Smaller and faster RAM with up to 128GBps transfer speeds could be on the way thanks to research from IBM and MIcron. The companies have developed three-dimensional memory, stacking individual DRAM chips vertically that would normally have to be placed side-by-side, though the efficiencies gained aren't solely down to space. Communication between the stacked chips and the host device is achieved through a new creation known as through-silicon vias, or TSVs, which run vertically through the pile of chips and act as conduits to the host device. Thanks to the TSVs, in testing the memory has reached data speeds of 128GBps, ten times faster than current memory. On top of this, IBM claims the chips are 70 percent more power efficient than today's DRAM.
The new research is expected to form a key part of Samsung and Micron's Hybrid Memory Cube technology, first announced back in October. IBM and Micron hope to have commercial availability in two years, with servers likely to use it first. Looking beyond that, IBM fellow Subu Iyer said that the new process “will have applications beyond memory, enabling other industry segments as well.” What exactly those new segments are remains to be seen, but we certainly wouldn’t complain if our computers got the kind of speed bump described here.