SSDs About To Get 7x Faster If Phase-Change Memory Catches On

Hard drives are all about how much you can store and how quickly you can store it. And this soon-to-be-unveiled phase-change memory drive is expected to up the ante quite a bit.

Students and faculty from UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering are getting ready to show off their newest SSD, “Moneta.” But Moneta isn’t just another solid state drive. Instead it’s a phase-change memory (PCM) SSD, which stores data using a metal alloy called chalcogenide and, according to its makers, performs seven times faster than any flash-based SSD currently available. Which, you don’t need me to tell you, would be pretty damn fast.

To store data, the PCM drive uses a heat application through a current to switch the alloy between two states – crystalline and amorphous. Reading data entails using a smaller current to determine what state the alloy is in. The drive supposedly reads at 327MB/s and writes at 91MB/s, but we’ll probably have to wait til after it’s unveiled (at DAC 2011) to see how it fares with user testing. And I wouldn’t expect that to happen anytime soon since it’s likely this sorta thing won’t be available for us to play with for some time. [UCSD]

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