Scientists from Lancaster University say that we might be close to combining SSDs and RAM into one component. “UltraRAM,” as it’s being called, is described as a memory technology which “combines the non-volatility of a data storage memory, like flash, with the speed, energy-efficiency, and endurance of a working memory, like DRAM.” The researchers detailed the breakthrough in a recently published paper. Tom’s Hardware reports: The fundamental science behind UltraRAM is that it uses the unique properties of compound semiconductors, commonly used in photonic devices such as LEDs, lasers, and infrared detectors can now be mass-produced on silicon. The researchers claim that the latest incarnation on silicon outperforms the technology as tested on Gallium Arsenide semiconductor wafers. Some extrapolated numbers for UltraRAM are that it will offer “data storage times of at least 1,000 years,” and its fast switching speed and program-erase cycling endurance is “one hundred to one thousand times better than flash.” Add these qualities to the DRAM-like speed, energy efficiency, and endurance, and this novel memory type sounds hard for tech companies to ignore.
If you read between the lines above, you can see that UltraRAM is envisioned to break the divide between RAM and storage. So, in theory, you could use it as a one-shot solution to fill these currently separate requirements. In a PC system, that would mean you would get a chunk of UltraRAM, say 2TB, and that would cover both your RAM and storage needs. The shift, if it lives up to its potential, would be a great way to push forward with the popular trend towards in-memory processing. After all, your storage would be your memory — with UltraRAM; it is the same silicon.