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posted by martyb on Monday January 10, @11:02PM   Printer-friendly
from the computers-without-Alzheimers-department dept.

Mass production of revolutionary computer memory moves closer with ULTRARAM™ on silicon wafers for the first time

ULTRARAM™ is a novel type of memory with extraordinary properties. It combines the non-volatility of a data storage memory, like flash, with the speed, energy-efficiency and endurance of a working memory, like DRAM. To do this it utilises the unique properties of compound semiconductors, commonly used in photonic devices such as LEDS, laser diodes and infrared detectors, but not in digital electronics, which is the preserve of silicon.

[...] Now, in a collaboration between the Physics and Engineering Departments at Lancaster University and the Department of Physics at Warwick, ULTRARAM™ has been implemented on silicon wafers for the very first time.

Professor Manus Hayne of the Department of Physics at Lancaster, who leads the work said, "ULTRARAM™ on silicon is a huge advance for our research, overcoming very significant materials challenges of large crystalline lattice mismatch, the change from elemental to compound semiconductor and differences in thermal contraction."

[...] Remarkably, the ULTRARAM™ on silicon devices actually outperform previous incarnations of the technology on GaAs compound semiconductor wafers, demonstrating (extrapolated) data storage times of at least 1000 years, fast switching speed (for device size) and program-erase cycling endurance of at least 10 million, which is one hundred to one thousand times better than flash.

So... are we approaching the point where we get a plug-in RAM storage module that can be used like nonvolatile RAM -- because it is nonvolatile? And when you've built complex data structures on it with RAM efficiency, you can unplug it and put it, and of course the data, on a shelf for later use?

Or just plug it into a computer when you need an extra 24 gigabytes of RAM to formally verify a category-theoretical theorem?

How would *you* like to use this?

Journal Reference:
Peter D. Hodgson, Dominic Lane, Peter J. Carrington, et al. ULTRARAM: A Low‐Energy, High‐Endurance, Compound‐Semiconductor Memory on Silicon [open], Advanced Electronic Materials (DOI: 10.1002/aelm.202101103)

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 11, @12:46AM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 11, @12:46AM (#1211659)

    I'll need about 2Tb of this stuff if they want me to stop using an SSD.

  • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday January 11, @01:19AM

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday January 11, @01:19AM (#1211665) Homepage Journal

    Put it into NVME format, and put a 2 TB stick right beside your 4 TB NVME SSD. Something like your laptop can be closed up to "sleep", drive down the road a couple hundred miles, and open the laptop for use again. Virtually no battery drain along the way, but no memory loss either. Phones and tablets may have to wait a little longer, and/or settle for less memory in a smaller format.

    “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.” ― George S. Patton on Ukraine
  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Tuesday January 11, @01:54AM (2 children)

    by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {}> on Tuesday January 11, @01:54AM (#1211672) Journal

    A lot of the cheap laptops are still shipping with as low as 32-128 GB of storage, with 16 GB being phased out. That's probably the same for phones. If they can put at least 32 GB in a small, cheap package, it's a start.

    You could settle for as low as 256 GB in your desktop PC if it's cheaper than the same amount of DRAM with no significant impact on performance. Then just use a separate 8 TB SSD. Maybe penta-level-cell?

    It all depends on the price-per-bit. There's a reason we haven't all switched to 3D XPoint/Optane.

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    • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Tuesday January 11, @03:00PM

      by Freeman (732) on Tuesday January 11, @03:00PM (#1211771) Journal

      Anyone doing much into gaming, music, videos, etc. will not be happy with 256GB in the long run. My bare minimum for a new computer for the last decade, if not two decades has been 1TB of storage. I really should up that to 2TB nowadays, but 1TB is a good place to start. With 1TB NVMe boot drive and 1TB NVMe or standard SSD storage drive, one can get by easily enough. In the event that you really need more than that, maybe you should be looking into Network Attached Storage with RAID.

      Forced Microsoft Account for Windows Login → Switch to Linux.
    • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Wednesday January 12, @02:51AM

      by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday January 12, @02:51AM (#1212005) Homepage Journal

      I've seen phones for sale with 128GiB of storage (not RAM). I hesitate to buy them, because experience tells me they'll be packed with about 124GiB of preloaded software that I can't remove.