IBM technology could replace RAM and flash memory to make smartphones faster

IBM technology could replace RAM and flash memory to make smartphones faster
A report that was published on Tuesday/ reveals that IBM Research has developed an optical storage technology that might replace RAM and flash storage in future smartphones. Called Phase-Change Memory (PCM), it had been considered too expensive to consider using in mobile devices such as a smartphone. The technology uses electric current to write and read data from amorphous glass.

PCM has been used in optical disks and other technology for over 15-years. IBM has not only figured out a way to reduce cost, it also devised a method to save 3-bits of data per cell even in higher ambient temperatures. Demonstrated on Tuesday at the IEEE International Memory Workshop in Paris, this will lower the cost of PCM so that it will rival flash and be cheaper than DRAM.

Unlike RAM, PCM does not lose data when it is powered off. PCM and flash could be teamed up to produce a lightening fast cache. As an example, IBM says that a handset's operating system could be stored in PCM, allowing a device to boot-up in seconds.


We don't know what the future holds for PCM, but based on what we know now, this could change the way that data is stored and is called up on future handsets, making it faster for users to access information that they need.



source: IBM via Engadget

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10 Comments

1. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

DO IT DO IT

3. Podrick

Posts: 1285; Member since: Aug 19, 2015

Yes! Hopefully it comes to the market soon.

4. siddharthayadav202

Posts: 286; Member since: Apr 23, 2016

So no demerits? Then why is futute not clear? Maybe a rumour will now come that iPhone 8 will use PCM. Typical iPhone rumours.

6. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

"As an example, IBM says that a handset's operating system could be stored in PCM, allowing a device to boot-up in seconds." Wonder if it's faster than current NVME SSDs (another form of flash storage, right?). Takes a meh 8-15 seconds to boot up my Surface Pro 2 on Windows 10 Pro, if this tech is actually faster, I'd imagine that'll drop boot time to below 3 seconds, over 3000% faster bootup than my 2008 HP Laptop was with Vista on default hardware (~1:30 secs, with Windows 8.1.1 and now 10, it dropped to ~25 seconds). Will be very welcome in a Surface Phone.

8. hemedans

Posts: 761; Member since: Jun 01, 2013

Intel and micron they have 3d xpoint (optane) which has already been anounced 2015. According to them optane is stable and faster than pcm. optane will replace both Ram and Internal storage of devices, and it is faster than nand used in ssd http://www.anandtech.com/show/9470/intel-and-micron-announce-3d-xpoint-nonvolatile-memory-technology-1000x-higher-performance-endurance-than-nand

9. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

Oh, wow, thanks for sharing.

11. Punchy506

Posts: 129; Member since: Jan 10, 2016

The article says that it's not meant to replace either dram or nand but that it's a new tier of memory meant to complement the others. It is faster and has more longevity than nand, but nand is both cheaper and denser. It is less power hungry, cheaper and more dense than dram and can hold data while off, but dram has more longevity and is faster. It has benefits, but the reason we've had dram and nand so long is that they are true champions in their niches.

10. Punchy506

Posts: 129; Member since: Jan 10, 2016

Imagine how fast a device could boot a useful well written OS!

13. vincelongman

Posts: 5750; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

It will be easily faster than NVME SSDs NVME SSDs still use MLC NAND, a DRAM cache and maybe a SLC NAND cache This is Phase Change Memory (PCM), targeted at competing with Intel's upcoming 3D Xpoint memory Basically Slowest->Fastest TLC NAND->MLC NAND->SLC NAND->PCM/3D Xpoint->DRAM PCM/3D Xpoint are supposed to be close to DRAM in terms of speed and durability (i.e. number of writes), but with close to NAND density (i.e. GB/mm^2) NAND is used for system storage and DRAM is used for system memory (RAM) In the future we may have a unified system storage and memory, using PCM/3D Xpoint with DRAM cache

12. emmawilliam834

Posts: 241; Member since: Feb 09, 2016

When will they commercialize it?

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