A new type of memory has been created by the Beckham institude of technology known as power phase change memory which stores information in resistance instead of charge. Previous attempts at this have developed phase memory, but while it’s always been quick, it’s usually not been particularly energy efficient. This new development however fixes that, making it very efficient; even if it does cost a lot to produce.

The Beckman team, led by computer engineering professor Eric Pop [profile], were able to make these developments because of their use of much smaller components to put the memory together; in this case, they used carbon nanotubes. These building blocks are a fraction of the width of a human hair, meaning we’re producing memory on a nano scale.

Professor Pop optimistically describes, “We’re not just talking about lightening our pockets or purses. This is also important for anything that has to operate on a battery, such as satellites, telecommunications equipment in remote locations, or any number of scientific and military applications.”

Energy efficiency is a big bug bear in current technology, but this is driven by two things; being “greener”, and the fact that no one has been able to produce a sufficiently powerful mobile energy solution. As soon as someone comes out with some sort of nuclear battery, get ready to see a lot more high powered devices all over.

Still, in the mean time developments like this are promising. While current generations of SSDs are certainly hammering HDDs in terms of speed, there are some drawbacks to their design, notably the ammount of error correction they need, and their block deletion of files meaninig that TRIM is necessary.

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