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Windows Has a Future In RAM: AgigaTech Samples DDR3+Flash DIMM

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the wake-up-call-to-ram dept.

Upgrades 139

An anonymous reader writes "AgigaTech appears to be the first company to produce a non-volatile SDRAM DIMM — an SDRAM memory module that retains its contents even without power supply. The modules combine DDR2/3 SDRAM with NAND Flash as well as a data transfer controller and an ultracapacitor-based power source to support a data transfer from the SDRAM to Flash and vice versa. If this memory makes it into production, this is something that I instantly will want and will stand in line for."

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Eh? (5, Insightful)

eugene2k (1213062) | more than 2 years ago | (#41199607)

What's windows got to do with it?

No, wait.... (3, Informative)

eugene2k (1213062) | more than 2 years ago | (#41199613)

"The most obvious application is the vision of keeping, for example, Windows completely stored in a DIMM." - is that it? Is that one sentence the reason for the headline?

Re:No, wait.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41200085)

Microsoft announced the launch of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 two days ago and they need the column-inches.

Expect another six weeks of Slashdot product placement from Burson Marsteller and Microsoft.

Re:No, wait.... (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200667)

You'd only want parts of windows I'd think since a large part of the OS is helper apps and dialogs and such that most people don't ever use (but people use a different subset so they still are in the box because a large group really really wants it). Better core OS + frequent apps IMHO.

Re:No, wait.... (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200823)

Unfortunately, the Unix philosophy [wikipedia.org] doesn't make that good of an end-user product, at least as far as modern marketing knows. It's the inclusion of little details that make or break a sale and allow a company to beat the competition.

Re:No, wait.... (4, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#41201047)

Its trollbait, it won't benefit Windows any more than it would BSD, Linux, or OSX. I mean who even shuts down anymore, when you have hybrid sleep? The amount of power used is negligible and if the battery gets low Windows automatically switches to hibernate.

It seems to me the ones that would gain the most from this wouldn't be Windows but iOS and Android as it'd be great for cell phones. Just have the main OS shut down to this new RAM and have a tiny OS that simply listens for calls and SMS and wakes the larger OS if you have incoming communications. Hell with something like that we might actually have smartphones whose batteries last like the old dumbphones did, wouldn't that be nice?

Zero watt 'suspend' instead of 'hibernate' (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41199615)

Instant on and zero-watt suspend instead of having to hibernate. This would be faster even than booting from SSD. The summary is implying that windows (or other OS) would reside installed on RAM instead of to the hard-drive, so there would be no load time.

Re:Zero watt 'suspend' instead of 'hibernate' (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41199691)

The summary is implying that windows (or other OS)

Then why not say something non-ambiguous like "keep entire operating system in memory"? This is Slashdot not NewbDot. They don't have to "imply" anything; just say it.

Re:Zero watt 'suspend' instead of 'hibernate' (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#41201561)

Well, we've been able to do it for years with other OSes. I guess they are finally able to make a DIMM big enough to hold Windows in it.

Re:Zero watt 'suspend' instead of 'hibernate' (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41199701)

Err no, there would be a load time because it's exactly "hibernate to SSD". It's just that they control the RAM-to-SSD bandwidth so they might in theory make the load time faster than a software solution, but they give no number.

Re:Zero watt 'suspend' instead of 'hibernate' (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41199939)

Err no, there would be a load time because it's exactly "hibernate to SSD". It's just that they control the RAM-to-SSD bandwidth so they might in theory make the load time faster than a software solution, but they give no number.

You are assuming that there will be separate RAM and NAND chips on this module. If the flash memory is interleaved with the RAM cells in the IC's then the data will never have to hit the bus and never have to be serialized. If this is the case the NAND-cells only have to be connect to the RAM-cells in a way that they are "nudging" the cells in the correct direction during power on and the memory will be fully loaded before the motherboard even releases the reset-signal to the CPU.

Re:Zero watt 'suspend' instead of 'hibernate' (1)

queazocotal (915608) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200035)

This will not be the case, semiconductor processes can be optimised for one or the other.
You get a more dense RAM or flash by not interleaving.
And as area is proportional to cost, it would end up more expensive.

Re:Eh? (0)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#41199621)

Exactly.. Especially combined with this statement: "A fast, instantly responding system without noticeable delays."

Windows?? instantly responding?? Please! I just ate.

they dont want you to have hard drives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41199649)

there is your reason you then cant download .....enjoy your future of having retards for computer users.

Re:Eh? (2)

Spaseboy (185521) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200421)

You obviously haven't used 8 on an SSD system. It's like using a faster, better iPad.

Re:Eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41199661)

In 8086 days, SDRAM static ram chips and timeclocks often had batteries built in.
This is just an update/variation The bit about windows is probably a reference that ARM chips are creaming windows on portable devices,and data /executables in memory(DIM) may be the salvation. Never mind writing efficient code in the first place.
such ram may alleivate the bloat problem.

Re:Eh? (3)

optikos (1187213) | more than 2 years ago | (#41199679)

You mean SRAM (static RAM DIPs) back before in was on-die within the processor. SDRAM is synchronous dynamic RAM DIMMs. SRAM and SDRAM are entirely different.

Re:Eh? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200385)

Just read the article. The product is a FLASH-backed DDR2 or DDR3 module. It's supposed to offload your data to FLASH when you lose power. It might even work. Of course it will not have the same storage density as DDR2 or DDR3 modules can have because there are extra FLASH chips on it.

Re:Eh? (4, Informative)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200399)

There was a false idea floating around back in the days of the SIMMS-> DIMMS transfer that SDRAM stood for Static Dynamic Ram and that it switched to DRAM as the abbreviation for DIMMS. This was actually propagated in marketing for awhile.

I've also seen people claim that SIMM stood for Static Inline Memory Module, what was actually the case was that SIMMS were most often a form of PRAM which is just battery backed DRAM, which added to the confusion.

Static Dynamic RAM was actually sort-of a term for awhile but Synchronous Dynamic Ram needed the abbreviation far more as it extremely quickly became the standard.

Therefore you have a situation where often SRAM and SDRAM can mean the same thing to some people.

My cousin who is a Computer Science grad who got his degree around that time actually learned from a Prof who also had incorrect information and argued with me for a long time on the matter until I managed to care enough to dig out the relevant technical documents and show him why he was wrong.

Re:Eh? (1)

chrisxcr1 (1210984) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200631)

Single Inline Memory Module, Dual Inline Memory Module

Re:Eh? (1)

unix_core (943019) | more than 2 years ago | (#41199717)

Exactly my thought, the article mentions windows but nothing that doesn't apply to any other operating system except maybe it being rather RAM-hungry.

Re:Eh? (1)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 2 years ago | (#41199773)

Who needs Windows when Windows can be broken?

Re:Eh? (2)

sco08y (615665) | more than 2 years ago | (#41199805)

Who needs Windows when Windows can be broken?

Not broken, but feature enhanced to improve air flow.

Re:Eh? (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 2 years ago | (#41199995)

And jagged edges for security protection!

Re:Eh? (0)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200545)

What's windows got to do with it?

Kinect? A second handy motion.

Re:Eh? (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200653)

Beat me to it. Yeah don't get what windows has to do with this. If anything its very aggressive memory management (Ie cache everything just in case) is a drawback because you'd need more of this stuff to keep your whole resident memory footprint.

Old News (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41199617)

Viking has been doing this for awhile. This is their second incarnation.

http://www.vikingtechnology.com/arxcis-nv

UPS (2)

digitalderbs (718388) | more than 2 years ago | (#41199653)

I'm a little skeptical that this will revolutionize IT. How is this an improvement over a system on a UPS with a lot of RAM and aggressive caching? Data centers, which seem to be this product's first market target, already have this in place.

Re:UPS (1)

firex726 (1188453) | more than 2 years ago | (#41199743)

DC's don't jump on this sort of stuff till i'ts much more common.

Server soften require A LOT of RAM, and no consumer is going to pay two extra zeros for a server with this non-volatile RAM when they could get one from a competitor with volatile RAM and SSD.

Re:UPS (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200393)

Smaller, lighter, more portable. Possibly higher bandwidth in preloading your RAM when booting.

Re:UPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41201693)

instant on computers?

You know who has no future (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41199659)

Mitt Romney, and Clint Eastwood, I mean WTF? AMirite?

Captcha is "ejected" which is what Romney is going to be in November. Ejected, rejected, and dejected.

Re:You know who has no future (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41199833)

LOL I think Eastwood was drunk at the RNC convention. He looked and sounded like shit. Besides that, he's pro-choice and pro-environment. WTF was he even doing there, other than Obama bashing? I think that's the entire Republican agenda. Whatever Obama does, just oppose it at all costs.

Re:You know who has no future (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41200017)

What the fuck did you just fucking say about me, you little bitch? I'll have you know I graduated top of my class in the Navy Seals, and I've been involved in numerous secret raids on Al-Quaeda, and I have over 300 confirmed kills. I am trained in gorilla warfare and I'm the top sniper in the entire US armed forces. You are nothing to me but just another target. I will wipe you the fuck out with precision the likes of which has never been seen before on this Earth, mark my fucking words. You think you can get away with saying that shit to me over the Internet? Think again, fucker. As we speak I am contacting my secret network of spies across the USA and your IP is being traced right now so you better prepare for the storm, maggot. The storm that wipes out the pathetic little thing you call your life. You're fucking dead, kid. I can be anywhere, anytime, and I can kill you in over seven hundred ways, and that's just with my bare hands. Not only am I extensively trained in unarmed combat, but I have access to the entire arsenal of the United States Marine Corps and I will use it to its full extent to wipe your miserable ass off the face of the continent, you little shit. If only you could have known what unholy retribution your little "clever" comment was about to bring down upon you, maybe you would have held your fucking tongue. But you couldn't, you didn't, and now you're paying the price, you goddamn idiot. I will shit fury all over you and you will drown in it. You're fucking dead, kiddo.

Your Worst Fucking Nightmare,

Clint

Re:You know who has no future (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41200053)

More like posted from your mom's basement. And learn to spell, it's "guerrilla" not "gorilla" warfare.

Re:You know who has no future (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41200099)

And learn to spell, it's "guerrilla" not "gorilla" warfare.

No, you little bitch, gorilla as in "gorilla", e.g., I will fuck you up like King Kong would fuck you up, faggot.

Re:You know who has no future (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41200185)

Yeah, I'm sure you will when you're done playing Donkey Kong in your mom's basement.

Try not to hog all the Cheeto's will ya.

Re:You know who has no future (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41200223)

Try not to hog all the Cheeto's will ya.

Too late. I just finished sticking the last one in your sister's vagina. You can probably still have them though but you'll have to talk to her about it.

Re:You know who has no future (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41200447)

Umm, my sister's like 9 years old.

Re:You know who has no future (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41200563)

Umm, my sister's like 9 years old.

What? She told me she was 22!

Re:You know who has no future (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41200125)

Anon? Is that you? How did you get out of /b/? I could have sworn I had you occupied with that gore thread....

Re:You know who has no future (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41200183)

OP was a fag. Thread 404'd.

Re:You know who has no future (2)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200401)

Your Worst Fucking Nightmare,
Clint


ahem...

Re:You know who has no future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41200567)

Ha! Well played!

Less interesting than the writer thinks. (5, Insightful)

queazocotal (915608) | more than 2 years ago | (#41199669)

This will require essentially the same software infrastructure as normal suspend to RAM.

The system still has to go through the steps:
Check to see if any critical tasks are running - if so, pause suspend, and ask user.
Same with any communications tasks that may be interrupted.
Stop tasks.
Save state from all hardware to RAM.
Suspend to RAM.

Just capturing an image of the running system does not result in a system that will resume.

It's not a case of put one of these magical DIMMs in, and you're fine for power cuts.

Is it possibly interesting - sure.
But in real life, it may have very little advantage over a seperate flash device, for main memory.

Now, as a super-fast SSD - truly awesome.

Also - WTF - this should never be patentable.
This is not an invention worthy of patent.
It does nothing novel that is not implicit in the problem statement.
'I want a non-volatile RAM'.

Re:Less interesting than the writer thinks. (1)

divisionbyzero (300681) | more than 2 years ago | (#41199875)

This will require essentially the same software infrastructure as normal suspend to RAM.

The system still has to go through the steps:
Check to see if any critical tasks are running - if so, pause suspend, and ask user.
Same with any communications tasks that may be interrupted.
Stop tasks.
Save state from all hardware to RAM.
Suspend to RAM.

Just capturing an image of the running system does not result in a system that will resume.

It's not a case of put one of these magical DIMMs in, and you're fine for power cuts.

Is it possibly interesting - sure.
But in real life, it may have very little advantage over a seperate flash device, for main memory.

Now, as a super-fast SSD - truly awesome.

Also - WTF - this should never be patentable.
This is not an invention worthy of patent.
It does nothing novel that is not implicit in the problem statement.
'I want a non-volatile RAM'.

RAM Disk.

Re:Less interesting than the writer thinks. (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 2 years ago | (#41199897)

It's not a case of put one of these magical DIMMs in, and you're fine for power cuts

No, you aren't. The CPU state, Video Card, Sound Card, etc states will all be wiped out. The only use I can see is to salvage the word document you spent the last two hours not saving

Re:Less interesting than the writer thinks. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41199935)

Having to save was fine back in the days when it took 20 seconds to save to disk. These days, every change should be able to be saved and logged to a change log on a second by second basis. Saving should be banished and everything should be able to be rolled forward and back. People keep saying computers are more than fast enough, so put that extra power to actual useful things.

Re:Less interesting than the writer thinks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41200267)

Which is exactly what happens if you use most web apps. Also, doesn't didn't OS X switch over to auto-saving only like you describe recently?

Re:Less interesting than the writer thinks. (3, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200377)

You don't want this, the same as you really don't want a "never reboot" PC.

Saving to disk is an explicit action of "This is at a state I want it to be in". If it is persistent, for instance, and my kids/cat/whatever edit it beyond repair, I don't want that existing instead of my work. You could argue about rolling back, based on your logging suggestion, but you just made a simple paradigm into an over-engineered tedium. Also, think about having to play back that log every time you opened it, multitudes of keystrokes and menu commands could be needed before it is ready.

Re:Less interesting than the writer thinks. (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200569)

Or you could do it like OS X does it: Auto-save, and implicit saves make snapshots that you can then roll back to. No having to wade through tons of keystrokes, no ridiculous overhead.

It's not a perfect system (for instance, snapshots aren't persistent across systems if you copy/move the file; they're stored on the local machine. I actually tried to get it to sync over Dropbox via symlinking, but ran into permissions problems. Maybe someone else will have/has had more luck.), but it works pretty well. I find I use it a lot less than I'd anticipated, though.

Re:Less interesting than the writer thinks. (1)

jon3k (691256) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200843)

ok I'll bite, why would I not want a "never reboot" PC?

Re:Less interesting than the writer thinks. (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200461)

Having to save was fine back in the days when it took 20 seconds to save to disk. These days, every change should be able to be saved and logged to a change log on a second by second basis. Saving should be banished and everything should be able to be rolled forward and back. People keep saying computers are more than fast enough, so put that extra power to actual useful things.

So now I have to go through a 600 line changelog to find the version from 10 minutes ago that I was pleased with.
There would need to be some sort of used defined keyframe functionality to say "I want this version (for now)". I know...I can hit the 'Save' button.

Re:Less interesting than the writer thinks. (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200477)

Having to save was fine back in the days when it took 20 seconds to save to disk. These days, every change should be able to be saved and logged to a change log on a second by second basis. Saving should be banished and everything should be able to be rolled forward and back. People keep saying computers are more than fast enough, so put that extra power to actual useful things.

Unless you're working with big files. The DRAM on my computer can easily handle 2GB files. At SATA3 data transmission rates, it would take more than 3 seconds to transmit over the bus, but the devices in typical computers can't keep up with SATA3 on a sustained basis. If you have 8GB RAM, you need 8GB to cache it and it takes more than 12 seconds on a typical system. Not to mention that the caching operation can't take place without interrupting whatever process you're doing because it requires the bus. You'd need a different architecture with an independent bus to minimize the impact of the caching operations on the foreground processes.

Re:Less interesting than the writer thinks. (2)

wbav (223901) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200005)

Actually, I think you're over-estimating the task.

Since most "critical" tasks such as writing to a disk or communicating over the network already require handling of drop outs (SATA is hot swappable, most communication is USB based which can cut out) it should be as simple as retrying those tasks when the power comes back on. In theory this should be able to handle power drop outs. You might have to alter the OS to have effectively a journal with respect to the CPU/other hardware, but that's not a terrible problem to solve.

Just because current OSes can't handle this gracefully doesn't mean they won't in the near future.

As to being able to patent this, if the solution is so obvious and straight forward, why hasn't this been done for years? The patents likely refer to solving various problems in integrating an ultracap with a DIMM.

Re:Less interesting than the writer thinks. (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200367)

The patents likely refer to solving various problems in integrating an ultracap with a DIMM.

That's probably down to refreshing the memory. Dynamic RAM is much more power-hungry than static RAM. Static RAM is just a bunch of flip-flops that latch either into 1 or 0 - make them with tiny CMOS gates and they can hold their state as long as power is applied and draw hardly any current, but you need a lot of gates so the die is large, density is low and the part is expensive.

Dynamic RAM contains thousands - or these days, more like millions - of tiny capacitors that need to be kept charged. Over time the voltage across the capacitor leaks away and the memory is corrupted, and worse than that if you read a bit it discharges instantly! So, the circuits on the DRAM chip refresh the memory every time it is read. Now, on old 1980s home computers this was often tied into drawing the video output, so that all the memory would be "read" but with the output disconnected so it didn't interfere with other things the CPU was doing. These days DRAM is controlled by a chip on the motherboard, but the refresh still happens and still takes a lot of power.

Re:Less interesting than the writer thinks. (2)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200231)

TFA tells us the technology will not be targeted towards PC's, but for RAID controllers.

I guess it could help against data loss in critical systems, combined with disk caching it can offer nice responsive write times.

Re:Less interesting than the writer thinks. (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200795)

Meh. That's been done with conventional RAM, flash and ultracapacitors for years, for example in Fujitsu's DX80. Even PCI RAID controllers do that now, for example LSI's CacheVault option for the newer MegaRAIDs.

Re:Less interesting than the writer thinks. (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200331)

It's an awesome SSD speedup device.

While the basic concept may not be patentable, within the present patent system I'm sure there's plenty of details of implementation that can be patented, since nobody seems to be able to make the "obvious to one skilled in the art" clause fly with a jury.

Re:Less interesting than the writer thinks. (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200417)

Also - WTF - this should never be patentable. This is not an invention worthy of patent. It does nothing novel that is not implicit in the problem statement. 'I want a non-volatile RAM'.

So what? The PROBLEM is obvious. You shouldn't be able to patent the idea of a FLASH-backed DRAM module, but if you do something clever to make it work, that cleverness can be patented, so anybody else who makes a flash-backed DRAM module will have to do it another way.

Great idea, (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41199671)

this will do wonders for security. Oh wait.

Re:Great idea, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41200071)

Yeah, that was my first thought.

If everything is in non-volatile RAM, what good is pulling the plug on your encrypted computer when they break down the door?

For that matter, how much value will encryption have?

I don't see it (3, Interesting)

Zuriel (1760072) | more than 2 years ago | (#41199675)

Okay, I've broken the Slashdot rule and read the article.

Can anyone tell me why this is so much better than traditional RAM with a SATA attached SSD? Or using hibernate to disk with an SSD? Is SATA so slow and laggy that there's a big benefit to attaching flash chips to our RAM slots?

Retaining data in RAM without power is cool as a technical feat, but my SSD doesn't take long to fill my RAM chips.

Re:I don't see it (5, Funny)

sco08y (615665) | more than 2 years ago | (#41199819)

Okay, I've broken the Slashdot rule and read the article.

Can anyone tell me why ...

No, because we didn't break the damned rule! Now, do you see why we have it?

Re:I don't see it (1)

volsung (378) | more than 2 years ago | (#41199835)

One of the advantages laptops have over desktop computers is effectively a built-in, relatively lightweight UPS. When someone kicks out the cord on my laptop, I don't even notice, but on my desktop, that would be very annoying. If some upgraded RAM/Flash + operating system support would allow hibernation on a desktop when the power was cut, that would be very handy. Some thought would have to be given to how this should interact with filesystems, since the hard drive would instantly lose power as well. Any writes in progress would have to be reattempted when the system booted up again.

Of course, the main problem is that laptops are quickly becoming people's desktops, and that might kill the market for this before it even starts.

Re:I don't see it (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200073)

If some upgraded RAM/Flash + operating system support would allow hibernation on a desktop when the power was cut, that would be very handy.

You don't need upgraded RAM.

Just a capacitor that can power teh sytem for 10 seconds to allow a graceful suspend. Cost trivial.

Spend a few dollars and you could get something to last a few minutes, have it set off a beeping countdown which you could interrupt by plugging it back in.

But I guess that the people who know they need this aren't enough to justify the feature, and so they are forced to spend a hundred times as much to get a full on UPS.

I've got dodgy home electric wiring, damp rises up and shorts it out a few times a year in storms. Or geckos get in the breaker box and electrocute themselves. I just got a surge protector and swear when the power goes off.

Re:I don't see it (1)

jon3k (691256) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200861)

so they are forced to spend a hundred times as much to get a full on UPS.

You mean tens of dollars. Which I will choose buying a UPS over fiddling around with capacitors. Not worth my time.

Re:I don't see it (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200093)

I have a UPS for the desktop. I live in a 3rd world tropical country. So it does come in useful every now and then.

FWIW, my desktop doesn't wake up from suspend properly - the networking stuff goes weird. My work laptop doesn't have such problems. However my laptop takes quite a long time to hibernate and restore from hibernate (I tend to run a lot of things... ).

Another thing to think about regarding hibernation vs suspend: if your HDD transfers at 100MB/sec and you've used up 16GB of RAM, it'll take at least 160 seconds to read 16GB from the disk (assuming no compression tech). SSDs will take about 40 seconds. Don't be surprised if it takes longer due to fragmentation and overheads.

You won't need to wait those 40-160 seconds if you're waking up from suspend. Nonvolatile ram can reduce/eliminate the need for hibernation.

Re:I don't see it (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200129)

It seems the better solution for that use case would be to put a battery in the desktop's power supply.

Re:I don't see it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41200269)

This is interesting as memory for the SSD itself, so that writes only go to the flash when the device powers down. This could reduce the number of writes to the NAND chips considerably if the SSD is used heavily as a cache or swap device.

Re:I don't see it (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200347)

I think it's cool from a systems perspective in that I can make a system without any support for SATA interfaces or drives, smaller, cheaper, maybe faster maybe not, but a driveless system takes less silicon and less power.

New Memory Technologies - The Impact (4, Interesting)

RudyHartmann (1032120) | more than 2 years ago | (#41199681)

Since computers began we have had hierarchal memory systems. Cache is the most expensive, but the fastest. DRAM is much cheaper slower and denser, but also volatile. Flash is faster than rotating media, slower than DRAM, but non-vloatile. It also has the drawback of limited programming cycles. Magnetic media is very dense, non-vloatile and slow. It is also mechanicly delicate. There are new technologies being developed that are both fast, dense, and non-volatile. With a fast enough, cheap and non-volatile memroy system, you would not need cache, RAM or disk. You could use on unified memory system. This is where I think many syustems are going. Windows, Linux, or OSX have nothing to do with it. Though they will all be greatly impacted.

Re:New Memory Technologies - The Impact (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41199981)

With a fast enough, cheap and non-volatile memroy system, you would not need cache, RAM or disk. .

Well, that's the rub isn't it? We have always had hierarchical memory systems for exactly the reasons you state and there is certainly nothing on the horizon to believe that that is going to change. Until someone comes up with something that is faster, cheaper, denser and non-volatile there will continue to be trade-offs between these. We still use tape for really dense and really slow applications, and despite the many predictions of the HDD, those don't look to be going away any time soon.

Re:New Memory Technologies - The Impact (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41200109)

At 4 GZ light can only propagate 7.49 cm in one clock cycle. Communication in a computer is slower than the speed of light so the cache has to be physically very close to the CPU and preferably on the same die. That means that a harddisk at the end of a cable is completely out of the question to replace cache even if the harddisk could satisfy IO requests in zero seconds - the time to get the signal to the harddisk and back through the cable would be a limiting factor. Now you could imagine the CPU and harddisk being built together as one unit, effectively using non-volatile on-die cache as a harddisk - that might work. If nothing else, it would give us another use for all those transistors that we are currently using on increasing the number of cores on a die - adding more cores will probably stop being useful for most tasks at some point. This won't be a cheap kind of storage any time soon, though.

Re:New Memory Technologies - The Impact (1)

RudyHartmann (1032120) | more than 2 years ago | (#41201327)

Actually, you bring up an excellent point. I actually meant to refer to external memory systems. The speed of light is an absolute barrier which obviates the physical placement of a very high performance system. I can't imagine any replacement for an on-chip cache. But memristors, phase change memory and magnetoresistive external memory systems have made me hopeful. How exactly files would be stored in such a system and booting I think would create some interesting new retrieval and storage solutions.

Re:New Memory Technologies - The Impact (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200335)

Since computers began we have had hierarchal memory systems.

And always will. It's physically impossible for distant RAM to be as fast as CPU registers (the lowest addressable layer of the hierarchy). I don't imagine a future where fast random-access modules will have the capacity of slower stores that have the luxury of time to do their work. For instance, add "cloud storage" or "network fileserver" as yet another common layer of that hierarchy. It's many orders of magnitude slower than my laptop's memory, but my laptop doesn't have 100TB of RAM.

No, that hierarchy isn't going anywhere. I love that we have previously-unheard of fast storage available in cheap, small packages, but that's been accompanied by an ever greater demand for huge quantities of slower storage.

Re:New Memory Technologies - The Impact (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200341)

There are new technologies being developed that are both fast, dense, and non-volatile. With a fast enough, cheap and non-volatile memroy system, you would not need cache, RAM or disk.

No matter how dense memory technology you use you can put a 32K L1 cache much closer to where it's needed than a 16GB main memory. One is simply hundred thousands of times bigger. That means lower latency and higher performance, so cache is here to say. Here's is for example the latency figures for L1/L2/L3/memory for Ivy Bridge:

L1: 1 ns
L2: 3.0 ns
L3: 3.8 ns
Memory: 39.2 ns

Sure you could do it without the cache... if you want to wait 40 times as long. And it's not just to say that you will make a 1ns memory then, at the speed of electricity (about 2/3rds of light) you get about a 10 cm round trip in 1ns with absolutely no transistors in the way. In practice, you'll probably never get off the die before your time is up.

Re:New Memory Technologies - The Impact (2)

bratmobile (550334) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200465)

Uhhh, no. The cache hierarchy was added over time. The first few generations of computers did not have caches at all. Even the processors that powered a lot of early PC-era computers did not have caches, unless you count the registers. For example, 8086/8088 did not have cache, 6502 did not have cache, 6800 did not have cache, 68000 did not have cache, etc. Cache hierarchies were added later.

The cache hierarchy also continually changes, albeit at a slow pace. Current generation CPUs typically have a 3-level cache, but the cache hierarchy in GPUs is quite different. Also, you have to take into account cache-coherent architectures (easy to program, inherently non-scalable) vs. non-coherent architectures (harder to program, far more scalable). It's not the case that you just always want more and more cache -- you want the right kind and size cache for the problem you are working on. For example, GPUs have a lot of local, read-only non-coherent caches, used for texture sampling and for constant buffers. These are very specialized caches, that don't look much like the general-purpose caches used in the L2 and L3 caches of CPUs. (The L1 I-cache and D-cache in a CPU is also very specialized, but differently specialized than a GPU cache.)

you really want code to get stuck in ram and leak (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#41199693)

you really want code to get stuck in ram and leak???

I like the reboot to start clean

this is good! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41199703)

now a reboot of windows won't solve anything!

Re:this is good! (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200441)

Ditto for clearing out rootkits and other forms of malware. Even if you swap the internal drive. You'll end up having to swap the RAM too.

Good idea, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41199733)

this will do wonders for security.

WTF (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#41199793)

WTF is a non-volatile dynamic RAM?

Freescale MRAM (2)

SpaceManFlip (2720507) | more than 2 years ago | (#41199871)

Motorola's spinoff co. Freescale already developed an arguably better concept based on magnetically-stored bits called MRAM. Unfortunately they never got it to scale freely enough to make actual DIMM modules with it. What they do have is lots of types of embedded memory chips for small applications, embedded systems and whatnot. Those are on the market now.
The MRAM concept would be awesome if they ever got it onto a PC or server motherboard, though. It requires zero power to retain its data, since the individual flipping bit states are stored by tiny magnets. That means you could turn your computer on/off just like a dumb appliance like an old TV set or radio, and you'd still be right where you left off (like S3 sleep state with no power supplied). Or you could cease worrying about battery backup systems, since it could lose power and come right back.

Nothing new under the sun ... (5, Interesting)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 2 years ago | (#41199925)

I remember some 40 years ago using a PDP-7. When I got tired at about 4am I would note the accumulator and program counter and switch the machine off. Coming back later I restored these and continued the program - it having remained in the core memory that the machine had.

Re:Nothing new under the sun ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41200801)

Punch cards were awesome also.

Re:Nothing new under the sun ... (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200807)

And if you trashed the boot loader you had to toggle it back in by hand :)
Good times.

Re:Nothing new under the sun ... (1)

jovius (974690) | more than 2 years ago | (#41201777)

The times when you were part of the core memory.

Tired of the hacks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41199989)

This is nothing more than battery backed disk storage used by ram sans and array controllers for years. Only the packaging is different...but yea go ahead and grant them patents anyway.

I'm sick of hacks I want persistant storage with infinite read/write cycles at least as dense as flash and performant as dram. Lets get ReRam or something working ... enough crappy hacks.

Are we forgetting something here? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41200061)

Okay you morons, wake up! Did we already forget the lesson about encryption keys being recoverable in RAM by rebooting into a minimal kernel and cooling the chips? And now you want ram that is capable of permanently storing those keys?!

Come here so I can beat all of you senseless with a large cluebat...

The death of software support (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200147)

What this means is that the support dept's favourite saying "switch it off and on again" won't work. If this takes off, they'll have to actually start diagnosing and fixing software faults.

On the upside, maybe then we'll get better quality software .... no, I didn't think so either.

Two use-cases (1)

dskoll (99328) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200151)

Two obvious use-cases: A mail spool directory and a database transaction log directory. Both can benefit enormously from RAM speeds yet must survive power failures. As a bonus, they don't usually use that much storage, so a few GB or tens of GB is probably fine.

Does Slashdot (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41200369)

Does Slashdot charge for obvious advertisements like this one?

Useless stunt (1)

TuringCheck (1989202) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200559)

A classic suspend-to-disk to a SSD partition or file is more efficient as the operating system knows which memory area needs to be saved and which not (not in use, disk cache, code, bus mastering areas).
At resume time the operating system needs to reinitialize the hardware and check anyway if the memory contents is still valid. Not that much for an embedded system with components welded to the board - but then you won't have memory as modules.

This has existed for years (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200679)

Even before SSD drives came into the mainstream (I had a 1MB SSD in my 80286 which had 8ms latency) this technique already existed:

- 5.25" RAM drive with Flash (CF) backup from Acard as well as the DDRDrive which is a plugin card
- HyperDrive RAM-based SSD which was a PATA solution
- Rack mount systems (NAS, DAS) which were basically RAM and batteries with a few either SSD's or even HDD's as backup solution. TI's RAMSAN for example.
- SAN based "accelerators" which sat on FibreChannel
- 2.5" and 3.5" SAS and FC RAM disks which had SLC as backup from STEC and a few other manufacturers. Sure they cost $15k/drive but they have been available for about a decade now.

Re:This has existed for years (1)

rdebath (884132) | more than 2 years ago | (#41201371)

Yup, After a short web search I have a solid sightings for you from http://www.storagesearch.com/ [storagesearch.com]

1997 - in the SSD market
Bridgeworks designed a RAM SSD with hard drive backup. Sales Director - David Trossell told me - "It was a little ahead of its time and the company dropped it after poor sales."

And later, once Flash was big enough your nice little ramsan ...

Houston, Texas - July 22, 2008 - Texas Memory Systems today launched the world's fastest SSD - the RamSan-440,

The RamSan-440 is a 4U rackmount fibre-channel connected RAM SSD with upto 512GB of storage capacity. It can sustain up to 600,000 random IOPS and over 4GB/second of random read or write bandwidth, with latency of less than 15 microseconds.

the RamSan-440 is a 4U RAM SSD delivering 600,000 random IOPS - click for more info

It's the first RAM SSD to use RAIDed flash memory modules for data backup (instead of hard disk) and the first system to incorporate Texas Memory Systems' patented IO2 (Instant-On Input-Output) technology.

Revolution, yeah (1)

Xamusk (702162) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200747)

Yes, this is a revolution. When everybody has RAM that keeps content when powered off, this will revolutionize computer forensics and malware information gathering.

Re:Revolution, yeah (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#41200821)

Yes! Finally the encryption keys for my disk will be saved when I turn off my laptop!
Finally I won't have to enter the passphrase every time I turn in on!
Oh, wait...

Re:Revolution, yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41200951)

+1. If I had mod points I'd give them to parent. Now you don't have to worry about flash-freezing the RAM from a running box to capture the keys! This is just a bad idea. There are already systems and methods in place for hibernate / resume that have less security implications and can be disabled easily as needed. At the hardware level, all bets are off. Some might say you could have a switch in the BIOS to enable/disable the functionality, but who's to say a software error or design decision wouldn't see memory contents winding up on non-volatile regardless?

Also, the idea of RAM being a simple device that flushes on restart is a good thing. If software borks the system, you restart, and the system is fresh. This just adds another piece that's very low level that could create further headaches.

Encrypt Thy Ram (2)

ilikenwf (1139495) | more than 2 years ago | (#41201183)

Otherwise it'll be a big privacy hole - it'd be easy for jackbooted thugs to see what you were up to, just by pulling your DIMMs.
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