emory. This is a new type of data storage being developed by IBM
and Infineon Technologies
that promises to provide nonvolatile solid state
low-latency random access
, while reaching data storage densities
comparable to hard drives
. It is one of the first products of a new field of technological development known as spintronics
MRAM chips will significantly decrease the power consumption of computers, since they don't need an electrical refresh to retain their binary values. Each bit in the memory is stored magnetically rather than via an electrical charge. It also can be produced in data densities similiar or exceeding that of hard drives. If hard drives are replaced by this technology it would also knock the power consumption of computers down significantly (especially laptops).
MRAM also is much faster than current nonvolatile "flash memory" storage mediums (which can be measured in milliseconds rather than nanoseconds), even theoretically capable of exceeding the speed of DRAM, since a data access doesn't need to wait on an recharge cycle.
Some people project that since MRAM is as fast as DRAM, and can theoretically be produced to store quantities of data comparable to a hard drive, that future computers utilizing this memory technology will do away with hard disks altogether and just store everything (including all of your files) in MRAM (remember, it's nonvolatile).
Interesting stuff. I hope it succeeds.
I just found this on a website related to spintronics
, which goes into some detail on how MRAM works:
It is possible to make a sandwich of gold atoms between two thin films of magnetic material that will act as a filter or valve that only permits electrons in one of the two states to pass. The filter can be changed from one state to the other using a brief and tiny burst of current. From this simple device it's hoped to make incredibly tiny chips that will act as super-fact memories whose contents will survive loss of power.