While microprocessing power increases dramatically from year to year, memory capacity lags behind. That may change as a start-up called MetaRAM addresses the gap with an innovation it promises will quadruple the amount of memory on servers and workstations at a much lower cost.
Dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) provides short-term storage for computer data, and successive generations with more capacity come at a higher price because there are few manufacturers and they're more difficult to make.
"More memory is a critical enabler for computing-intensive applications," including CAD/EDA simulations, database transaction processing, and virtualization, said Jeremy Werner, senior marketing manager at MetaRAM.
More Storage in One Place
As critical as memory is, Werner said there have been restrictions on storage capacity because of a limitation on how many DRAM chips a memory controller can address. "Also, DRAM density has been limited by the rate of technological advancements of memory-process technology, doubling density in SDRAM about every three years," Werner said.
MetaRAM has overcome this problem by creating MetaSDRAM, a chip that sits between multiple DRAM chips on a computer's memory module, allowing cheaper one-gigabit memory chips to work together while making the package appear to the computer as a much larger-capacity memory chip. Different versions of the MetaRAM chips will double or quadruple capacity.
Ready to Roll Out
The chips fit into standard memory slots and are engineered to work with a minimum of power. Companies are already looking at how the MetaRAM chip will change the ways they do business.
"Business owners, independent researchers, and IT managers looking to implement virtualization will recognize a significant increase in efficiency at a lower cost," Werner said. He added they will be able to serve large databases much faster and solve large simulation problems in a fraction of today's time.
Today South Korean DRAM manufacturer Hynix Semiconductor Inc. announced the launch of an eight-gigabyte chip using the MetaRAM technology. The company said one version of the new chip is already available in production quantities.
Colfax International, which manufactures high-performance enterprise computing systems, also announced today that it has servers and workstations using the MetaRAM chip. Three of the systems are already available from Colfax.
Werner said companies that use MetaSDRAM will be able to compete more cost-effectively. That could be good news for industries like aerospace, automotive, financial services, and animation that all require high-performance computing.