For some time two sides of the computing community have been at odds. One side aims to add layers to the memory/storage hierarchy while other side is trying to halt this growth.
This has been embodied by recent attempts to stop using objective nomenclature for cache layers (L1, L2, L3) and moving to more subjective names that aim to limit any attempt to add another new layer.
This is a matter close to my heart, since Continue reading “Putting the Brakes on Added Memory Layers”
Microchip Technology is now shipping a memory chip that has been designed to provide the most popular features of emerging memory chips without using any non-standard semiconductor technologies. It’s as fast as an SRAM with the nonvolatility of an EEPROM.
Readers may recall that Tom Coughlin and I recently updated Continue reading “Microchip’s Answer to Emerging Memories”
With Micron & Intel’s July 28 introduction of their new 3D XPoint memory both companies touted that his is the first new memory in a long time, and that the list of prior new memory types is short.
How short is that list? Interestingly, Intel and Micron have different lists. The Micron list, shown in this post’s graphic (click to enlarge), cites seven types: “Ram” (showing a vacuum tube), PROM, SRAM, DRAM, EPROM, NOR flash, and NAND flash. Intel’s list adds magnetic bubble memory, making it eight. (Definitions of these names appear in another Memory Guy blog post.)
The Memory Guy finds both lists puzzling in that they left out a number of important technologies.
For example, why did Intel neglect EEPROM, which is still in widespread use? EEPROMs (or E²PROMs) are not only found in nearly every application that has a serial number (ranging from WiFi routers to credit cards), requires calibration (like blood glucose monitoring strips and printer ink cartridges), or provides operating parameters (i.e. the serial presence detect – SPD – in DRAM DIMMs), but they still ship in the billions of units every year. In its time EEPROM was an important breakthrough. Over the years EEPROM has had a much greater impact than has PROM.
And, given that both companies were willing to include tubes, a non-semiconductor technology, why did both Continue reading “How Many Kinds of Memory Are There?”
Some time ago The Memory Guy was asked by Numonyx (later acquired by Micron) to put together an online course for EE Times on memory technologies, explaining how each one works and where it is used.
Although the course was very well received, I never posted a link to it on The Memory Guy blog. This post is intended to correct that error.
The course runs 75 minutes and covers the basics of DRAM, non-volatile RAM, SRAM, NAND flash, NOR flash, mask ROM, and EEPROM. It explains each technology’s advances in size, cost and performance, leading up to the development of Continue reading “Fundamentals of Memory – Free Online Course”
From time to time I am asked: “Why is NAND flash called NAND?” or “Why do we say RAM?” and similar questions. A lot of this has to do with history, and a lot of terminology which is now obsolete. To understand these strange names, you have to understand the history of memories. The Computer History Museum (CHM) in Silicon Valley is a great help in this vein.
Since the Memory Guy has been in Silicon Valley since 1977, a lot of this information is stored in my head. Let me try to share it with you in a way that I hope will make more sense, and will help outsiders to understand these odd names.
Here’s the history of memory nomenclature, as I understand it: Continue reading “Why Do Memories Have Those Odd Names?”