Numonyx wiggles out of PCM scaling trap

Intel and Numonyx open a PCM die capacity door


Intel and Numonyx announced a way to build vertical stacks of Phase Change Memory arrays without losing performance.

Phase Change Memory (PCM) is an experimental memory technology that is non-volatile, bit-addressable - unlike flash - and capable of moving to smaller process geometries than flash which, manufacturers say, is approaching a process down-sizing limit.

It works by having the state or phase of a chemical compound altered such that its resistance to electricity changes. This can be used to signal the presence or absence of a binary digit. The compound is a Chalcogenide glass substance which changes between crystallised and amorphous, non-crystallised states when heated.

Numonyx has been working on PCM for some time, as has Samsung. Numonyx has a 128Mbit PCM die whereas Samsung has announced a 512Mbit one. It has been reckoned that Numonyx has had difficulty increasing PCM die capacity, having tried multi-level cell technology but finding that cell access speed is slow.

As announced, the Intel and Numonyx research engineers demonstrated a working 64Mb test die that has an Ovonic Threshold Switch (OTS) - termed a selector - layered on top of the array of PCM cells. They said the demo opens the door to building PCM dies with multiple, vertically-stacked layers, which would increase die capacity without compromising cell access speed.

This demo is probably vital for Numonyx as its PCM development work appears to have been stalled by its scaling problem. It can see its way now to ratchet up PCM die capacity to Samsung's 512Mb die and beyond.

But the demo is only of a single entity in such a stacked cell and the next step is to verify that stacked PCMS layers work as well. The Intel and Numonyx engineers must be confident that this can be accomplished, though. We might hear news of such a stacked PCMS die next year. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Red Hat Kubernetes security report finds people are the problem
    Puny human brains baffled by K8s complexity, leading to blunder fears

    Kubernetes, despite being widely regarded as an important technology by IT leaders, continues to pose problems for those deploying it. And the problem, apparently, is us.

    The open source container orchestration software, being used or evaluated by 96 per cent of organizations surveyed [PDF] last year by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, has a reputation for complexity.

    Witness the sarcasm: "Kubernetes is so easy to use that a company devoted solely to troubleshooting issues with it has raised $67 million," quipped Corey Quinn, chief cloud economist at IT consultancy The Duckbill Group, in a Twitter post on Monday referencing investment in a startup called Komodor. And the consequences of the software's complication can be seen in the difficulties reported by those using it.

    Continue reading
  • Infosys skips government meeting – and collecting government taxes
    Tax portal wobbles, again

    Services giant Infosys has had a difficult week, with one of its flagship projects wobbling and India's government continuing to pressure it over labor practices.

    The wobbly projext is India's portal for filing Goods and Services Tax returns. According to India's Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), the IT services giant reported a "technical glitch" that meant auto-populated forms weren't ready for taxpayers. The company was directed to fix it and CBIC was faced with extending due dates for tax payments.

    Continue reading
  • Google keeps legacy G Suite alive and free for personal use
    Phew!

    Google has quietly dropped its demand that users of its free G Suite legacy edition cough up to continue enjoying custom email domains and cloudy productivity tools.

    This story starts in 2006 with the launch of “Google Apps for Your Domain”, a bundle of services that included email, a calendar, Google Talk, and a website building tool. Beta users were offered the service at no cost, complete with the ability to use a custom domain if users let Google handle their MX record.

    The service evolved over the years and added more services, and in 2020 Google rebranded its online productivity offering as “Workspace”. Beta users got most of the updated offerings at no cost.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022