Rambus hoped to make strides with its RDRAM technology, and while it never did take off, it's only a matter of time before a new technology shakes up the random access memory market. Engineers and physicists from Germany think they'll be the ones to do it and have demonstrated what looks to be the quickest prototype yet of an advanced form of RAM, one which challenges the fundamental speed-limit for the process.
Called magnetoresistive random access memory, MRAM uses a faster and more energy efficient version of today's modules, which store a digital 1 or 0 as the level of charge in the capacitor. By comparison, MRAM stores the same information by changing the north-south direction of a tiny magnet's magnetic field, with each variable magnet positioned next to one with a fixed field. To read the stored value, a current runs through the pair to discover the direction of the variable magnet's field.
There are different types of MRAM technologies, and the one most manufacturers are hedging their bets on is called spin-torque MRAM, which involves spinning electrons to flip the magnetic fields. In what could see the technology emerge in as little as just a few years, German researchers have now built a spin-torque system from tiny pillars just 165nm tall that looks to be dramatically faster than any other. The top of the pillar acts as a variable magnet that stores the data, with fixed magnets occupying the bottom. When a current passes through, the electrons reach the pillars' other end and flip the variable magnet region's field to match.
NewScientistTech has much more on the topic, and we want to hear what you think about the emerging RAM technology by posting below.
The next time anyone tells you that PCs will soon become obsolete in a world filled with media centers and gaming consoles, feel free to give them a wedgie. And while you're tugging at their skivvies, be sure and let them know the real truth about PC sales, which are not only in no danger of disappearing, but are boasting stronger than expected sales.
"How strong?," the wedgie recipient asks, appearing more surprised at the news than he is of his underwear being pulled higher than it every has been before.
Tell him $127 billion, which represents global semiconductor chip sales for the first half of 2008, or 5.4 percent above the H1 2001 result. Then let him know that June 2008 sales climbed 8 percent from June 2007's numbers, settling in at $21.6 billion compared to $20 billion.
Hit the jump to find out why memory manufacturers aren't sharing the same enthusiasm.
By now, everyone's aware that Intel has the fastest chips on the market, and with Nehalem getting closer to release, the chip maker's position doesn't look to change anytime soon. But what you don't know is that Intel also has the faster name. Confused? You're not the only one.
Before clarifying, let's first look at how manufacturers label their processors. Each chip contains a processor-specific character string detailing the manufacturer, make, model, and available features. The two common ones you're probably familiar with include GenuineIntel and AuthenticAMD, neither of which can be changed. That's not the case with VIA's Nano processor (CentaurHauls) and it's here where things get interesting.
Hit the jump to see what happens in PCMark05 just by changing a processor's CPUID.
Records are meant to be broken, but it's Corsair who keeps doing all the breaking. Once again, the company's auspiciously named Dominator series has taken memory frequencies to new heights, surpassing its own world record for the highest achieved DDR3 frequency set just over two months ago.
On May 20, Corsair's Dominator danced at 2462MHz, a record that went untouched until now. This time around, Corsair managed to push ahead to 2580MHz and did so with respectable latencies set at 9-9-9-24. It took an Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 overclocked to a 645MHz frontside bus to get there, as well as cooling the motherboard, CPU, chipset, and memory to a very chilly -20 degrees Celsius. Brrr!
Because of the extreme cooling involved and obvious risk of component failures, kids probably shouldn't try this at home, but if you're a memory manufacturer not named Corsair, feel free to give it a shot.
It wasn't that long ago when DDR2-1066 was considered high-end, and while DDR2 modules are still making a case for themselves with crazy-low prices, DDR3 continues to separate itself with insanely high clockspeeds. How high? Try twice as fast (on paper) as yesterday's top offerings.
Setting the bar is Corsair, who just released what the company rightfully claims is the world's fastest DDR3 memory solution in production volume. The new Dominator TW3X2G2133C9DF screams along at 2133MHz, the only kit on the market guaranteed to run at that speed.
"Our engineers have been working hard to achieve this astounding speed of 2133MHz," said John Beekley, VP of Applications Engineering at Corsair. "This is a tremendous accomplishment to be able to manufacture memory modules at this speed in production volumes," added Beekley.
The record-breaking modules aren't for the faint of heart carrying an MSRP of $575, with stock available right now.
Love him or hate him, Johnathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel has managed to get his branding slapped onto nearly every PC component it takes to build a computer, leaving only hard drives and processors left to conquer. Don't believe it? Have a look for yourself. Motherboard? Check. Videocard? Check. Case, soundcard, mouse, keyboard, and headset? Check, check, and check ad nauseum. And thanks to a recent partnership with OCZ now coming to fruition, Fatal1ty can notch both DDR2 and DDR3 memory into his belt too.
"OCZ worked closely with Fatal1ty and his team to desin new memory kits that pair perfectly with the top selling motherboards for a superior gaming experience," commented Alex Mei, cheif marketing officer of OCZ.
Hit the jump to find out why OCZ's excited about the partnership, and whether or not you should be too.
Solid-State Drives (SSDs) are taking aim at the mainstream market, boasting both faster speeds and suddenly affordable pricing than even just a few short months ago. But even as the price-to-performance ratio becomes much more attractive, reliability remains a concern. Flash memory doesn't contain any moving parts, but the memory is only capable of so many write and erase cycles before it turns into read only memory. That might soon change.
Samsung and Sun Microsystems are co-developing a single-level-cell NAND flash memory device the companies claim will offer "much higher endurance levels than any other flash memory device on the market today." The new memory is said to offer five times the data write-and-erase cycles of existing solutions. Even more impressive, Samsung claims its server-grade SLC memory will provide a 100-fold increase in the number of data transfers over traditional hard drives.
While Samsung and Sun are excited over where flash memory is headed, not everyone shares their same enthusiasm. A Fujitsu executive recently downplayed SSDs saying the technology is still over two years away from being a viable option, and an IDC report indicates that initial comparisons between SSDs and HDDs may have been misleading.
Are we getting close to finally replacing hard drives as the main storage device in today's PCs, or is the recent hype much ado about nothing?
While a handful of DDR3-2000 kits can be found in the marketplace, the industry standard remains at DDR3-1600. That might soon change, as Elpida Memory today said it has developed power-efficient DDR3 memory in 1GB densities capable of cruising at 2Gbps.
Elpida's new memory uses a 65nm manufacturing process, and the company claims its 2Gbps modules use 35 percent less operating current compared with its existing products. And for those looking to save a bit of juice while running at the industry standard 1600Mbps, Elpida's memory will oblige at just 1.35V. Timings look to be a tad on the high side, most likely the result of running lower voltages:
DDR3-2000 (11, 11, 11)
DDR3-1867 (11, 11, 11)
DDR3-1600 (9, 9, 9)
Intel, AMD, and memory manufacturers are all pushing the market towards DDR3. Are you buying?
And thus, the grand story of the Dream Machine 2008 comes to its final edition. And do we have a reveal for you! We're going to show you the ultra-secret case that encloses the mighty guts of our speedy Skulltrail machine. We're also giving you a first-look at the not-quite-as-secret videocards powering the graphics of this hefty rig. Before it catches ablaze, we'll also show you the cooling setup and what we used to rock out whilst checking the cooler for leaks.
That's right. Today, you're getting the case, the graphics, the cooling and the sound--an epic conclusion to the most powerful rig we've ever built. If you're just joining us, you'll want to check out the beginning of the story as well as the second edition of the Dream Machine saga, where we officially showed off this machine's spankin'-fast processors.
But enough small-talk. Click that little "read more" link and prepare thyself for greatness.
Rambus, the technology company turned responsible for RDRAM has filed suit against Nvidia claiming that they violated 17 of its memory patents. Rambus’ lawsuit alleges that at least six of Nvidia's product lines infringe the Rambus patents including chip sets, graphics processors and applications processors. They ask for an injunction that would prevent Nvidia from selling the products as well as damages.
Tom Lavelle, senior vice president and general counsel at Rambus was quoted as saying, "For more than six years, we have diligently attempted to negotiate a licensing agreement with Nvidia, but our good faith efforts have been to no avail," he adds, "We are left with no other recourse than litigation to protect and seek fair compensation for the use of our patented inventions,".
Can you smell the bull? I better get my rubber boots it’s getting thick. His own statement shows this to be an attempt to force Nvidia to cough up something to make Rambus go away and they haven't been interested. Nvidia has yet to comment on the suit.