IBM celebrates memory breakthrough with Phase-Change
Simon Telford / 5 years ago
IBM has announced that it has for the first time created stable multi-bit phase-change memory. Which is already said to be 100 times faster than flash.
PCM (Phase-Change Memory) has been under development for decades but this is the first time it has been capable of storing more than a single bit per cell. Like MLC Flash chips, multi-bit PCM is able to store two bits per cell, which gives a sizeable improvement in memory density.
Where phase-change memory improves upon Flash is its speed and durability. IBM’s worst-case latency that they observed was around 10 microseconds, which is 100 times faster than flash memory (at its best). As well as this Flash tops out at some 3,000 write cycles per cell (30,000 writes at an enterprise grade) whereas IBM quotes that the PCM is good for over 10 million write cycles.
According to Dr. Haris Pozidis, Manager of Memory and Probe Technologies at IBM Research:
“By demonstrating a multi-bit phase-change memory technology which achieves for the first time reliability levels akin to those required for enterprise applications, we made a big step towards enabling practical memory devices based on multi-bit PCM.
Despite having made this break through IBM is not looking to create any products itself, but rather look license patents to third parties. Even so, they don’t expect any products featuring PCM before 2016 and by then maybe Flash will have been improved to a similar standard.