Most people know HP best for its well-established printers and consumer PCs, but the firm has some intriguing memory technology coming down the pike, as well—technology that’s finally on the verge of entering the mass market.
HP has teamed up with Hynix to manufacture memory resistors, or memristors for short, a potential replacement for flash memory. HP’s announcement details some of the technology’s advantages over current flash memory: "Memristors require less energy to operate, are faster than present solid-state storage technologies and can retain information even when power is off." The memristor has been a long time coming, and this image, provided by HP, chronicles a few important points along the way:
Memristor tech has some wide-ranging implications. The ability of memristors to retain information when powered off could lead not just to much faster boot times, but also the ability to shut down a system completely while maintaining the state of your work, as opposed to entering a sleep mode that continually feeds power to the memory. With the current focus on energy conservation and efficiency, this would be a pretty significant achievement. Furthermore, memristors could allow for formidable capacities. Maximum PC reported last year that a 1-cm² memristor device could pack 100 gigabits of data, compared to 16 gigabits for a similar-sized flash chip. No wonder HP envisions memristor-based ReRAM as a "universal storage medium" that could function as both mass storage and system memory.