Monday, 15 June 2009

Pushing the scalability of memory

An american semiconductor company is promising a one terabit memory chip by 2015. The scale of the process used will decrease as far as 20nm. Traditional flash memory which we are used to having in digital camera cards or wearable memory sticks is expected to reach no smaller than a 32nm process since the oxides used are too thin at those geometries. Unity, the company who has announced the prospect of a 1Tb chip in six years time, is using a different passive cross-point array technology. Their product roadmap shows a 64Gb chip by the early half of 2011, and 128Gb and 256 Gb chips by 2012-13, all on a 35nm process. Significantly, they then expect to move to a 20nm process to produce the 1Tb chip by 2015.

It remains to be seen whether the technology also has similar parameters as far as longevity is concerned. While memory sticks and cards used today are reliable for at least a decade, their reliability beyond that into the longer term are not guaranteed. This is worth bearing in mind if you plan to use such devices as an archive for personal data in the long term.

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