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IBM Creates Multi-Bit Phase Change Memory

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the look-what-we-found dept.

IBM 82

Lucas123 writes "In what is likely to be a strong rival to NAND flash memory, IBM today announced it has been able to successfully store more than one bit of data per cell in a more stable non-volatile memory called phase-change memory (PCM). Unlike NAND, Previously, PCM couldn't contend with flash because of its low capacity points. PCM does not require that data be erased before new data is written to it, which reduces write amplification or wear out and it has 100 times the write performance of flash. IBM researchers say they plan to license the technology to memory manufacturers instead of producing it themselves."

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Rubbish. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36624420)

I've heard about so many sea-change advances in technology these days and none of them pan out. Please excuse me while I go invest all of my fortune in IBM stock.

Re:Rubbish. (4, Interesting)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 3 years ago | (#36624818)

The problem with flash memory is that it is inherently volatile. It is based off the storage of a static charge, and there is no such thing as a perfect insulator. During normal operation, you need a high current to tunnel through the insulator and store the charge, but that charge will slowly leak out on its own over time. Given enough time, the charge will drop below a threshold and be read incorrectly.

All microprocessor technologies suffer from this to some extent, and CPUs are expected to hit a wall dealing with this leakage in about 15 years. Flash memory is only expected to get one or two more process shrinks before this leakage is expected to cause problems on a useful time frame. At this point, flash memory will have to be refreshed like traditional DRAM more and more frequently. Online SSDs can afford this, but offline USB drives cannot. Now you can simply start stacking chips, but your costs will rise geometrically, and heat dissipation will become a problem. Flash will be unable to produce higher capacity at lower prices.

One of these new technologies will pan out in the near term, because with the current technology reaching the end of its life, the industry will have to transition to something new to continue to sell new product.

Re:Rubbish. (2)

mochan_s (536939) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626892)

Just like hard disks, flash memory cost capacity is tied to materials engineering - in case of flash memory it is the insulating material in the cells. In the next 15 years, I'm sure there will newer materials or material configurations found that will enable process shrinks. Right now leakage is not a problem since the data lifetime is estimated to be around 15 years. Also, flash memory is manufactured in a slightly different method than CPUs or other circuit boards.

Also, flash memory can be used for multiple bits per cell as the electronics mechanisms of reading and writing data are improved; interference can be minimized and other techniques to increase cell density can be used.

I think there is possibilities that could enable flash memory to dramatically decrease in cost per bit.

Re:Rubbish. (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 3 years ago | (#36631110)

Bubble memory. I urge you to invest your fortune in that.

Acronyms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36624462)

PCM. Not to be confused with Pulse Code Modulation.

Re:Acronyms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36625080)

PCM != PCM

Vive l'informatique et ses acronymes !

Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (2)

Quato (132194) | more than 3 years ago | (#36624528)

Dad, tell us again about how you used to store your data on spinning disks....

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 3 years ago | (#36624606)

Zero moving parts, here we come.

Let me know when we can get fans that don't need blades. No, not that hoop thing. It has blades in the base.

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#36624706)

Let me know when we can get fans that don't need blades.

Ahh, if only air were electrically charged....

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#36624794)

Ah, if only it werent an awful idea to shoot ionized air and ionized particles into a sensitive computer case. Enjoy having grime and crap plastered over all your components (protip, ever seen how filthy Ionic Breeze filters get, and how hard they become to clean?)

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (1)

Antony T Curtis (89990) | more than 3 years ago | (#36624908)

Nicola Tesla invented a bladeless turbine nearly 100 years ago.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla_turbine [wikipedia.org]

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36625154)

Ah, but the Chinese invented it 3000 years ago. It just never made it to Europe.

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (2)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626376)

Nicola Tesla invented a bladeless turbine nearly 100 years ago. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla_turbine [wikipedia.org]

Wich has exactly nothing to do with "no moving parts" ventilation, as it is about
spinning a big disc using a flow of gas or liquid.

No fan needed... (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626228)

If you stick to performance available for single-digit watts, not much need for active cooling.

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36626626)

Zero moving parts, here we come.

Not exactly.
The electrons are moving...
Or is it holes that are moving?

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36626968)

You mean this [sharperimage.com] ?

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (1)

froggymana (1896008) | more than 3 years ago | (#36629436)

Zero moving parts, here we come.

Let me know when we can get fans that don't need blades. No, not that hoop thing. It has blades in the base.

What's wrong with using water/mineral oil cooling?

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 3 years ago | (#36624614)

That's nice. The only nail that counts, will be the one where solid state is at least modestly cheaper for a given amount of space.

Mind you, I look forward to that nail, but until it gets here, it's not yet time to party.

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (2)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625156)

I don't think it needs to be cheaper at all. Just cheap enough. I like having no moving parts in my netbook, tablet, phone etc. I also don't have any need for more than say 300GB to be comfortable on anything but a media PC right now.

nah, doesn't need to be cheaper (1)

Chirs (87576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625758)

Even if it stays more expensive, if solid state can get close (within a factor of 2, say) to the same cost for the same storage space it'll take off like wildfire given the tremendous speed and reliability advantages.

Cheaper unit cost with adequate storage (1)

erice (13380) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625904)

That's nice. The only nail that counts, will be the one where solid state is at least modestly cheaper for a given amount of space.

Mind you, I look forward to that nail, but until it gets here, it's not yet time to party.

For most users, disk storage is already much larger than needed. All that is needed is that an SSD have cheaper unit cost while still providing adequate storage. Even if it is still 4x the cost per byte, it won't matter because the extra storage isn't useful.

Re:Cheaper unit cost with adequate storage (1)

QuantumLeaper (607189) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627688)

For most users, disk storage is already much larger than needed. All that is needed is that an SSD have cheaper unit cost while still providing adequate storage. Even if it is still 4x the cost per byte, it won't matter because the extra storage isn't useful.

640K is more than enough for the average user too....

The problem is you never know how the average user will use that disk space. I found a computer in the trash a few months ago, and it was fill with crappy music and pictures some some kids. Over 300Gigs worth of the stuff, with I formatted to install something useful like Linux.

Re:Cheaper unit cost with adequate storage (1)

yarnosh (2055818) | more than 3 years ago | (#36628180)

I don't think he was predicting the future with that statement. I think he was specifically talking about now. Obviously this solid state technology would get cheaper and storage would become greater over time. It would just be a bit behind spinning disks initially. For me SSD is great for my laptop. Installing it was a huge performance boost and I don't need the same amount of storage as my desktop/media/gaming PC where spinning disks work fine. Though ultimately it would be nice to quiet that sucker down.

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36627758)

You mean like how tapes are still cheaper per GB than hard drives?

SSD is in many cases 'cheap enough'. The fact there are cheaper products out there just doesn't matter.

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (1)

jewelie (752077) | more than 3 years ago | (#36624674)

Ironic given IBMs role in their invention!

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (3, Insightful)

dbc (135354) | more than 3 years ago | (#36624928)

Ironic?? No. You must work for the phone company.

Success in Silicon Valley has always been about turning your own products into obsolete dinosaurs before your competition does, or die. Companies unwilling to torpedo their most successful products with something better are on the path to doom.

In this case, it is simple irony (2)

sirwired (27582) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625712)

IBM no longer has anything whatsoever to do with Hard Drive manufacture, they sold that business to Hitachi years ago. IBM does sell storage equipment (quite a bit of it), but it contains drives made by somebody else.

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (1)

Anomalyst (742352) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626942)

on the path to doom.

Are you sure it is Doom and not Quake or Unreal? I never knew the difference either.

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36624720)

Maybe after it comes out. In the mean time, I imagine the cloud, tablets, and smartphones are doing more to kill the disc.

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 3 years ago | (#36624856)

Someone is going to have to have the disks somewhere. The individual user may only have a single SSD in their device, but someone needs to provide the bulk storage.

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36624992)

So does 'nail in the coffin' mean "nobody ever uses discs ever again period end of story they're completely extinct" or does it mean "not really a household item anymore, like vinyl"?

I'm guessing the answer is: "The opposite of what you intended so I can appear smart by correcting you."

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625264)

Hmm are you tempting him to do it again with "vinyl"? ;)

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (2)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625464)

If I wanted to appear smart, I would correct you a second time on the use of disk, since you missed it the first time. Disc is from the Greek discus, a later adopted spelling of the term, and used to describe things you throw, like frisbees and CDs. Disk is the more traditional English spelling, and used to describe storage devices, since that is the spelling IBM chose to use when they started manufacturing disk drives 55 years ago.

I would consider this a nail in the coffin if it resulted in a drastic decrease in the use of disk drives, limiting it only to fringe applications. Flash drives have dropped in price drastically over the past decade, but due to its basic design, they're rapidly closing in on a wall, past which they cannot miniaturize it any further. This new technology is still several years away from the market, and in the mean time, hard disks will continue dropping in price, and people will continue storing all sorts of crap.

If the average consumer stops storing stuff locally, and instead migrates to the cloud, hosting companies are going to have all this data they need to store, with only modest performance requirements. The most economical way to achieve this for the foreseeable future will be disk drives. Even though the average consumer won't have disk drives in their own computers, their data will still be stored on disk drives. There will continue to be a vast market for their production.

Disk drives are being replaced by SSDs in a number of applications. SSDs win out when performance or power consumption needs are critical. Disk drives are still king in any application requiring bulk storage, and that is not due to change any time soon.

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625766)

If I wanted to appear smart, I would correct you a second time on the use of disk...used to describe things you throw, like frisbees and CDs.

CD's?

Another word for disc is 'platter'. And since we're talking about solid state taking over....

...due to its basic design, they're rapidly closing in on a wall, past which they cannot miniaturize it any further...

Yeah, unlike magnetic drives...

If the average consumer stops storing stuff locally, and instead migrates to the cloud, hosting companies are going to have all this data they need to store, with only modest performance requirements. The most economical way to achieve this for the foreseeable future will be disk drives.

That's an important detail, iddn't it? Another important detail is that having lots of people store their same information on the same network means serious efficiency gains can be made. And yet another important detail is that laptops are increasingly becoming primary machines, but they typically only have 1/4th the storage available to them their desktop counterparts have. We have a glut of storage today.

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36624890)

And how do you imagine "the cloud" (and by extension phones and tablets) stores its data?

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625050)

You'll have to explain to me how consumers moving their data to the cloud will mean an increase of hard disc sales.

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625298)

You'll have to explain to me how consumers moving their data to the cloud will mean an increase of hard disc sales.

Well, it's pretty involved: consumers will move their data to the cloud, at which point cloud providers will need disks to store that data.

Storage utilization is likely to be more efficient, so I don't know if that will actually increase sales, but then again, we were talking about "killing the disk" not "increasing sales". The cloud, being essentially a large collection of disks, seems ill fit for the job.

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625350)

...but then again, we were talking about "killing the disk" not "increasing sales"...

No... we're not. I said 'do more to kill the disc'.

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625636)

No... we're not. I said 'do more to kill the disc'.

Ok, you lost me; when you said do more to kill the disk you were not talking about killing the disk? Or are you implying something clever with your alternative spelling?

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625856)

Ok, you lost me; when you said do more to kill the disk you were not talking about killing the disk? Or are you implying something clever with your alternative spelling?

Okay... do you understand the difference between slowing down and stopping?

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626192)

Wait, wait, I know this one!

"Stopping" is the one you said, and "slowing down" is the one I was supposed to intuit you meant, right?

Which isn't true either, but, whatever.

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626434)

"Stopping" is the one you said...

No.

*sigh*

"IBM Creates Multi-Bit Phase Change Memory...

Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive. Dad, tell us again about how you used to store your data on spinning disks....

Maybe after it comes out. In the mean time, I imagine the cloud, tablets, and smartphones are doing more to kill the disc."

So you're saying that the conversation above reads as: "the cloud etc. will bring the hard disc to a sudden and dramatic end", right?

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (1)

Changa_MC (827317) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626856)

You'll have to explain to me how consumers moving their data to the cloud will mean an increase of hard disc sales.

No, you'll need to explain how consumers moving their data to The Cloud will mean an decrease of hard disc sales, since that was your previous claim. The Cloud is remote servers storing data on spinning disks. So consumers storing data at home as well as data in The Cloud means more hard drives in use, not less.

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626962)

No, you'll need to explain how consumers moving their data to The Cloud ... ...So consumers storing data at home as well as data in The Cloud means more hard drives in use, not less.

See how you used the word 'move' there in the beginning? You already understand my point.

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625052)

Magic pixie bits. The challenge is capturing enough pixies to feed the industrial grinders.

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625098)

In another cloud?

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36625182)

Read the comment again.

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36624744)

No kidding. All it's going to take is to bring it down to Flash process sizes and mass produce the HELL out of this. As it stands, this concept's been in people's heads since the late 60's much like holographic storage. Glad to see Stanford Ovshinski's ideas (Google up Ovonics and "ovonic memory" to read up on the subject...) all slowly coming to fruition. Back then, they thought he was crazy...seems it was more like crazy like a fox and deeply ahead of his time.

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#36624768)

SSDs remain what, 1/6th the capacity and about 25x the cost per GB of spinning platters? Yea, thats a lot of nails in the HDD coffin alright.

Last I checked, a 2TB drive could be had for $80, which is $0.04 per GB, and you can scale to 3TB if you want. A 256GB SSD drive retails for what, $200? $300? Thats $1.00 per GB. I dont know what magical world you live in where that is suitable for every use case, but its certainly no good for large data storage, particularly when there are questions regarding reliability and what real-world flash failure looks like (is it still readable? Does the controller start spewing garbage?) Certainly theres a lot of speculation, but theres just not the same history, so it would be foolhardy to treat SSDs like theyre "battle tested" when theyre not.

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (1)

wisty (1335733) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625338)

Is that server grad? Because servers usually use SAS, which is about $300 for 300GB. Or roughly the same $/GB as SSD.

Or did SSD kill them?

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625592)

Oh, you want SAS SSDs? Yea, youre not getting that for $300. The prices I quoted were for desktop grade HDD and SDD-- the "enterprise-grade" SSDs Ive seen were several times more expensive than the desktop grade (thousands).

Server-grade 2TB SATA drives (RE4 or equiv) go for about $200, which is about $0.10 per GB, still 10x cheaper than even desktop grade SSDs.

Noone seriously argues that SSDs can even remotely compete on capacity with HDDs; the area they compete is speed, and thats not always relevant when youre running an 8-disk array-- many controllers wouldnt be able to handle 8 SSDs, and fewer disks might lack the redundancy or capacity you want.

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625686)

Just did some research....
500GB SAS 6gb drive for $125 [newegg.com]
2TB SAS drive for $260 [newegg.com]

As for SSDs...
http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategory=2021&Tid=11691&name=Enterprise-SSD [newegg.com]
What on that page looks even remotely comparable? I see several SSDs in the "multi-thousand" range, none of them hitting 2TB.

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625778)

particularly when there are questions regarding reliability and what real-world flash failure looks like (is it still readable? Does the controller start spewing garbage?)

CodingHorror answers this [codinghorror.com] :

1. They fail. A lot. Within months. If you're lucky.
2. The failure is they just die completely and conclusively.

However, they stress the important point:

3. They're so ridiculously fast that you want one anyway. And you'll keep replacing it when, not if, it fails.

For server use, the current fashion is as a gigantic cache in front of magnetic hard disks.

For either desktop or server, "GET REALLY GOOD AT BACKUPS, YOU'LL USE THEM" is the thing to remember.

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36626028)

> SSDs remain what, 1/6th the capacity and about 25x the cost per GB of spinning platters? Yea, thats a lot of nails in the HDD coffin alright.

Only if you keep using same technology (flash), not a game-changing new technology. So yes, this could be such a nail.

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (3, Interesting)

dbc (135354) | more than 3 years ago | (#36624970)

"Dad, tell us again about how you used to store your data on spinning disks...."

Who here has stored a program on punched paper tape using an ASR 33 teletype? *raises hand*

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (4, Interesting)

ahadsell (248479) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625260)

Also *raises hand*.

On one system we stored programs by wiring them into a ROM. By hand. One wire per word, wrapped around the center pole of the E-cores clockwise for a 1, or counterclockwise for a 0. Then solder one end of the wire to the correct X address, and the other end to the correct Y address. Total, 256 16-bit words per board (Z was decoded to board-select).

Yes, I am old.

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (2)

Tristfardd (626597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36628378)

Also raises hand. On one project I loaded the software, powered down, pulled the memory card with its core memory, walked though a food processing plant, plugged it back in, and started debugging. It was quicker. The customer insisted on receiving a paper tape copy and only had the printer on the tty. 40+k used almost an entire roll. I don't think anyone ever tried to read it back in.

Re:Another nail in the Coffin of the Hard Drive (1)

bityz (2011656) | more than 2 years ago | (#36640906)

raises hand... but some of you guys are making me feel young :) (wrapping your own cores?)... somewhat after my punched tape/teletype experience, I built a PC (back then, "built a PC" meant soldering) and eventually moved up to a "stringy floppy"... I think the storage progression in my life went: paper tape, 5 1/4" floppy, stringy floppy, massive 4'x2'x8" 500M harddrive array, 2G SD card. I may have skipped a few steps there :)

Dammit! (1)

NervousWreck (1399445) | more than 3 years ago | (#36624540)

I this story went up as I hit submit on it.

Summary is wrong (2)

goruka (1721094) | more than 3 years ago | (#36624600)

we all know researchers don't take business decisions

Re:Summary is wrong (1)

mikeru22 (1222780) | more than 3 years ago | (#36624630)

we all know researchers don't take business decisions

haha. Not the real researchers, anyway.

Re:Summary is wrong (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#36624726)

I'm glad my darling's 14 million dollar annual research budget consists of zero decisions...

Re:Summary is wrong (1)

mikeru22 (1222780) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625386)

No worries, I'm sure he makes decisions

Re:Summary is wrong (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625000)

*they plan to license the technology to memory manufacturers instead of producing it themselves* well, they don't know how to actually do it en masse in the way they're proposing. if they could, they sure would do it and be selling it at 100x the price of normal memory for enterprise use, today.. but they don't have yet what they're promising the tech could do - by manufacturing companies...

It's a scale issue, not a knowlege issue (1)

sirwired (27582) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625786)

I don't think IBM is declining to actually manufacture the chips because they don't know how; rather it's because IBM doesn't have fabs large enough to make the chips in sufficient quantities. IBM's fabs are sized for CPU production, not mass-scale memory chip manufacture.

license the technology (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36624610)

they plan to license the technology to memory manufacturers instead of producing it themselves

This is code for 'send it to Asia.' HP is doing the same thing with their memristor based ReRAM, licensing it to Hynix. Guess we're all done building chip foundries anywhere in the West. As goes your manufacturing base, so goes your technology, just like we we're told [slashdot.org] would happen.

Well that's great news (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36624626)

I like flash, in fact I just bought some SSDs, but it does have some problems that really need addressing long term. This stuff looks like maybe it'll be the solution. Also it looks pretty workable, it isn't pie in the sky. According to the article, PCM already exists and is in use. This is just an improvement on it. They also claim widespread use by 2016 of the new tech.

So here's hoping, this looks like it may be what we need to really kick off the move to solid state storage.

Re:Well that's great news (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#36624714)

I have a feeling we might end up with flash+PCM combinations in some form.

Re:Well that's great news (1)

Caratted (806506) | more than 3 years ago | (#36624730)

Meh. New tech is all well and good, the problem with SSD is the cost of manufacturing. The same thing occurred with high capacity spindle drives in the late-90's. The tech to produce them cost a lot, so the platters cost a lot. When the supply goes up, the price goes down.

I don't have anything against IBM, but the only thing contributing to the high-cost of SSD and its relatively low usage is the fact that there aren't billions of drives on the market. When there are, the machines to manufacture them will have paid for themselves, and the prices can be cut. This happens with all new tech, and will happen with PCM-based SSD storage as well.

Re:Well that's great news (1)

Chirs (87576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625878)

the only thing contributing to the high-cost of SSD and its relatively low usage is the fact that there aren't billions of drives on the market

Sorry, but fabbing flash memory is a lot more resource-intensive than making disk platters.

Re:Well that's great news (1)

Caratted (806506) | more than 3 years ago | (#36634276)

So are refrigerators.

Re:Well that's great news (1)

yarnosh (2055818) | more than 3 years ago | (#36628218)

I like flash, in fact I just bought some SSDs, but it does have some problems that really need addressing long term.

Maybe in theory, but my OCZ Vertex is awesome. I know the cheap SSDs can be a bit flaky if pushed to limits, but Intel and OCZ make some fine SS drives.

I spy, with my little eye... (1)

jewelie (752077) | more than 3 years ago | (#36624736)

...much more efficient swap space! :) This sounds great.

I know it doesn't need to be erased in bulk, but does it need to be written in bulk, or does it have limited read or write cycles?

Re:I spy, with my little eye... (2)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#36624952)

Truely the "Holy Grail" of storage is to go back to core memory. No, not the kind that used ferrite rings. Rather, a very fast type of unified L cache that represents both RAM and non-volitile storage. It provides the kind of hardware platform DB admins dream of.

Err, like the AS/400 / iSeries? (1)

sirwired (27582) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626552)

This is pretty much how the AS/400 / iSeries works.

Re:I spy, with my little eye... (1)

yarnosh (2055818) | more than 3 years ago | (#36628360)

...or anyone who wants instant-on from hibernation. Imagine never having to worry about how much RAM you have again. Think of the virtualization possibilities.

Re:I spy, with my little eye... (1)

yarnosh (2055818) | more than 3 years ago | (#36628296)

If you're hitting swap on a regular basis, you need more RAM. Swap is just a backup on most systems.

Fast is great, but.. (2)

h8sg8s (559966) | more than 3 years ago | (#36624816)

It's density+cost per bit that will change things. PCM is still orders of magnitude slower than SRAM and DRAM and the Memristor (HP) may still beat it to market for the aforementioned parameters. Nice that so many irons are in the fire to retire spinning rust, can't happen soon enough for me.

It all depends on how they offer it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36625070)

I did RTFA, and understand that IBM developed the technology, but is leasing the technology to others to create product (much like NVIDIA does with its products), but my concern is that they will go the way they (and others, eg: RAMBUS) have gone before. Microchannel died because of eye popping 'we want more money for the technology' costs. If the license is reasonable, then the technology will be widely adopted. If the license is not reasonable, alternative technologies will be created to fill the void, and whether good or bad, this technology will wind up in a museum; an accidental freak side show of the information age. One thing companies are starting to learn is that if you get too greedy with new technology, it won't be viewed as a passing lane, it will be viewed as a speed bump, and a new lane will be created, perhaps of gravel instead of asphalt, but it won't be proprietary and as more people use it, it will get smoother and faster. Perhaps IBM will offer licenses at $10 million per manufacturer per year --that would be reasonable. RAMBUS wanted $100 million per manufacturer per year. Quite a bit of their technology is in the museum.

Bad write cycle example (1)

mergletron (2249890) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626562)

Am I the only one that saw the "up to 5 million write cycles...enterprise usage of 3,00 write cycles per hour" as a pretty fail example? By their own statement that's 70 days of life in that use case....

Re:Bad write cycle example (1)

yarnosh (2055818) | more than 3 years ago | (#36628474)

I'm skeptical of that 3,000 figure. Is that an average over all the sectors on the drive? Or is just the hottest of sectors on the drive? Seems unlikely that you'd rewrite the full drive 3,000 times every hour. That's insane, if not impossible. I'm going to assume that's a single sector being reweritten 3,000 times in a hour. With flash you use write leveling to spread that all the sectors. I don't think it is as big a deal as it sounds. 5 million writes per sector (or cell) is a LOT.

Patent Trolls! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36628102)

IBM researchers say they plan to license the technology to memory manufacturers instead of producing it themselves.

Yet another obscure company who sells licenses but doesn't make products, so they never have to pay anyone else or cross-license. Whoever heard of this "IB--" oh. Oh, them.

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