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Move Over Solid State, Phase-Change Memory is Coming

Arthur Cole

Wow, that was fast.

 

Usually a technology sees the first wave of deployment before the talk shifts to the next upgrade. But in the case of solid state storage, some eyes are already turning toward the next big thing.

 

That would be Phase-Change Memory (PCM), which proponents say offers even better performance than NAND, and provides non-volatile storage with very low energy usage. In fact, the technology draws no power at all unless data is actually being read or written.

 

It also has the advantage of better write endurance, reaching as high as 500,000 write cycles at the moment with 90 nm processes. 45 nm processes are expected to deliver upwards of 10 million write cycles.

 

PCM uses a medium called chalcogenide, which produces semiconductors that can be phase-changed through heat and has the advantage of automatically erasing data that has already been written.


 

One likely application is in enterprise routers and switches, where it would be useful in maintaining data logs in highly complex environments.


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