RRAM - The Future Of Computer Memory

Written by Jon Sutton on Mon, Aug 25, 2014 5:00 PM

Storage on PCs has long been a problem. Back in the mists of time people thought the humble 1.44MB floppy disk was a storage beast. It wasn’t long until they were fumbling through their copies of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, looking for that blasted fifth floppy to continue their adventure. Storage has grown exponentially, but no matter how much we get we always want more. That all changed over the last few years, and now we want faster and faster. SSD’s deliver the goods for a premium price, but they’re let down by short lifespans.

RRAM, or high-capacity Resistive RAM, is thought to be the future of computer memory. Off-limits to the average consumer since its conception, RRAM is now closer than ever to commercial release. Cited as a flash RAM killer, RRAM promises to have 20 times the write performance of NAND flash memory, but at a fraction of the size and drawing on a fraction of the power.

Step forward startup memory firm Crossbar, who is the closest company to bringing Resistive RAM to the market, and is expected to reveal further details during the coming months. The company’s name stems from the tech used to make RRAM, which involves sandwiching the memory cell structure into a grid-like structure of crossbar junctions. What this means is that the cells can be stacked in 3D - in practical terms cramming a heck of a lot more storage into a far smaller space. It’s super dense computer memory, and it could finally mean you can store all you wish for.

RRAM technology would represent a major leap for the non-volatile memory industry. It stores information by creating resistance rather than the traditional method of storing electrical charges. This has three knock on effects; firstly, power consumption will be massively reduced, secondly, the lack of charge means it will have a longer write life, and finally it will be capable of larger capacities, because each bit requires less space. The ever-growing SSD market is most at threat from this, crippled as it is by limited write life.

Leading researcher Crossbar claim that RRAM technology will be capable of delivering 20 times the write performance, 10 times the endurance, and up to 1TB of storage per chip. Early prototypes have put storage capacity of 1TB on an RRAM chip the size of a postage stamp, while others are operating a hundred times faster than flash memory. It seems like Apple is rapidly running out of excuses for still selling a 2GB iPod.

Changing the conductivity of the silicon requires a far smaller electric pulse than flash, and unlike RAM its state is set even after being powered-off. The low voltage is less damaging, both during manufacturing and when writing, meaning it can last up to 100 times longer than other methods.

It all sounds too good to be true of course, and the next major step will be waiting for the price to come down. SSD’s are still out of most people’s price ranges, particularly the larger sizes, so it could be a little while until we can hook these pint-sized wonders up in our gaming PCs. Crossbar looks to be at the front of this revolution, and more news is expected in the coming months. With a bit of luck the future of storage could be upon us sooner than we thought. Once it does arrive though we’re likely to see solid-stage storage jump to multiple terabytes almost instantaneously, and judging by the size of recent game downloads this can’t come soon enough.

Login or Register to join the debate

Rep
85
Offline
admin approved badge
10:57 Aug-27-2014

Then what will be new RAM????

0
Rep
25
Offline
00:33 Aug-27-2014

So should I sell my liver or not?

0
Rep
460
Offline
admin approved badge
08:20 Aug-27-2014

Nah... Wait another 10 years...

1
Rep
354
Offline
admin approved badge
11:02 Aug-27-2014

...to sell your liver :-D

2
Rep
63
Offline
12:17 Aug-26-2014

i wonder if they're gonna end up making a 1 Geopbyte* hard disk using this tech in the next 2-3 decades


*For those of u who dont know what a Geopbyte is [Check this out] (http://www.whatsabyte.com/)

0
Rep
6
Offline
10:22 Aug-26-2014

So, what will be the price range?? any ideas?

0
Rep
132
Offline
admin approved badge
10:23 Aug-26-2014

Few k

0
Rep
132
Offline
admin approved badge
10:23 Aug-26-2014

probs

0
Rep
1
Offline
07:01 Aug-26-2014

WHO THE **** NEEDS 1TB OF RAM? Host of 50 servers?

0
Rep
132
Offline
admin approved badge
07:47 Aug-26-2014

Future m8, future. Like maybe in uhh 10 years

0
Rep
1
Offline
10:05 Aug-26-2014

I really doubt it. I think even creating real graphic (look though window :D) wouldn't use 1TB or more memory, but can't really judge it now

1
Rep
54
Offline
10:21 Aug-26-2014

It's not ram, it's storage.

5
Rep
460
Offline
admin approved badge
06:42 Aug-26-2014

And after this, quantum compute data crystals like in Star Wars and Halo...!

1
Rep
354
Offline
admin approved badge
12:46 Aug-26-2014

I want to be integrated into battleship like in Homeworld :-D

0
Rep
63
Offline
06:11 Aug-26-2014

is this a hard drive or a RAM?

0
Rep
327
Offline
admin approved badge
06:15 Aug-26-2014

It is a replacement for flash RAM & SSDs. Better performance & less power consumption with a longer lifespan. :D

0
Rep
63
Offline
12:11 Aug-26-2014

So are you saying its RAM and Hard disk rolled into 1 or......?
I think its hard drive cos they're comparing with SSD's which is a type of internal hard disk

0
Rep
327
Offline
admin approved badge
23:03 Aug-26-2014

It is a type of RAM that is used only as a Hard Drive. That is the simplest way to explain it. Way faster, way more dependable, way less power consumption. :D

0
Rep
132
Offline
admin approved badge
03:02 Aug-26-2014

So this willl replace SSD's?

0
Rep
327
Offline
admin approved badge
06:17 Aug-26-2014

Eventually. Maybe 5 to 10 years from now it will be affordable enough to replace SSDs.

0
Rep
132
Offline
admin approved badge
06:35 Aug-26-2014

Oh kk

0
Rep
53
Offline
02:24 Aug-26-2014

RRAM. Ehm. Sound new to me. But... Computing technology grow faster than my beard. Maybe next day we woke up, your friend already use this RRAM.

0
Rep
94
Offline
00:14 Aug-26-2014

Let's see how this might go.

0
Rep
94
Offline
23:45 Aug-25-2014

Ramdisks are good, but you need to "unmount" the disk before you shut down/restart your pc, and it doesn't have a lot of space (unless you use a rig with 64GB+ ram)

1
Rep
4
Offline
22:56 Aug-25-2014

that thing is a beast

0
Rep
131
Offline
22:16 Aug-25-2014

20 times better
20 times expensive
:)

0
Rep
4
Offline
22:57 Aug-25-2014

Says the Nvidia fan. JK

0
Rep
327
Offline
admin approved badge
21:51 Aug-25-2014

Oh wow... :D

0
Rep
23
Offline
20:01 Aug-25-2014

....MOTHER OF RAM!

9
Rep
769
Offline
admin approved badge
00:27 Aug-26-2014

MOTHER OF RIGs ... :o :o :o

1
Rep
55
Offline
11:23 Aug-26-2014

but he got xeon for processor :)

0
Rep
769
Offline
admin approved badge
12:40 Aug-26-2014

That's why I said Mother Of Rigs, With that Xeon, what Intel Core i7 can you get ? :D

0
Rep
25
Offline
00:34 Aug-26-2014

On you are gaming at 1080p....

0
Rep
104
Offline
admin approved badge
17:56 Aug-25-2014

I'm going to stick with my HDDs. They treat me very well, they're very reliable and they're plenty fast. Not to mention cheap. I may upgrade in the future, but these write limits are what's stopping me. It's a problem that's generally not associated with HDDs.

1
Rep
4
Offline
21:56 Aug-25-2014

Modern SSDs are rated for over 100,000 write cycles, and with wear leveling these writes are evenly spread over the disk. If you had a 500GB SSD you would have to write over 50 petabytes to it before going over the 100,000 write cycles limit. If you wrote 50 gigabytes a day to it, that drive would last you approximately 2739 years.


Seems reliable enough for me.

2
Rep
327
Offline
admin approved badge
22:02 Aug-25-2014

That is what I have read also. That is why I bought two 1TB Samsung 840 EVO SSD for my rig. They should outlast the rest of my system.

0
Rep
104
Offline
admin approved badge
02:52 Aug-26-2014

That's what I thought. I read that Win7+ will adapt how it writes data allowing it to last just as long if not longer than HDDs in theory. But this article made me doubt what I've previously read thinking that perhaps that theory didn't hold true in practice. Thanks for saving me the confirmation research.

0
Rep
327
Offline
admin approved badge
06:12 Aug-26-2014

Go to the link I provide & read about it. My 1TB 840 EVO SSDs are supposed to last 63 years @ 50GB of write per day & 31 years @ 100GB of write per day.
http://www.anandtech.com/show/7173/samsung-ssd-840-evo-review-120gb-250gb-500gb-750gb-1tb-models-tested/3

0
Rep
210
Offline
admin approved badge
17:35 Aug-25-2014

20 times more !!! wow that is a huge leap :D

3
Rep
250
Offline
admin approved badge
17:01 Aug-25-2014

Heard great things about resistive memory from my professors. The performance increases will be incredible.

0
Rep
108
Offline
admin approved badge
18:09 Aug-25-2014

Same here - have heard a lot of praise for it.

0

Can They Run... |

| 30FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 5 3500U 4-Core 2.1 GHz Radeon RX 540X 2GB Mobile 8GB
| 30FPS, Low, 1080p
Core i5-4670 3.4GHz GeForce GTX 1050 Ti EVGA Gaming 4GB 8GB
| 60FPS, High, 1440p
Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core 3.6GHz GeForce RTX 2080 EVGA XC Ultra Gaming 8GB 32GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 7 4800H 8-Core 2.9GHz GeForce GTX 1650 Ti 4GB 8GB
| High,
Ryzen 7 2700 8-Core 3.2GHz Radeon RX 5600 XT Gigabyte Gaming OC 6GB 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 1440p
Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1070 Palit Super JetStream 16GB
50% Yes [2 votes]
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i7-11700K 8-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1060 Asus ROG Strix Gaming OC 6GB Edition 32GB
75% Yes [4 votes]
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Core i7-4770 4-Core 3.4GHz GeForce GTX 1060 Inno3D Compact 6GB 8GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i5-9300H 4-Core 2.4GHz GeForce GTX 1650 8GB
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Ryzen 5 5600 6-Core 3.5GHz Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 16GB
Ryzen 5 5600 6-Core 3.5GHz Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Ryzen 5 5600 6-Core 3.5GHz Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 5 5600 6-Core 3.5GHz Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 16GB
| Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 5 5600 6-Core 3.5GHz Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-10700 8-Core 2.90GHz GeForce RTX 2060 6GB 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
Core i5-9400F 6-Core 2.9GHz GeForce GTX 770 DirectCU II 2GB OC Edition 16GB
57.1429% Yes [7 votes]
Pentium Dual Core B960 2.2GHz Radeon HD 6950M 4GB
25% No [8 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 720p
Athlon II X2 245 GeForce GTS 250 4GB