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Computer memory types
DRAM (e.g., DDR SDRAM) SRAM In development
€ € €
T-RAM Z-RAM TTRAM Historical
€ € € €
Williams€Kilburn tube (1946€47) Delay line memory (1947) Selectron tube (1953) Dekatron Non-volatile ROM
€ € € €
Mask ROM PROM EPROM EEPROM NVRAM
Flash memory Early stage NVRAM
€ € € €
nvSRAM FeRAM MRAM PRAM Mechanical
€ € €
Magnetic tape Hard drive Optical drive In development
€ € € € € € €
CBRAM SONOS RRAM Racetrack memory NRAM Millipede memory FJG Historical
€ € €
Paper data storage (1725) Drum memory (1932) Magnetic-core memory (1949)
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which include hard disks. and Fujitsu. or long-term persistent storage. Programmable read-only memory can be altered after manufacture. writing new data to an EPROM requires a special programmer circuit. IBM is currently developing MRAM (Magnetoresistive RAM). but require a special programmer and usually cannot be programmed while in the target system. most types of magnetic computer storage devices (e. and licensed ferroelectric RAM (F-RAM). including extremely high endurance (exceeding 1016 for 3. non-volatile memory either costs more or has a poorer performance than volatile random access memory. produced.g. single-cycle write speeds. Non-volatile memory is typically used for the task of secondary storage. Non-volatile memory may one day eliminate the need for comparatively slow forms of secondary storage systems. optical disc. However. Not only would such technology save energy. Unfortunately. but are slow. In addition. nonvolatile memory. Typically. anything contained in RAM is lost. ultra low power consumption (since F-RAM does not require a charge pump like other non-volatile memories). and early computer storage methods such as paper tape and punched cards. Flash memory devices use two different logical technologies•NOR and NAND•to map data. The programming is permanent and further changes require replacement of the device. but the whole device is cleared at one time. NVM or non-volatile storage is computer memory that can get back stored information even when not powered. making these chips a popular choice for digital cameras and desktop PC BIOS chips.Non-volatile memory. and typically used for large-volume products not required to be updated after manufacture. meaning that when the computer is shut down. handling data in small blocks called pages. most forms of non-volatile memory have limitations that make them unsuitable for use as primary storage. Flash memory The flash memory chip is a close relative to the EEPROM. Read-mostly devices An EPROM is an erasable ROM that can be changed more than once. whereas mechanically addressed systems have a low price per bit. NAND technology offers higher capacity for the same-size silicon. Capacity is substantially larger than that of an EEPROM. magnetic tape. flash memory. hard disks. Electrically addressed systems are expensive. Non-volatile data storage can be categorized in electrically addressed systems (read-only memory) and mechanically addressed systems (hard disks. Data is stored by physically altering (burning) storage sites in the device. Electrically addressed Electrically addressed semiconductor non-volatile memories can be categorized according to their write mechanism. Page 2 of 4 . bypassing the slow start-up and shutdown sequence. but it would allow for computers that could be turned on and off almost instantly. it can retrieve as little as a single byte. and magnetic tape). These erasable memory devices require much time to erase data and to write new data. and such). Rohm. holographic memory. but fast. however it is slower on read when compared to NOR. and gamma radiation tolerance. they are not usually configured to be programmed by the processor of the target system. NOR flash provides high-speed random access. A one-time programmable (OTP) device uses an EPROM chip but omits the quartz window in the package. It is a solid-state chip that maintains stored data without any external power source. Data is stored by use of floating gate transistors which require special operating voltages to be applied to trap or release electric charge on an insulated control gate for storage sites. Less expensive than NOR flash at high densities. floppy disks. quickly transferring whole pages of data. Examples of non-volatile memory include read-only memory. a technology that offers distinct properties from other nonvolatile memory options. An electrically erasable programmable read-only memory EEPROM uses electrical signals to erase memory. Ramtron International has developed. optical discs. it differs in that it can only erase one block or "page" at a time. EPROMs have a quartz window that allows them to be erased with ultraviolet light. this is less costly to manufacture. Several companies are working on developing non-volatile memory systems comparable in speed and capacity to volatile RAM.3•V devices). Mask ROMs are factory programmable only. Other companies that have licensed and produced F-RAM technology include Texas Instruments. NAND flash reads faster than it writes. NAND flash reads and writes sequentially at high speed. The most widely used form of primary storage today is a volatile form of random access memory (RAM). ferroelectric RAM (F-RAM). reading and writing data in specific memory locations.
due to the PZT crystal maintaining polarity. Read-only and read-write versions are available. Hard disk drives use a rotating magnetic disk to store data. removable media again allows indefinite expansion. magnetic tape stores data as a sequence of bits on a long tape. Magnetoresistive RAM (MRAM) Magnetoresistive RAM is one of the newest approaches to non-volatile memory and stores data in magnetic storage elements called magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJ's). Thin Film Electronics ("Thinfilm") produces rewriteable non-volatile organic memory based on ferroelectric polymers. F-RAM or FRAM) is a random-access memory similar in construction to DRAM but (instead of a dielectric layer like in DRAM) contains a thin ferroelectric film of lead zirconate titanate [Pb(Zr. Thinfilm successfully demonstrated roll-to-roll printed memories in 2009. F-RAM retains its data memory when power is shut off or interrupted. Mechanically addressed systems Mechanically addressed systems utilize a contact structure ('head') to read and write on a designated storage medium. transporting the tape past the read/write head is required to access any part of the storage. such as Everspin Technologies' 4 Mbit. allowing storage capacity to be expanded. single-cycle write speeds. Hynix. Due to this crystal structure and how it is influenced. Tape media can be removed from the drive and stored. thereby producing a binary switch. mechanically addressed systems may not be "random access" as are electrically addressed semiconductor NVRAM. The 2nd generation is being developed mainly through two approaches: Thermal Assisted Switching (TAS) which is being developed by Crocus Technology.Ferroelectric RAM (F-RAM) Ferroelectric RAM (FeRAM. commonly referred to as PZT. giving indefinite capacity at the cost of the time required to retrieve a dismounted tape.3•V devices). infinite endurance. and gamma radiation tolerance. Page 3 of 4 . IBM. F-RAM offers distinct properties from other nonvolatile memory options. Optical discs store data by altering a pigment layer on a plastic disk. Organic There are polymer printed ferroelectric memory. Since circuitry layout is not a key factor for data density.Ti)O3]. Each crossing of metal lines is a ferroelectric capacitor and defines a memory cell. utilized field induced writing. including extremely high endurance (exceeding 1016 for 3. ultra low power consumption (since F-RAM does not require a charge pump like other non-volatile memories). Unlike RAM devices. but cost per stored data bit is very low. Formerly. and some automated systems were used to retrieve and mount disks under direct program control. This gives a non-volatile memory comparable to ferroelectric RAM technologies and offer the same functionality as flash memory. In Thinfilm's organic memory the ferroelectric polymer is sandwiched between two sets of electrodes in a passive matrix. removable disk packs were common. high-speed reading/writing. and several other companies are developing. the amount of storage is typically much larger than for electrically addressed systems. and Spin Torque Transfer (STT) which Crocus. low cost). For example. MRAM has an especially promising future as it seeks to encompass all the desirable features of the other popular types of memory (non-volatility. The Zr/Ti atoms in the PZT change polarity in an electric field. access time is longer than for semiconductor memory. The 1st generation of MRAM. Since the access time depends on the physical location of the data on the device.
1 25 20 0.8 50 1.075 0.8 (Average) Form factor (h x w x d) (cm) 0.4 8 9.3 160 1.5" HDD 1" microdrive Flash memory Optical disc Blu-ray Tape MRAM Hitachi Travelstar 5k160 20.1x1.95x7x10 0.0 3.4 nd 540 11 80 12 23 0.6 0.2x2 4x15x19 2x10x10 0.08 0.025 144 180 640 72000 436 1.5 Hitachi Microdrive  3k8 18.004 35000 Density (GBit/cm2) Capacity (GByte) Price per bit (Eur/GByte) Price per unit (Eur) Price per medium (Eur) (For removables) Data rate (Mbit/s) Access time (ms) (Average/typical) 6.7 2 6.0021 0.0 Hynix  HY27UH08AG5M HP Ultrium Everspin (formerly of  960 Freescale Semiconductor)  MR2A16A 0.1x1x1.5x3x4 0.000035 Power consumption (W) 1.25 110 nd 87 nd 14 nd 635 40 2340 30 17.047 400 0.Specifications Specification (March 2007) Device model 2.8 Page 4 of 4 .