Besides spinning platters and moving heads, how differently behaves hard disk in comparison to flash?
SK Hynix will not be able to produce memristor-based ReRAM memory either this year or next. Currently the company mulls whether it will be cost-efficient to make such innovative memory in 2015, but even that date remains undecided. The first customers to receive the ReRAM from SK Hynix will be Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Toshiba.
“Whether it will be mass-produced or not will depend on its cost-competitiveness in the market. It will only happen in 2015 at the earliest,” said Lee Jung Hoon, head of the SK Hynix advanced device and process integration division, in an interview with Bloomberg agency.
SK Hynix teamed up with Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Toshiba to develop ReRAM memory chips. As a result, these three companies will get produced ReRAM first from SK Hynix.
The memristor, short for “memory resistor,” requires less energy to operate, can retain information even when power is off, and is faster than present solid-state storage technologies. It works by manipulating only a handful of atoms to produce a dramatic change in electrical resistance and therefore needs to be made using very advanced nano-scale process technologies. It was postulated to be the fourth basic circuit element by professor Leon Chua of UC Berkeley in 1971 and first intentionally reduced to practice by researchers in HP Labs, the company’s central research arm, in 2006. The technology can also perform logic, enabling computation to one day be performed in chips where data is stored, rather than on a specialized central processing unit.
The ReRAM is a product that holds potential to replace the flash memory currently used in smartphones, tablets, MP3 players and to serve as a universal storage medium - that is, memory that can behave as flash, DRAM or even a hard drive.
Last year an HP visionary predicted that smartphones and tablets would start utilizing ReRAM-based storage sometimes in 2014 - 2015. However, with current plans to start commercial manufacturing of ReRAM in late 2013 it looks like the first mass products featuring the technology are only going to emerge in 2015 - 2016.