SK Hynix, IBM form chip development alliance

Korean chipmaker and Big Blue to develop phase-change random access memory (PcRAM), a non-volatile chip that can store high data volumes, amid rising popularity of mobile devices.

SK Hynix has formed an alliance with IBM to develop phase-change random access memory (PcRAM), which is considered to be the next generation of memory chips and capable of storing high data volumes.

According to Song Hyeon-jeong, head of the SK Hynix's future strategy office in the Korea Times on Sunday, the collaboration will help the Korean chip manufacturer strengthen its capabilities to better compete with rivals in next-generation chips. PcRAM is a non-volatile memory chip which uses the property of chalcogenide glass to switch between both states, and is touted to be able to store a lot of data but is slower than convential dynamic random access-memory (DRAM) chip.

The alliance also reflects efforts to develop advanced chips in light of the rising popularity of smartphones and tablets. SK Hynix said it was unable to survive with existing chips--NAND flash and DRAM--which were expected to be obsolete in a few years, the report noted. 

As the chip-making structure of PcRAM was simple, the company said it would save on manufacturing as PcRAM applications would need the corresponding phase-change process to be induced by an electricial current and a significant-higher packing density of information.

SK Hynix since last year also had been working with Japanese chipmaker, Toshiba, on the development of magnetoresistive random access memory (MRAM), which is able to pack memory in a denser manner, according to a seperate report by the Korea Times. The Korean chipmaker had been developing resistive random access memory (ReRAM) with Hewlett-Packard (HP) since 2010, which was found to store twice as much data and use less energy than flash memory.