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Cheaper computer memory is on the horizon thanks to this RAM breakthrough

Mushkin Blackline DDR4-2400 16GB
(Image credit: TechRadar)

A new way of designing the basic component that goes into every single system memory could herald a new era of cheap, power-sipping D-RAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory).

Research organization imec recently presented a new technology that foregoes the use of storage capacitors and uses two indium-gallium-zinc-oxide thin-film transistors (IGZO-TFTs).

Gouri Sankar Kar, Program Director at imec, said in a statement that the solution will "will help tear down the so-called memory wall". This refers to the increasing speed difference between the CPU and the memory located externally.

More memory for your money

In an email exchange with TechRadar Pro, a spokesperson for the organization confirmed that the goal is to offer memory chips with capacities larger than 128Gbit. That would open the doors for low-power, high density 3D D-RAM units that could, in turn, push memory prices down further.

Layer stacking is a common strategy used in solid state drives to boost capacity at a cheaper price, without sacrificing performance too much. Next generation Flash memory chips are expected to have almost 200 layers (Micron recently unveiled a 176-layer 3D NAND).

What makes this imec breakthrough even more exciting is that it may allow for in-memory computing to become more affordable and RAM disks to become far more commonplace.

Desire Athow

Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Then followed a weekly tech column in a local business magazine in Mauritius, a late night tech radio programme called Clicplus and a freelancing gig at the now-defunct, Theinquirer, with the legendary Mike Magee as mentor. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global techfests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. He has an affinity for anything hardware and staunchly refuses to stop writing reviews of obscure products or cover niche B2B software-as-a-service providers.