BIG BLUE BOFFINS claim to have developed a prototype of what they think is the semiconductor industry's smallest, densest and fastest on-chip dynamic memory.
The 32nm silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology is supposed to go like the clappers, use less juice and be more reliable than the sun coming up.
In a statement, IBM said its SOI technology can provide up to 30 per cent performance improvement with up to 40 per cent power reduction, compared to standard bulk silicon memory technology.
Basically transistors on the chip are protected with a "blanket" of insulation that reduces electrical leakage. That saves power by allowing current to flow through the circuit more efficiently, thereby keeping heat down and warding off the boogie man underneath the bed.
So far IBM has made a test chip with this embedded dynamic random access memory (eDRAM) technology that it says contains the industry's smallest memory cells.
The company claims it offers higher density, speed and capacity better than conventional on-chip static random access memory (SRAM) that has been announced in 32nm and 22nm technology. It thinks its eDRAM is comparable to what would be expected of SRAM produced on a 15nm process, three technology generations ahead of chips in volume production today.
IBM's eDRAM cell is twice as dense as any announced 22nm embedded SRAM cell and up to four times as dense as any comparable 32nm embedded SRAM in the industry.
Common thinking is that higher memory density can lead to chips that are smaller, more efficient and can process more data, improving system performance.
The device apparently manages latency and cycle times of less than two nanoseconds. It also uses four times less standby power and has up to a thousand times lower soft-error rate.
IBM said that embedded memory is the key to controlling multicore processors and other integrated circuits, and that its prototype has many implications for the future of computing technology.
It claims that use of this technology in high-performance server, printer, storage and networking applications can result in improved system performance and energy savings. In mobile, consumer and game applications, it can result in smaller systems, lower cost and energy savings, IBM said.
Big Blue is looking at manufacturing the devices, but has not predicted when it will go into production. µ
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