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jacg
Jul 10, 2006, 04:31 AM
From the BBC:

'Magnetic memory' chip unveiled

The microchip business is worth $48 billion (30 billion) a year
A microchip which can store information like a hard drive has been unveiled by US company Freescale.
The chip, called magnetoresistive random-access memory (Mram), maintains data by relying on magnetic properties rather than an electrical charge.

One analyst told the Associated Press news agency that the chip was the most significant development in computer memory for a decade.

Mram chips could find their way into many different electronic devices.

The benefit of Mram chips is that they will hold information after power has been switched off.

Freescale has been producing the four-megabit Mram chips at an Arizona factory for two months to build inventory.

A number of chip makers have been pursuing the technology for a decade or more, including IBM, but Freescale is the first company to offer a chip with practical usage for many of today's electronic devices.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/5164110.stm



I wonder if Apple might be a customer for such a thing?

emotion
Jul 10, 2006, 04:59 AM
Looks like interesting technology. Better than flash memory.

So, Jobs will have to make up with Freescale then. :)

Veldek
Jul 10, 2006, 05:04 AM
I wonder if Apple might be a customer for such a thing?Considering that 512KB isn't enough space to replace standard RAM and seeing that Apple doesn't have devices who could use such a thing (yet), I doubt that it will be soon that they will make use of it.

emotion
Jul 10, 2006, 05:59 AM
Considering that 512KB isn't enough space to replace standard RAM and seeing that Apple doesn't have devices who could use such a thing (yet), I doubt that it will be soon that they will make use of it.

Agreed. Though if you go through thedesign process to make a solid state laptop you could have most of the OS on flash (cheap, but susceptible to 100,000 reads as a limit) and have the most read parts running on MRAM.

Having said that I think we're a couple of years off from that yet.

dmw007
Jul 10, 2006, 06:23 AM
Cool technology. :) Although 4MB chips sounds rather tiny? :o


So, Jobs will have to make up with Freescale then. :)

Yes, I suppose so emotion. ;) :D

emotion
Jul 10, 2006, 06:26 AM
Cool technology. :) Although 4MB chips sounds rather tiny? :o


4 Mb = 512KB as Veldek points out. It's early days yet though.

dmw007
Jul 10, 2006, 06:47 AM
4 Mb = 512KB as Veldek points out. It's early days yet though.

Well, true. I suppose that in time this technology will get to the point of being more useful. :o :)

MisterMe
Jul 10, 2006, 09:00 AM
Well, true. I suppose that in time this technology will get to the point of being more useful. :o :)If you reread the OP, Freescale is building inventory of these 512 KB mram chips. This means that they have reached the point of being useful for their intended applications. Despite the prognositications of the quoted analysts, it sounds like these chips will be used in smartcard-like applications rather than as replacements for rotating disks in general purpose computers.

encro
Jul 17, 2006, 04:19 PM
Another Article about MRAM on Australian IT (http://australianit.news.com.au/articles/0,7204,19820891^15306^^nbv^,00.html?from=rss).

michaeldmartin
Jul 17, 2006, 04:26 PM
Four megabit transfer rate or capacity? ;)

MisterMe
Jul 17, 2006, 07:54 PM
Four megabit transfer rate or capacity? ;)Assuming that this is a serious question, the answer is capacity. This is a storage medium, not a transport medium.

Lollypop
Jul 18, 2006, 12:51 AM
Not a memory expert, but cant mram be used for rom's as well? The way I remember it rom is slow but keeps its content, mram is faster and also keeps its content. Also 512Kb isnt that much in computer terms, but there are a lot embeded stuff that could use the speed... god knows I hate the slow startup time if my microwave.... :D :D :D

slooksterPSV
Jul 18, 2006, 01:19 AM
Not a memory expert, but cant mram be used for rom's as well? The way I remember it rom is slow but keeps its content, mram is faster and also keeps its content. Also 512Kb isnt that much in computer terms, but there are a lot embeded stuff that could use the speed... god knows I hate the slow startup time if my microwave.... :D :D :D
Well there's a big difference between RAM and ROM. ROM is read-only, the only way to modify ROM is to use a program to FLASH it. RAM is randomly accessed for memory storage.

Now if there was a way to lock MRAM I suppose that it could be used as ROM, but there would be issues with that that they'd have to address before it could be used in that way.

512KB, depends on the size, I haven't read the article, but if the size was relatively small compared to tracks/heads/sectors on a hard drive, it could be a good thing. But tech is always getting smaller. If MRAM could be accessed and used quicker than regular RAM and all those minor details which is too long to mention, maybe they could be used as hard drives for laptops, handhelds, etc. as was stated previously. It's all a big loop.