• Welcome to TechPowerUp Forums, Guest! Please check out our forum guidelines for info related to our community.

IBM Scientists Demonstrate Computer Memory Breakthrough

btarunr

Editor & Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 9, 2007
Messages
34,486 (9.19/day)
Likes
17,517
Location
Hyderabad, India
#1
For the first time, scientists at IBM Research have demonstrated that a relatively new memory technology, known as phase-change memory (PCM), can reliably store multiple data bits per cell over extended periods of time. This significant improvement advances the development of low-cost, faster and more durable memory applications for consumer devices, including mobile phones and cloud storage, as well as high-performance applications, such as enterprise data storage.

With a combination of speed, endurance, non-volatility and density, PCM can enable a paradigm shift for enterprise IT and storage systems within the next five years. Scientists have long been searching for a universal, non-volatile memory technology with far superior performance than flash – today’s most ubiquitous non-volatile memory technology. The benefits of such a memory technology would allow computers and servers to boot instantaneously and significantly enhance the overall performance of IT systems. A promising contender is PCM that can write and retrieve data 100 times faster than flash, enable high storage capacities and not lose data when the power is turned off. Unlike flash, PCM is also very durable and can endure at least 10 million write cycles, compared to current enterprise-class flash at 30,000 cycles or consumer-class flash at 3,000 cycles. While 3,000 cycles will out live many consumer devices, 30,000 cycles are orders of magnitude too low to be suitable for enterprise applications (see chart for comparisons).



“As organizations and consumers increasingly embrace cloud-computing models and services, whereby most of the data is stored and processed in the cloud, ever more powerful and efficient, yet affordable storage technologies are needed,” states Dr. Haris Pozidis, Manager of Memory and Probe Technologies at IBM Research – Zurich. “By demonstrating a multi-bit phase-change memory technology which achieves for the first time reliability levels akin to those required for enterprise applications, we made a big step towards enabling practical memory devices based on multi-bit PCM.”

Multi-level Phase Change Memory Breakthrough
To achieve this breakthrough demonstration, IBM scientists in Zurich used advanced modulation coding techniques to mitigate the problem of short-term drift in multi-bit PCM, which causes the stored resistance levels to shift over time, which in turn creates read errors. Up to now, reliable retention of data has only been shown for single bit-per-cell PCM, whereas no such results on multi-bit PCM have been reported.

PCM leverages the resistance change that occurs in the material — an alloy of various elements — when it changes its phase from crystalline — featuring low resistance — to amorphous — featuring high resistance — to store data bits. In a PCM cell, where a phase-change material is deposited between a top and a bottom electrode, phase change can controllably be induced by applying voltage or current pulses of different strengths. These heat up the material and when distinct temperature thresholds are reached cause the material to change from crystalline to amorphous or vice versa.

In addition, depending on the voltage, more or less material between the electrodes will undergo a phase change, which directly affects the cell's resistance. Scientists exploit that aspect to store not only one bit, but multiple bits per cell. In the present work, IBM scientists used four distinct resistance levels to store the bit combinations “00”, “01” 10” and “11”.

To achieve the demonstrated reliability, crucial technical advancements in the “read” and “write” process were necessary. The scientists implemented an iterative “write” process to overcome deviations in the resistance due to inherent variability in the memory cells and the phase-change materials: “We apply a voltage pulse based on the deviation from the desired level and then measure the resistance. If the desired level of resistance is not achieved, we apply another voltage pulse and measure again — until we achieve the exact level,” explains Pozidis.

Despite using the iterative process, the scientists achieved a worst-case write latency of about 10 microseconds, which represents a 100× performance increase over even the most advanced Flash memory on the market today.

For demonstrating reliable read-out of data bits, the scientists needed to tackle the problem of resistance drift. Because of structural relaxation of the atoms in the amorphous state, the resistance increases over time after the phase change, eventually causing errors in the read-out. To overcome that issue, the IBM scientists applied an advanced modulation coding technique that is inherently drift-tolerant. The modulation coding technique is based on the fact that, on average, the relative order of programmed cells with different resistance levels does not change due to drift.

Using that technique, the IBM scientists were able to mitigate drift and demonstrate long- term retention of bits stored in a subarray of 200,000 cells of their PCM test chip, fabricated in 90-nanometer CMOS technology. The PCM test chip was designed and fabricated by scientists and engineers located in Burlington, Vermont; Yorktown Heights, New York and in Zurich. This retention experiment has been under way for more than five months, indicating that multi-bit PCM can achieve a level of reliability that is suitable for practical applications.

The PCM research project at IBM Research – Zurich will continue to be studied at the recently opened Binnig and Rohrer Nanotechnology Center. The center, which is jointly operated by IBM and ETH Zurich as part of a strategic partnership in nanosciences, offers a cutting-edge infrastructure, including a large cleanroom for micro- and nanofabrication as well as six “noise-free” labs, especially shielded laboratories for highly sensitive experiments.
 
Joined
Oct 2, 2004
Messages
12,585 (2.59/day)
Likes
5,984
Location
Europe\Slovenia
System Name Dark Silence 2
Processor Intel Core i7 5820K @ 4.5 GHz (1.15V)
Motherboard MSI X99A Gaming 7
Cooling Cooler Master Nepton 120XL
Memory 32 GB DDR4 Kingston HyperX Fury 2400 MHz @ 2666 MHz
Video Card(s) AORUS GeForce GTX 1080Ti 11GB (1950/11000 OC Mode)
Storage Samsung 850 Pro 2TB SSD (3D V-NAND)
Display(s) ASUS VG248QE 144Hz 1ms (DisplayPort)
Case Corsair Carbide 330R Titanium
Audio Device(s) Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5 + Altec Lansing MX5021 (HiFi capacitors and OPAMP upgrade)
Power Supply BeQuiet! Dark Power Pro 11 750W
Mouse Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum
Keyboard Cherry Stream XT Black
Software Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (Fall Creators Update)
#3
I'll buy a "flash" drive when it will be using this tech. I really hate the fact that you are still constantly thinking of those write cycles. Where with regular HDD, you never bothered since they have pretty much unlimited writes. But with 30 million writes, that's something completelly different. I hope this will end up in consumer devices quickly and with more reasonable price.
 
Joined
May 21, 2011
Messages
640 (0.26/day)
Likes
139
System Name Tiger1-Workstation
Processor Intel XEON E3-1275V2 / E3-1230V3
Motherboard ASUS SABERTOOTH Z77 / AsRock H87 Performance
Cooling Corsair H80i Watercooling
Memory 32GB Corsair Dominator Platinum 2400
Video Card(s) Inno3D GTX 780 Ti
Storage 2TB SSD(4X OCZ vertex 4 256GB LSI RAID0 + Crucial M550 1TB)
Display(s) 2x Dell U3011 30" IPS
Case Silverstone Raven 03
Audio Device(s) Xonar Essence STX--> Xonar Essence One --> SPL Auditor -->Genelec 8040B
Power Supply Corsair AX860i Platinum
Software Windows 8.1 Enterprise
#4
when can i buy it?
 
Joined
May 15, 2008
Messages
2,863 (0.81/day)
Likes
272
Location
Brasil
System Name Sovereign // HTPC
Processor i7 3770k 4.2 // i7 3770k 4.2
Motherboard Maximus V Gene // Sabertooth Z77
Cooling Noctua D14 // Intel HSF
Memory 16GB Samsung // 16GB VengeanceLP
Video Card(s) Deciding // 660 DC2
Storage OS (X25-M), Data (Seagate 1TB) // Samsung 840 120GB & bunch of drives
Display(s) Samsung T240HD // LG TV
Case TJ08e // Grandia GD08
Audio Device(s) DT880 Pro 250 ohm // TV speakers
Power Supply Seasonic Plat 1000 // Seasonic Gold 760
Software Windows 8 Pro x64 // Windows 7 Pro x64
#5
Dude wait 4 years to get a SSD? Get one now, they are cheap, when they botch, get a new one
 
Joined
Nov 4, 2005
Messages
9,971 (2.24/day)
Likes
2,335
System Name MoFo 2
Processor AMD PhenomII 1100T @ 4.2Ghz
Motherboard Asus Crosshair IV
Cooling Swiftec 655 pump, Apogee GT,, MCR360mm Rad, 1/2 loop.
Memory 8GB DDR3-2133 @ 1900 8.9.9.24 1T
Video Card(s) HD7970 1250/1750
Storage Agility 3 SSD 6TB RAID 0 on RAID Card
Display(s) 46" 1080P Toshiba LCD
Case Rosewill R6A34-BK modded (thanks to MKmods)
Audio Device(s) ATI HDMI
Power Supply 750W PC Power & Cooling modded (thanks to MKmods)
Software A lot.
Benchmark Scores Its fast. Enough.
#6
So if heat is the way to change the memory what is the threshold before it changes in a black phone on a hot 100+ day?
 
Joined
Feb 18, 2006
Messages
5,109 (1.17/day)
Likes
1,288
Location
AZ
System Name Thought I'd be done with this by now
Processor i7 4790K 4.4GHZ turbo currently at 4.6GHZ at 1.16v
Motherboard MSI Z97-G55 SLI
Cooling Scythe Mugen 2 rev B (SCMG-2100), stock on gpu's.
Memory 8GB G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series DDR3 2400MHZ 10-12-12-31
Video Card(s) EVGA GTX 760 Superclocked replaced HIS R9 290 that was artifacting
Storage 1TB MX300 M.2 OS + Games, 4x ST31000524NS in Raid 10 Storage and Backup, external 2tb backup,
Display(s) BenQ GW2255 surprisingly good screen for the price.
Case Raidmax Scorpio 668
Audio Device(s) onboard HD
Power Supply EVGA 750 GQ
Software Windows 10
Benchmark Scores no one cares anymore lols
#8
so is this chemical based memory?
 
Joined
Feb 18, 2010
Messages
1,720 (0.59/day)
Likes
414
System Name Eldritch
Processor AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
Motherboard MSI B350 PC Mate
Cooling Satan's butthole after going to Taco Bell
Memory 16 GB G.Skill FlareX
Video Card(s) nVidia (Gigabyte) GT 740 2GB
Storage 80 GB IBM, 2 TB WD Green, 512 GB Samsung 960 Pro
Display(s) Dell 2007WFP
Software Debian Buster
#10
Ha, sucks to be someone who bought an SSD now. Of course, it'll take a few years but who cares?

Wait! A thought just crossed my head! (it kinda hurt) What's the average price difference (per GB) between an SSD and a hard drive? And then what's the average speed difference between the two? How much would it cost to buy, say 1 TB hard drives and set them up in RAID 0 (?) before you reached the speed of an SSD? How much space would you end up with?

Ah, my mind is flooding!
 

Jarman

New Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2007
Messages
387 (0.10/day)
Likes
71
Location
Wrexham UK
Processor Opty 165 @ 3011 MHz
Motherboard DFI NF4 SLI-D
Cooling Koolance Exos, DD TDX/Maze4 GPU
Memory 2GB G.Skill HZ DDR 500 Kit
Video Card(s) XFX Geforce 7900GT
Storage > 1.5 TB
Display(s) XEROX 19" TFT
Case Coolermaster ATCS 101
Audio Device(s) Creative X-FI
Power Supply OCZ 850W
Software XP serv pack 2
#11
u can raid 0 as many as you want, you wont match an SSD for access times (which is what gives an SSD its speed advantage) even if you raid 100 disks
 
Joined
Apr 4, 2008
Messages
4,659 (1.30/day)
Likes
1,009
System Name Obelisc
Processor i7 3770k @ 4.8 GHz
Motherboard Asus P8Z77-V
Cooling H110
Memory 16GB(4x4) @ 2400 MHz 9-11-11-31
Video Card(s) GTX 780 Ti
Storage 850 EVO 1TB, 2x 5TB Toshiba
Case T81
Audio Device(s) X-Fi Titanium HD
Power Supply EVGA 850 T2 80+ TITANIUM
Software Win10 64bit
#12
Dude wait 4 years to get a SSD? Get one now, they are cheap, when they botch, get a new one
How are they cheap? The only remotely affordable ones are too small to be used as a main drive. Even if I offload my pictures, videos, documents, downloads, and music to a HDD I still need at least 256 GBs to fit all my installed programs. Which is currently in the $400-500 range. Getting some little 60 GB is just stupid. You're basically just decreasing your boot time (most only reboot once a month) and startup of 5 or less programs/games. That's just a waste. SSDs are still relegated to gimmick status until that cost per GB changes.
 

AltecV1

New Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2009
Messages
1,286 (0.39/day)
Likes
169
Location
Republic of Estonia
Processor C2D E8400@3.6 ghz
Motherboard ASUS P5KPL-AM
Cooling Freezer 7 pro
Memory Kingston 4GB 800Mhz cl6
Video Card(s) Sapphire HD4850 700/1000 + Accelero S1 Rev. 2
Storage WD 250 GB AAKS
Display(s) 22" Samsung SyncMaster 226BW
Audio Device(s) int.
Power Supply Forton Blue Storm II 500W
Software Windows 7 64bit Ultimate
#13
DRAM is lasted so damn long
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2008
Messages
1,160 (0.33/day)
Likes
236
Location
Australia
Processor Intel i7 4790K
Motherboard Asus Z97 Deluxe
Cooling Thermalright Ultra Extreme 120
Memory Corsair Dominator 1866Mhz 4X4GB
Video Card(s) Asus R290X
Storage Samsung 850 Pro SSD 256GB/Samsung 840 Evo SSD 1TB
Display(s) Samsung S23A950D
Case Corsair 850D
Audio Device(s) Onboard Realtek
Power Supply Corsair AX850
Mouse Logitech G502
Keyboard Logitech G710+
Software Windows 10 x64
#14
Ha, sucks to be someone who bought an SSD now. Of course, it'll take a few years but who cares?

!
Haha, you gonna stick to mechanical hard drive for another 5 years?

I'll probably buy 3 or 4 new systems with ssd's in that time.......waiting 5 years for technology is like waiting for Jesus to return......(no offence to religious peoples)
 
Joined
Feb 18, 2010
Messages
1,720 (0.59/day)
Likes
414
System Name Eldritch
Processor AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
Motherboard MSI B350 PC Mate
Cooling Satan's butthole after going to Taco Bell
Memory 16 GB G.Skill FlareX
Video Card(s) nVidia (Gigabyte) GT 740 2GB
Storage 80 GB IBM, 2 TB WD Green, 512 GB Samsung 960 Pro
Display(s) Dell 2007WFP
Software Debian Buster
#15
They've been doing fine for the last 25 (at least) years.
 
Joined
Jan 11, 2005
Messages
1,096 (0.23/day)
Likes
372
Location
66 feet from the ground
System Name 2nd AMD puppy
Processor Phenom II x4 BE 970-3.6 Ghz
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-970A-UD3
Cooling Cooler Master Hyper TX2
Memory 16 Gb DDR3:8GB Kingston HyperX Beast + 8Gb G.Skill Sniper(by courtesy of tabascosauz &TPU)
Video Card(s) MSI HD6850 Cyclone;860/1100 Mhz
Storage SSD-840 pro 128 Gb;Seagate 500Gb;WD-1Tb
Display(s) Samsung 2032BW
Case NZXT 820 PHANTOM
Audio Device(s) Audigy SE with Logitech Z-5500
Power Supply Cooleer Master RP M520
Mouse Razer copperhead / Gamdias zeus (by courtesy of sneekypeet & TPU)
Keyboard MS Sidewinder x4
Software win7 64bit sp1
Benchmark Scores irrelevant for me
#16
u can raid 0 as many as you want, you wont match an SSD for access times (which is what gives an SSD its speed advantage) even if you raid 100 disks

now really do you care about loosing 10 sec. from your time? not to mention the price diff.between them...

SSD is still expensive /Gb compared to classic HDD and people don't really jump in to buy and this will remain till the storage price/gb will be v.close between them
 
Joined
Oct 2, 2004
Messages
12,585 (2.59/day)
Likes
5,984
Location
Europe\Slovenia
System Name Dark Silence 2
Processor Intel Core i7 5820K @ 4.5 GHz (1.15V)
Motherboard MSI X99A Gaming 7
Cooling Cooler Master Nepton 120XL
Memory 32 GB DDR4 Kingston HyperX Fury 2400 MHz @ 2666 MHz
Video Card(s) AORUS GeForce GTX 1080Ti 11GB (1950/11000 OC Mode)
Storage Samsung 850 Pro 2TB SSD (3D V-NAND)
Display(s) ASUS VG248QE 144Hz 1ms (DisplayPort)
Case Corsair Carbide 330R Titanium
Audio Device(s) Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5 + Altec Lansing MX5021 (HiFi capacitors and OPAMP upgrade)
Power Supply BeQuiet! Dark Power Pro 11 750W
Mouse Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum
Keyboard Cherry Stream XT Black
Software Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (Fall Creators Update)
#17
Haha, you gonna stick to mechanical hard drive for another 5 years?

I'll probably buy 3 or 4 new systems with ssd's in that time.......waiting 5 years for technology is like waiting for Jesus to return......(no offence to religious peoples)
I only have a 2TB WD Caviar Black and i'm perfectly happy with it. System boots up in under a minute anyway for moments when i actually don't use Hybrid Sleep which wakes it up in few seconds.

I only see point in buying SSD is for either netbook or notebook. In those devices in makes loads of sense. But in desktops, only if you have loads of money. Which most don't...
 
Joined
Oct 10, 2009
Messages
257 (0.09/day)
Likes
43
Location
Madrid, Spain
System Name Cubito
Processor Core i7-8700K
Motherboard Gigabyte Z370M D3H
Cooling Noctua NH-D15
Memory 32 GB DDR4 3000mhz Corsair Vengeance LPX
Video Card(s) GTX 970 MSI Gaming 4 GB
Storage Kingston V300 120GB + Samsung 850 EVO 250GB + Toshiba MQ01ABD100 1 TB x 2
Display(s) Asus ROG Swift PG258Q + Asus VS229
Case Thermaltake Core V21
Audio Device(s) Asus Xonar Xense
Power Supply Corsair RMX750
Mouse Roccat Nyth
Keyboard Apple Keyboard
Software Windows 10 Home x64
#18
I only see point in buying SSD is for either netbook or notebook. In those devices in makes loads of sense. But in desktops, only if you have loads of money. Which most don't...
Most people who say this haven't tried a ssd and all want one when they try it. It happened with 2 friends, at first they said a ssd is so expensive for the performance you gain, it has to be cheaper first before, bla, bla bla. Then they tried my pc and now both of them they have one.

No need to defrag, no need to format, no noticeable performance degradation over time. I haven't defraged or formatted my pc for a year and a half now and everything is like the first day.
 
Joined
Feb 3, 2005
Messages
431 (0.09/day)
Likes
62
#19
It took NAND flash about 22 years to get mainstream, at least if you judge today's SSD's as mainstream.
2016 is an ideal, but it is not a feasible reality.
Difference today is the huge market demand for flash-type memory.

Capitalism works, and works very quickly.
 
Joined
Apr 14, 2011
Messages
381 (0.15/day)
Likes
39
#20
Big part of why I got one is NO MOVING PARTS, read write times def but I want my comp to be able to withstand years of 24/7 abuse w/o burning thru hdd's(even tho right now I'm babying my gaming rig my htpc is still running 24/7)
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2008
Messages
1,160 (0.33/day)
Likes
236
Location
Australia
Processor Intel i7 4790K
Motherboard Asus Z97 Deluxe
Cooling Thermalright Ultra Extreme 120
Memory Corsair Dominator 1866Mhz 4X4GB
Video Card(s) Asus R290X
Storage Samsung 850 Pro SSD 256GB/Samsung 840 Evo SSD 1TB
Display(s) Samsung S23A950D
Case Corsair 850D
Audio Device(s) Onboard Realtek
Power Supply Corsair AX850
Mouse Logitech G502
Keyboard Logitech G710+
Software Windows 10 x64
#21
I only have a 2TB WD Caviar Black and i'm perfectly happy with it. System boots up in under a minute anyway for moments when i actually don't use Hybrid Sleep which wakes it up in few seconds.

I only see point in buying SSD is for either netbook or notebook. In those devices in makes loads of sense. But in desktops, only if you have loads of money. Which most don't...
Sure, if you have a basic computer but you have a high performance expensive computer, you should be able to afford a small SSD.

SSD's are a noticable improvement over hard drives. Quicker booting, quicker installation of programs, quicker loading times for games, quicker at moving files, quicker at everything.

Its not just booting times...

When you try one you will understand....