I was reading this on cnet and thought it would make for an interesting topic here on Lockergnome. The rest of the story is here.
A new kind of memory from IBM Labs is promising to revolutionize how much data we can store and how fast we can access it on our mobile and desktop devices.
After spending six years as a theoretical concept, the memory, dubbed Racetrack, finally is a huge step closer to reality. Researchers at IBM have recently confirmed that their theories of the physics behind Racetrack are valid and can be used to develop and manufacture this new type of memory.
This revolutionary type of memory could open up a whole new world for laptops, smartphones, and other mobile devices. Users would be able to store as much as 100 more times data on their portable gadgets, perhaps keeping as many as 500,000 songs or 3,500 full-length movies on one mobile device. And since Racetrack would use considerably less power, a single battery charge could power a device for weeks rather than days or hours.
The new memory is also expected to play a role in desktop computers and servers, allowing them to access more data much faster. In some ways, Racetrack combines the best elements of flash memory and magnetic storage and could prove to be the one technology to someday replace current RAM, Flash RAM, and even conventional disk drives.
How does Racetrack work? Unlike conventional memory, which needs to seek out the data it needs, Racetrack automatically moves the data to where it can be used. That serves to not only speed up data access but allow much more data to be stored in a smaller area.
The memory is so named because it moves the magnetic bits of data along thin, nanowire "racetracks," 1,000 times finer than a strand of hair.
The data itself is stored in magnetic regions known as domains. Using the spin of individual electrons, Racetrack memory can move these domains at hundreds of miles per hour and stop them at atomically precise spots along the nanowire, allowing huge amounts of information to be retrieved in less than a billionth of a second.
With Racetrack memory, manufacturers could build laptops, smartphones, and other devices with considerably more memory in the same or even smaller amount of space than currently required, according to Parkin. Racetrack would also require far less battery power and could be used to read and write data an infinite number of times. In contrast, Flash memory is a slow type of memory, uses a lot of power, and can only handle the writing of data so many times before it wears out.
"So the average user would see their iPhone much faster," Parkin said. "The battery would last much longer. And they would be able to do much more complex and powerful computations because this type of memory is capable of supporting ultra-fast manipulation of the data."
Racetrack memory can also be written to indefinitely, said Parkin. Since there's no intrinsic mechanism to wear out, Racetrack can manage much more complex calculations and functions that typically require a large number of data reads and writes.
asked Dec 28 '10 at 09:21
This has been around for a while and it will definently power a plethora of devices in a future year but the economy isn't strong enough right now for it to matter and i'm sure within 3 months of this technology going mainstream, another one will take it's place but perhaps it will soon arise in China and make it big but we won't be able to afford it.
answered Dec 28 '10 at 10:03
If you are talking about storage then I think online storage will feature heavily in future, however we need much faster internet speeds firstly.
The good old hard drive will be around for a while and 2Tb drive is pretty darn cheap. Flash memory is getting cheaper but it needs to get a lot higher in capacity and lower in price to compete seriously with hard drives.
As for RAM... I think we need to make the software more efficient so that huge amounds of RAM are not necessary. Perhaps the answer will be grid computing.... attributing parts of a complex task to seperate machines on a network, in the same way that Video cards take the graphic processing pressure off teh main processor - maybe task specific hardware designed to be very good at a certain function.
answered Dec 30 '10 at 12:14