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UltraRAM inches closer to mass production: non-volatile memory with DRAM speeds on the horizon

UltraRAM could be mass produced in just a few years. (Image Source: Lancaster University)
UltraRAM could be mass produced in just a few years. (Image Source: Lancaster University)
Developed by researchers from the Lancaster University in UK, UltraRAM is almost ready for mass production and could soon offer a unified solution that acts as RAM and storage. The technology relies on compound semiconductors that are usually used for photonic arrays like LEDs and lasers.

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We have seen quite a few technologies that promised to unify RAM and storage over the past couple of decades, but none had the expected impact, except maybe for Intel’s Optane memory, which is still not as fast as current DDR solutions. Researchers from the Lancaster University in UK have been working on a new type of memory called UltraRAM for some years now, which also promises to unify RAM and storage. Now, thanks to a recent breakthrough, UltraRAM appears to be very close to mass production on silicon, so we may actually see this type of memory available on the market in just a few years.

The latest published paper on UltraRAM describes the technology as combining “the non-volatility of a data storage memory, like flash, with the speed, energy-efficiency, and endurance of a working memory, like DRAM." UltraRAM is built using compound semiconductors that are usually utilized for LEDs, lasers and infrared sensors. Scientists successfully tested silicon-based UltraRAM, which is now faster than the previous Gallium Arsenide iteration.

Some of the benefits brought on by UltraRAM include increased data integrity and durability of at least 1,000 years, fast switching speed and program-erase cycling endurance "one hundred to one thousand times better than flash," plus DRAM-like performance. UltraRAM thus pushes for the adoption of in-memory processing advocated by memory producers like Samsung, and the technology could power all types of computers, from desktop PCs to smartphones.

Scientists are currently working to improve the quality, fabrication process and scalability of the UltraRAM technology in order to ensure relatively low mass production costs. If this type of memory does indeed make it to the market, it will no doubt be more expensive than DDR solutions. Its success hinges on this premium over traditional memory, so 2x or 3x the price of a 1 TB Intel Optane storage solution could be the sweet spot.

 

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Intricate compound semiconductor structures (Image Source: Lancaster University)
Intricate compound semiconductor structures (Image Source: Lancaster University)
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Bogdan Solca
Bogdan Solca - Senior Tech Writer - 1661 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2017
I first stepped into the wondrous IT&C world when I was around seven years old. I was instantly fascinated by computerized graphics, whether they were from games or 3D applications like 3D Max. I'm also an avid reader of science fiction, an astrophysics aficionado, and a crypto geek. I started writing PC-related articles for Softpedia and a few blogs back in 2006. I joined the Notebookcheck team in the summer of 2017 and am currently a senior tech writer mostly covering processor, GPU, and laptop news.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2022 01 > UltraRAM inches closer to mass production: non-volatile memory with DRAM speeds on the horizon
Bogdan Solca, 2022-01-11 (Update: 2022-01-11)