Crossbar announces its Resistive RAM, a nonvolatile memory technology

Startup Crossbar sheds light on its resistive RAM nonvolatile memory technology, which can store one terabyte of data on a single chip.

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Crossbar Inc. last week announced the forthcoming release of what it claims is high-capacity and high-performance Crossbar Resistive RAM (RRAM) technology.

The Crossbar Resistive RAM nonvolatile memory can store up to one terabyte of data on a single 200 mm chip.

Crossbar Resistive RAM can also be stacked vertically, delivering multiple terabytes of storage. Crossbar claims that its resistive RAM technology offers CMOS compatibility, which enables logic and memory to be integrated on a single chip. The company said that capability does not exist with other traditional or alternative nonvolatile memory technologies.

The company claims that the Resistive RAM will deliver 20 times faster write performance, 20 times lower power consumption and 10 time the endurance at half the die size, compared with NAND flash memory. It said that the breakthrough performance and reliability, high capacity and low power consumption will enable a "new wave of electronics innovation for consumer, enterprise, mobile, industrial and connected device applications."

According to market research firm WebFeet Research, nonvolatile memory is expected to become a $48.4 billion market in 2016. Crossbar said it plans to bring to market standalone chip solutions that can be used in place of traditional NOR and NAND flash memory. It also plans to license its technology to system-on-a-chip developers for integration into next-generation SOCs.

Leah Schoeb, senior partner with the Evaluator Group, saw it as a major step forward. "This is a big breakthrough for the nonvolatile memory industry. The smaller, simpler cell structure and 3-D chip design allows for much higher densities, increased write performance and lower power draw than NAND flash. This gives a significant boost to new technologies being designed to support new applications for data analytics, big data, object storage and new age high-speed archive solutions."

"RRAM is one of the more promising technologies to be the 'next big thing' in storage media," said Mark Peters, senior analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group.

"That said, while the Crossbar 'productization' continues, and even after it is available, we're likely to continue to see a whole range of solid-state types, capabilities and implementations -- different horses for different courses across workloads and across hierarchies," he said.

"Crossbar's RRAM has the potential to create a paradigm shift in the solid-state storage market," said Marc Staimer, president of Dragon Slayer Consulting. "The key will be moving it from a demonstration product to a cost-effective, commercially available one in a reasonable period of time. The potential is there. It will depend on their execution."

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