Intel to start sampling PRAM by the end of June

In September last year, Samsung and Intel both unveiled prototypes of phase-change random access memory (PRAM), a type of non-volatile memory that can offer speeds similar to that of conventional RAM. As EE Times reports, Intel now says it plans to start sampling 128Mbit (16MB) PRAM memory chips based on 90nm process technology to its customers in the first half of this year. The chips are drop-in replacements for conventional NOR flash memory, and mass production could begin before the end of this year. According to Ed Doller, CTO of Intel’s Flash Memory Group, the 128Mbit chip has demonstrated 100,000,000-cycle endurance and data retention “much greater” than 10 years. Doller thinks the PRAM “gets pretty close to Nirvana” and that it will eventually “start to displace some of the RAM in the system.”

Comments closed
    • slot_one
    • 13 years ago

    At first I thought this was the same stuff that I used to zap on my Mac whenever it misbehaved.

    I guess not.

    • liquidsquid
    • 13 years ago

    This is great news, I thought it was a few years off still, but now that Intel is on board, we will see FLASH memory in niche markets only. PRAM is perfect for the digital camera market, and is absolutely ideal for storing digital images and recording streaming content in a rugged fashion.

    • toetag
    • 13 years ago

    Still looking for a replacement for CDs, DVDs, all the blue ray stuff. Make them big and cheep. No more moving parts.

    Just think if the U in USB really did stand for Universal.

    • willyolio
    • 13 years ago

    yay. i hope PRAM gets pushed a lot. =D

    more, and sooner! i can see this replacing hard drives alongside flash… i guess it really boils down to which one’s cheaper.

    • Dude-X
    • 13 years ago

    Seems like this will be useful for Santa Rosa chipsets and derivatives that utilize flash memory for performance.

    Pretty cool Intel got something sampling now.

    • Dirge
    • 13 years ago

    How does the demonstrated 100,000,000-cycle endurance compare to that of a HDD? I cant wait until we have consumer orientated SSD.

    • WaltC
    • 13 years ago

    Yes, I first started my sailing lessons as a youth on a PRAM—oh, wait–I forgot! This is an /[

    • blastdoor
    • 13 years ago

    Sounds like a good way for Intel to keep their older fabs generating $$.

      • nonegatives
      • 13 years ago

      Check the related articles, ST will move to 45nm next year for volume production with 32nm not far behind. I still haven’t found a good answer on how fast this memory really is. The only number I have found is 30x faster than flash or ~ 600MB/s? It’s not going to replace your system’s SDRAM.

    • SpotTheCat
    • 13 years ago

    seems great for embedded applications.

    • Kent_dieGo
    • 13 years ago

    What about read/write speed? Write speed is the major problem with FLASH.

      • IntelMole
      • 13 years ago
        • MadManOriginal
        • 13 years ago

        I wonder what the crystlaization temperature is then. Maybe the watercooled Ram we’ve been seeing isn’t so far-fetched 😉 or at least Ram ‘heatspreaders’ will serve some actual purpose.

          • SpotTheCat
          • 13 years ago

          It looks like it will only consume significant power when it is being read and especially write, not when it just sits there (unlike DRAM). I would imagine it to not be that power hungry on the average, unless you put it on some weird all 0 all 1 cycle as fast as it can go.

          • Generic
          • 13 years ago

          So it’s Molten Liquid > Amorphous Solid > Modified AS > Molten Liquid?

          Seems more intuitive to hold the temperature just under the Crystallization point rather than actively pulling heat off of it.

      • UberGerbil
      • 13 years ago

      It shouldn’t be. The set of applications that are gated by write speed is actually very small. Generally a lazy write policy (a separate thread doing write-behind, catching up when it can) works to remove write speed as a constraint. Moreover most applications read 10 times or more (sometimes much more) for every write.

      The real problem with Flash is its /[

    • Shintai
    • 13 years ago

    I just want PRAM HDs…..

      • Krogoth
      • 13 years ago

      I know what the engineers will say “Show me the money and maybe that will happen soon”

        • Faiakes
        • 13 years ago

        I agree. How long before I can have an 8GB PRAM drive.

        That is all I need for windows and 1 full game install.

        Conventional storage is good enough for data, I think.

          • Naito
          • 13 years ago

          Until you try installing Vista

            • Faiakes
            • 13 years ago

            How much space does Vista take?

            • Shark
            • 13 years ago

            8 GB.

            • Faiakes
            • 13 years ago

            That’s just stupid. I’m gonna have to give it the nLite treatment untill PRAM becomes cheaper and larger.

    • Lord.Blue
    • 13 years ago

    How about some ready-boost sticks for Vista based on this stuff?

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This