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Wednesday, 07 August 2013 07:01

Flash memory could be replaced by RRAM

Written by Nick Farrell



Going the way of the Dodo

A company claims it's close to bringing resistive RAM (RRAM), the tech touted to kill off Flash RAM, to the shops. Crossbar claims it has smashed the technical barriers that have stopped RRAM from becoming a commercial reality. RRAM technology promises 20 times the write performance at a fraction of the power consumption and size of the current best-in-class NAND flash modules.

Crossbar adds that its technology can retain data for up to 20 years, compared with the standard one to three years with NAND flash. According to the company it has achieved a "simple and scalable" memory cell structure, consisting of three layers.
The structure means cells can be stacked in 3D, squeezing terabytes of storage capacity onto a single chip. If Crossbar gets its way there will be a wave of faster enterprise and consumer devices with huge memory capacity.

CEO George Minassian said that a Crossbar array has achieved all the major technical milestones that prove our RRAM technology is easy to manufacture and ready for commercialisation. He claimed that it was a watershed for the non-volatile memory industry. Obviously RRAM will take down the NAND flash market, which is used in SSDs because it solves the problem of limited write life.

RRAM stores bits by creating resistance rather than storing electrical charges. That requires less energy consumption and, depending on the material used, means more write life and capacity. While the technology has been there barriers to commercial development entail achieving the speed, endurance and retention of other memory technologies.

Crossbar still faces the issue of making its chips, but the company did say it had built a working prototype, in readiness for the first wave of production.

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