meaning it will be much cheaper to produce (although don't expect this technology to be cheap when it first hits the market).

I must admit I’m very excited about this!  Since PRAM has a speed that's close to that of the RAM in your PC, it means that a PC fitted with PRAM could be capable of hibernating instantly without writing the contents of memory to hard disk.  PRAM could also replace hard drives with low-power consumption flash memory devices.  This could revolutionize how we work with desktop and laptop PCs.

Topic: Hardware

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11 comments
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  • Looks good but...

    [b]PRAM has greater read/write lifespan, by up to 10 times![/b]

    I will take this part with a grain of salt. When CD-R's first came out they touted something like a 100 year life span, then backpedaled and said it was more like 10*.

    Now if they can get the capacity up and replace the clunky hard drives with these we will have computing nirvana. Well, almost. Still need better OS's.

    * Pulled these numbers out of the air as I don't quite remember the stated numbers, but you get the drift.
    nECrO_z
    • * More like 2-5 years.

      * That's what an article from [url=http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,124312/article.html]PC World[/url] points out. That's because of media degredation causes the bits to "shift" around.

      PRAM's claims of 10x longer lifespan may be valid since it has no moving parts (we hope), but let's wait until the CNet test crews can verify these claims.
      Mr. Roboto
      • OK

        I'll buy that, but CD's have no moving parts either. Or did I miss something?*

        *possible. I am quite drunk!
        nECrO_z
  • Take a breath Adrian!

    First point: Prototype!
    Second point: 64MB!
    Third point: Up to 10 times longer life-span!
    Fourth point: ..."amid claims that they expect PRAM to replace high-density NOR flash memory within a decade."

    My point: When I see !!!! in the story and your unbounded enthusiasm it reminds me of the stories in Popular Mechanics of personal flying vehicles within 20 years!

    Bless your enthusiasm!
    bony tryan
    • Must be young

      I remeber when a good sized hard drive was 40 MB. Still have a couple on the shelf if you want proof.
      dumbfuer
      • Oh, please...

        My Kaypro 10 was called that because it had a 10mb drive, and that was BIG STUFF in a personal computer at that time.
        editor@...
        • Showing my age

          Hah! My first drive was a full hight 5MB drive. And by full hight, I mean 5 1/4 in. by two bays tall (same size as my floppy drive). I remember repairing it by tracing the read head circuit with an O-scope and replacing discreate components. Didn't just replace failed drives back then!

          Jeff
          jgroetsema@...
          • Uphill . . .

            both ways in the snow. ^_^

            Yeah I had one of those monsters too. Don't look back to wistfully.
            zclayton2
      • Remember "DoubleSpace"

        Now that was cool.
        Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
    • Hey!

      I get excitable about some things!!! :-)
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
  • Catch your breath Adrian

    Wow, I finished reading this and felt as though I had just seen one of those informercials with that guy in the question mark suit touting free government money.

    Your enthusiasm is great, but 'revolutionize'? Sounds more like faster startups and less power. Not that I wouldn't appreciate a nearly instant-on PC or a notebook that ran for several hours on battery power.
    cyanblade