IBM researchers in Zurich--working alongside their stateside colleagues--have demonstrated for the first time that phase change memory (PCM) can reliably store multiple data bits per cell over long periods of time. By tweaking their “read” and “write” processes to mitigate problems that have dogged PCM for years, the breakthrough could spell the beginning of a long, slow phase out of flash in everything from mobile devices to cloud storage.
Most people with even the most fundamental knowledge of how computer chips work are familiar with binary logic -- the system of ones and zeros that enable modern computing to occur -- in which an input always results in a solid result (either a one or a zero).
It's been 40 years in the making. This week Samsung finally announced they've kicked phase-change memory (PCM) into mass production. In a nutshell, PCM stores information by melting and freezing microscopic crystals. In gadgets like cell phones, its frozen-in-place nature means lightning-fast bootup times--instantaneous, even.
Next-generation laptops won’t have hard drives. Instead, they’ll use flash memory—the same found in camera memory cards and iPhones. Flash-based drives are thinner, faster and nearly indestructible
By Lauren AaronsonPosted 03.13.2008 at 4:53 pm 6 Comments
Like a traditional hard drive, a flash-based drive stores information in the computer-readable language of 0s and 1s. But instead of writing data by flipping magnetic poles on a spinning disk, flash memory just shuttles electrons around on a stamp-size microchip.
Hate to kick off the blog on a sad note, but it raises an interesting hacker challenge: A good friend of ours recently lost his father, and worse, he accidentally erased the last message his dad left him on his digital answering machine, an AT&T model 1820. Understandably, he's desperate to get it back, and he has disconnected the machine so that nothing would be recorded over it. So far, one data-recovery firm told us they couldn't help unless the machine used removable flash memory, which doesn't need power to hold information and from which information can usually be salvaged. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to use any kind of flash memory; we found this forum post suggesting it may be something more akin to RAM.
Anyone have any experience with this or any suggestions, we'd love to hear about them in the comments. —Mike Haney