Thursday, December 23, 2010

#CHIPS: "IBM 'racetrack' memory enters home stretch"

IBM's racetrack memory aims to replace flash and hard disks with a solid-state microchip that is faster and denser that traditonal mass storage devices. Look for racetrack memories to make their commercial debut as flash substitutes in five to seven years. R. Colin Johnson, Kyoto Prize Fellow @NextGenLog

IBM 's racetrack memory moves magnetic domains along a nanowire where they "race" around the "track." IBM plans to embed billions of nanowires into silicon chips to store hundreds of times more information on a chip than even the densest disk drives hold today.

Here is what my story in EETimes says about racetrack memories: The odd thing about magnetic spin is that it does not displace atoms, allowing walled domains on hard disks to switch between "1" and "0" without the fatigue mechanisms that eventually wear-out flash bit cells. Unfortunately, solid-state nonvolatile memories like flash, ferroelectric and even experimental resistive RAMs have limited lifetimes, according to IBM, which claims its racetrack memory combines the advantages of solid-state memories with the access mechanism of a hard disk drive.
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