PCM or Phase Change Memory has been a known storage format for decades. However, it never gained any popularity owing to the fact that it was way to expensive when you compare it to DRAM and flash.
However, now, through the efforts of scientists at IBM Research, this technology has become what would very well be the future of storage technology. By demonstrating the ability to store 3 bits of data per cell, they have now made PCM faster and cheaper than ever before.
They did this by refining the temperature controls when the current passes through and heats up the cells, which let up to 3 bits be stored on each cell, thus neutralizing the advantages that the other types of memory had over it.
Up until now, since PCM was too expensive, DRAM and Flash were used in combination to provide storage options for our devices. DRAM works as an active memory while devices are on, and Flash takes over when it comes to store data long-term.
Since PCM shares the properties of both, it was always the logical choice for better performance. With this new development, it also becomes the economical choice.
Even if we ignore these new developments for a bit, PCM still enjoys the biggest advantage over the rest, due to the fact that the memory can survive at least 10 million write cycles, as compared to a mere 3000 write cycles of Flash memory.
When you grasp the implications of these claims, it’s easy to imagine that once this new form of PCM storage starts getting adopted, we are surely to see a new level of performance from our electronic devices.
IBM hasn’t given any details about when or in what form this new breakthrough will be introduced to the market, so for now, it’s a waiting game to see if other technologies can catch up.