Everspin to show world's fastest SSD

Non-volatile RAM -- NVRAM for short -- is the Next Big Thing in digital storage. Everspin has announced that the industry's first Perpendicular Magnetic Tunnel Junction chip is now shipping. The company will demo the worlds's fastest SSD using it next week.
Written by Robin Harris, Contributor

The Golden -- and non-volatile -- Gate.

Photo by Robin Harris

NVRAM is important because today's non-volatile solutions rely either on the flash memory used in SSDs -- which is slow and easily worn out -- or backing up DRAM with batteries or supercapacitors, both of which add cost and complexity. A small amount of NVRAM can simplify many data integrity problems.

Everspin's magnetic RAM

Which is good for Everspin since the company's new chip is 32MB (256 Mbit). But what it lacks in capacity, it makes up for in performance.

The read and write latency is similar to DRAM, which is far better than flash, and the endurance -- the number of writes it can take -- is many orders of magnitude better than flash. The high endurance means that this NVRAM can be placed close to the CPU -- on the memory bus or PCIe. Flash requires too much coddling for such demanding service.

Next week, at the Flash Memory Summit, Everspin will demo what it bills as the world's fastest SSD, a single PCIe card capable of 1.5 million random 4k writes per second. Since most flash SSD-based arrays can't manage 1 million reads per second, yeah, it's fast.

The future

Everspin has been shipping NVRAM chips for eight years. The company's new chip is based on a 40nm process, and Everspin expects it can go to 1Gbit with a 28nm process soon and, eventually, much higher capacities with smaller geometries.

The Storage Bits take

Everspin's NVRAM isn't going to replace flash. What it is doing is offering system architects another creative opportunity.

This NVRAM can be integrated into processors, FPGAs, ASICs, motherboards, SSDs, and as a storage system accelerator. Its high performance, endurance, power consumption -- no refreshes -- mean it will find a place in future storage systems.

Non-volatile flash has revolutionized data storage in the last 10 years. Everspin, along with Intel, Nantero, Crossbar, and others building different flavors of NVRAM, are ensuring that the next decade is even more amazing.

Courteous comments welcome, of course.

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