Micron Releases Phase Change Memory. Changes Memory Forever, Starting From Now…

Micron, memory makers of the silicon kind have released a revolution into the memory market, Glass. In the race to get the latest technology to market there can be only one winner, this time Micron gets the prize. While many have demonstrate PCM or Phase Change Memory technology Micron is the first to release a real, working PCM product.

PCM is a brand new technology that has been trying to burst onto the scene for the last decade, with research going back nearly 50 years. IBM and HP have recently demonstrated the technology but Micron beat both giants to the prize.

“Our commitment to innovation and continued development of advanced products to address the voracious demands of the wireless industry is clear and strong,” said Tom Eby, Vice President of the Wireless Solutions Group at Micron. “We are determined to evolve and innovate by continuing to offer the best-tailored solutions for both today’s and tomorrow’s market requirements.”

PCM technology isn’t just a new variation of Flash, no clever evolution here, instead PCM is completely new technology. At it’s core PCM is constructed using a special form of glass, called chalcogenide glass. This glass contains sulfur, selenium or tellurium elements that gives the glass special ability to switch from crystalline to amorphous, altering electrical properties when heated. For more information please see the previous Highpants article ‘IBM Phase Change Memory.”


PCM will initially compete against Flash memory for market share. Like Flash, PCM is classed as a non-volatile memory, it remembers even when the power is turned off. PCM has other qualities that may allow it to replace Flash Ram for storage. Firstly it’s fast, much faster than Flash which will help gadgets boot faster and perform better. It is slightly lower power than using Flash and DDR Ram in combination, mainly due to the dual chip nature of the Micron product. The write cycle limitation is greatly improved as well, with PCM lasting through 1,000,000 write cycles. Some cheaper Flash chips are as low as 10,000 write cycles.

Micron’s first PCM products are hybrid all in-one volatile/non-volatile chips. Included within the package are both a 1-gigabit PCM chip and a 512-Mbit LPDDR2 chip (mobile DDR), connected by a custom interface within the BGA (Ball Grid Array, no pins) package. The new memory will be built on a 45 nm process.

With a price premium to pay for new technology expect a top down appearance, with the high end smartphones and tablets to be the first to adopt the new memory, expected to appear by the end of the year.

Micron has released a memory revolution upon the world, soon all of our memories will be stored on little hot spots in glass.

Related Article: IBM Phase Change Memory