Chipmakers reach the physical limits

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Crowded cells, memory processors have become so small as physics allows, and manufacturers now experience with new technologies that could shake up an industry of 50,000 million dollars.

   It is expected that current processors reach a physical limit in the next five years, starting a race between manufacturers to find the technology to replace NAND flash memory and dynamic random access (DRAM), the two standards that have driven the world of computing.

   “It is opening a whole new window of possibilities for scientists is incredibly exciting and incredibly terrifying companies,” said the vice president of Rambus Labs, Gary Bronner, a technology licensing company that specializes in memory. “People do not like uncertainty and change,” he assured.

   This change will not happen overnight. Although some businesses are shipping products with new technologies, the amount is small and the initial promise of some ads often gives way to silence or discounted plans.And leading manufacturers are reducing risk by investing in both new technology and the old.

   For now, all devices dependent on RAM and traditional hard drives or flash, managing data and applications between processor and disk space.The price and performance of these technologies dictate what is used and in what quantity.

   For example, after the founder and CEO Eli Harari, SanDisk could not fulfill the request of Steve Jobs in 2001 to supply flash memory for Apple’s first iPod because it could not compete in price with mini hard drives.

   However, in four years, the flash was cheap and small enough so that Apple could design the tiny iPod Nano, and prices have fallen so much since then all the phones, ‘tablets’ and even portable flash light used.

   But with success has come the problem. As more memory manufacturers inlaid in less space approach the limits of what is physically possible with so few electrons to play with.

   Here come the experiments of large and small manufacturers with new technologies that do not depend on electric charges to store data but to change the structure of materials. At least in theory, that should make them more scalable.

   Magnetoresistiva RAM (MRAM) was originally developed by Honeywell for satellites and the Army. The Arizona company Everspin Technologies, the first and so far only commercial manufacturer of MRAM, adopted later.

   A rival technology is the phase change memory, or sometimes called PCM or PRAM PCRAM, which uses the unique properties of glass called chalcogen, which is already used in recordable CD to switch between two states. The PCM can store lots of data but is slower than DRAM, so it could be used in combination with other technologies or as a possible replacement for the flash.

   The first step in any of these technologies is to open a gap in the market, however small. The flash, for example, began replacing the cassette tape answering machines in the 1990s.

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