updated 04:00 pm EDT, Mon June 13, 2011
Technology could be faster and simpler than flash
A University of San Diego team has demonstrated a new technology that promises to be over 1,000 times faster than conventional hard drives and over seven times faster than SSDs. The storage system, named Moneta, uses phase-change memory (PCM) technology to sift through data. It should be especially useful for data intensive applications.
To store data, the PCM memory chips switch a metal alloy between a crystalline and amorphous state by using heat induced through an electrical current. To read the data, the chips use a smaller current to determine which state the alloy is in.
Moneta can read large chunks of data at speeds up to 1.1 gigabytes per second and write data at speeds up to up 371 megabytes per second. The system also promises to provide lower latency and could reduce energy requirements.
The University of San Diego team was supported by several corporate sponsors including Micron Technology, BEEcube and Xilinx.
phase-change memory module
Moneta storage array