HP and Hynix are Creating the Next Generation of Memory

HP is currently working with Hynix Semiconductor to develop the next generation of computer memory.  This new non-volatile memory, dubbed Resistive Random Access Memory, or ReRAM for short, will be built upon memristor technology.  Memristor technology has been considered only theoretical since 1971, but changed in 2006 when HP Labs was able to develop the technology.

Memristor technology has the potential to create some great things in the PC world.  It works on a material that changes resistance when a voltage is applied to it.  Not only is memristor technology thought to work as memory, but the companies also believe it has the potential to perform logic functions.  This would allow storage devices to perform functions that would normally take place in a central processing unit (CPU).  This combination allows for the possibility of great speed improvements in PCs.

HP and Hynix would eventually like to make ReRAM a standard for all types of memory, including long-term storage medium such as hard drives.  While the future goals for this new memristor based ReRAM are high, the near future has more basic goals.  HP and Hynix are currently working to make ReRAM as a replacement for flash memory.  The memristor technology allows for the potential production of flash memory chips that run ten times faster and use ten times less power than current flash memory chips.  The companies also say that the ReRAM will be able to be rewritten more times than is possible with flash memory.

The companies believe that they can have the memristor-based ReRAM into the market by 2013 – within half of the normal research and development time if the companies were working independently.  This is in part to the combined forces of both reputable companies, HP being one of the largest PC manufacturers and Hynix being the second largest memory chip maker in the world.

I have to say that I’m quite excited about this new memory technology.  Finding better and faster ways to store our data is becoming more important to all PC users.  If this new-found partnership does succeed, the possibilities are exciting.  We could see faster RAM, higher capacity drives, improvements in portable technologies using the compact sized flash memory, and generally faster computers.  I’ll be keeping a close eye on HP Labs as they continue to develop this technology.

[via HP Labs]
Image Credit: Pete
  • Tempersfugue

    “HP prototyped a crossbar latch memory using the devices that can fit 100 gigabits in a square centimeter, and has designed a highly scalable 3D design (consisting of up to 1000 layers or 1 petabit per cm3″ quoted from Wikipedia. This is just getting silly, 125 TB in a volume less than the last joint of my little finger! All my years of packratting have amounted to maybe 3 or 4TB (including hardcopy CDs and DVDs) and I thought I was being profligate, looks like I’ve barely started.

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