CALIFORNIA CHIP STARTUP Crossbar has unveiled what it claims is the first commercially viable Resistive RAM (RRAM) memory chip, a new generation of non-volatile memory capable of storing up to 1TB of data on a single 200mm2 chip.
Touting rather impressive specifications for the RRAM technology, Crossbar's chips promise 20 times the write performance with 20 times less power consumption at a fraction of the size of its NAND flash modules, while also being ten times more durable.
"[The RRAM] enables massive amounts of information, such as 250 hours of HD movies, to be stored and played back from an IC smaller than a postage stamp," the firm said in a statement.
This technology is made possible because of the 3D structure of memory cells on the chip, stacked on top of each other vertically instead of spread out in a two dimensional (2D) horizontal grid. This is the same innovative method for producing chips that Micron and Samsung have been working on over the past few years.
"Its simplicity, stackability and CMOS compatibility enable logic and memory to be easily integrated onto a single chip at the latest technology node, a capability not possible with other traditional or alternative non-volatile memory technologies," the firm added.
According to Crossbar, the RRAM will also retain data for up to 20 years, as opposed to the three years offered by NAND chips. The chips' low power consumption is also said to extend the battery life of devices, such as smartphones and tablets, by "weeks, months and years".
"Today's non-volatile memory technologies are running out of steam, hitting significant barriers as they scale to smaller manufacturing processes said Crossbar CEO George Minassian. "With our working Crossbar array, we have achieved all the major technical milestones that prove our RRAM technology is easy to manufacture and ready for commercialisation."
Minassian says this is a "watershed moment" for the non-volatile memory industry.
The startup was also keen to boast that it has managed build a "working Crossbar memory array at a commercial fab", meaning that the company is ready for the first phase of RRAM production.
Crossbar is looking to get its RRAM technology into consumer devices, such as "all of your personal entertainment, data, photos and information in a device that fits in your pocket", as well as applications in enterprise storage, cloud computing, wearable technology and SSDs. µ