Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Samsung Builds Phase-Change Memory

PC Mag

Samsung has announced a new kind of memory module, built from phase change material, that's three times faster than existing flash memory and could boost battery life by up to 20 percent, BBC News reports.

Phase-change material for memory is an idea that dates back over four decades, but it's only now becoming a possibility for today's mobile devices. In essence, the material can record or erase data when heated, and tends to use far less power than existing equivalents.

The material can be constructed in a variety of ways, but the most common is a glass-like alloy of germanium, antimony, and titanium. Heating the material turns it into two separate forms with very different electrical resistances, meaning it can represent binary 0s and 1s, the report said.

The company plans to begin producing 40-nanometer, 512 megabit (Mbit) phase change memory (PCM) chips en masse toward the end of 2010, and will build them in the same format as existing designs. This way, vendors needing a little extra battery life can drop them right into existing production runs.