Skip to main content

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.