Move Over, Flash Memory; Here Comes Phase-Change

Just as you’re about to sit back, relax and thank your electronic elves for the wonders of flash memory and be content with its non-moving parts, speed and small size…here comes another one: it claims to be 500 to 1000 times faster (whoa!) than flash memory and uses just about half as much power to boot.

It is called “phase-change” memory and it is being developed by the electronic elves of IBM USA, Macronix Taiwan and Qimonda Germany. The new phase-change memory chip promises to be smaller, faster, and require less power than flash memory.

Flash memory, such as those in SRAM and DRAM, is a volatile memory type, possessing cells that eventually degrade after rewriting over 100,000 times, which is a particular problem for computers. In comparison, the new smaller and faster phase-change memory is made up of germanium-antimony alloy (GeSb) and is non-volatile, meaning that the phase-change memory does not require electrical power. At the heart of phase-change memory is a tiny chunk of alloy that can be changed rapidly between an ordered, crystalline phase and a disordered, amorphous phase.

phase-change illustration

The new phase-change memory is geared to power computers and consumer electronics including digital cameras and mobile devices. It is scheduled to hit markets in 2015.

[Via: YahooNews]

Published by Chris Malinao

Chris teaches Lightroom as workflow software to photography students at the FPPF, Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation. He also teaches smartphone photography.