With every release of RAM modules or flash memory, companies find ways to make them faster and more reliable than before, but it seems that IBM has managed to figure out a way that could potentially replace such technology in the future, which is thanks to the use of phase-change memory (PCM).
PCM isn’t new and has been used in optical disks, such as Blu-ray, for a while now. The only reason why it hasn’t been used in flash or RAM is because of limitations and cost, where previously it could only store 1 bit per cell. However thanks to IBM’s recent breakthrough, they have figured out how to store 3 bits per cell by experimenting with how the crystals in the memory react to high temperature.
By essentially upgrading the storage by three times, it has now been suggested that the cost to use PCM in place of flash or RAM would cost less. According to IBM, this could lead to a boost in speeds on mobile devices. “For example, a mobile phone’s operating system could be stored in PCM, enabling the phone to launch in a few seconds. In the enterprise space, entire databases could be stored in PCM for blazing fast query processing for time-critical online applications, such as financial transactions.”
PCM is also known for being able to last much longer compared to flash, which is estimated to be able to withstand 3,000 write cycles, versus PCM which is said to be able to withstand 10 million cycles. This will make it more reliable for devices that need it, such as enterprise servers.