Intel, Numonyx Tout 'Key Breakthrough' On Computer Memory

The new non-volatile memory technology developed by Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel and Rolle, Switzerland-based Numonyx "combines many of the benefits of today's various memory types," the two companies said in a joint statement Wednesday.

Researchers at Intel and Numonyx "have demonstrated a 64-Mb test chip that enables the ability to stack, or place, multiple layers of PCM arrays within a single die," the statement said. Key to the breakthrough was the successful use of a new Ovonic Threshold Switch as a selector in building PCM cells and arrays, the researchers said.

"The achievements are a result of an ongoing joint research program between Numonyx and Intel that has been focusing on the exploration of multi-layered or stacked PCM cell arrays. Intel and Numonyx researchers are now able to demonstrate a vertically integrated memory cell -- called PCMS (phase change memory and switch)."

PCM, also known as PRAM, is noted for its high performance levels -- thousands of times faster than hard disk drives, according to sources -- and also degrades more slowly than Flash memory. But challenges for developers of PCM include the memory type's temperature sensitivity and process cost disadvantages as compared to Flash.

Sponsored post

Numonyx, a private entity, was founded in March 31 by Intel, Geneva-based semiconductor manufacturer STMicroelectronics and Francisco Partners, a technology-focused private equity firm headquartered in San Francisco.