back to article Flash cells near shrinkage limit

You call it flash memory. The engineers at this week's International Electron Device Meeting (IEDM) in San Francisco call it non-volatile memory. According to Stefan Lai of BeingAMC, there's plenty of money to be made in non-volatile memory, whether it's based on the common flash technology or on emerging replacements. A cool …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    >Programmable Metallization Cell (PMC), PCM (...)


    >It also has a "RAM-like" read/write life of 10^10 cycles, its switching time is good

    >(...) PMC has a good life expectancy of 10^6 cycles, and a fast switching rate.

    So, is it 10^10 or 10^6 and is the switching rate "fast" or "good"?

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Do the *MATH*?


  3. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Do the *MATH*?

    Oh it's a common idiom, get over it.

    I can't believe you anonymised just to *fume*. You funny.

  4. Jon


    I thought the same thing at first, but when I re-read it I realised that the article talks about 3 different types of flash including PCM and PMC... very subtle difference there. Similarly the 10^10 is for PCM, the 10^6 is for PMC.

  5. David Taylor


    I did a double take on that too, but the article does make sense. It talks about both "Phase Change Memory (PCM)" and "Programmable Metallization Cell (PMC)"

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    oops again and again

    "Prices have shrunk as well - their now about one two-thousandth of what they were in 1986, said Lai."

    Sorry to be a pedant. But for people who pride themselves on these sorts of things as you at the register do, you do look a little retarded.

    it should "they're"

    The article I was reading just before this on your site had another one. "thinking off" instead of "thinking of".

    Im not the greatest speller either, but then I'm not producing a journal that routinely highlights errors from its competitors.

    Sort it out reg. Your starting too look a bit fick.

  7. Popup


    Normally MLC means Multi Layer Cell, not Level. And it's a technique that increases memory volatility, not the contrary.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Quite right, I am indeed an arse.

  9. Marvin the Martian

    Doing the math, if you insist

    > The problem will be - do the math - 10,000 times bigger.

    If there's any form of error correction or avoidance - RAIDlike duplication or reed-solomon or whatever - then that math is not true.

    Let's see, say the newer one has a 1/10 chance per cell per month of failing. With a simple duplication that's roughly 1/100 chance (independent probabilities). So the older version similarly has a 10^-4*10^-4 = 10^-8 probability, in other words 10,000 times smaller than the quotation suggests.

    Obviously there's not usually a direct duplication, but any other self-correcting design has a similar exponential, instead of linear, dependence on error probabilities.

  10. Bronek Kozicki


    I think it's Multi Level Cell , i.e. memory call capable of storing more than one bit of information (e.g. four levels of electric current). There are no "multiple layers" in a flash cell.

    I'll just go.

  11. Steve again


    > Before you read on, be forewarned: The acronyms will come thick and fast.

    I was going to be pedantic here - this being a pet peeve of mine - and observe that while I could see plenty of abbreviations, none of them appeared to be acronyms. However a quick check of to double check I wasn't making a complete arse of myself indicated that while in real life abbreviations do indeed need to form a word on their own before they can be honestly referred to as acronyms, it is possible - according to the previously unknown to me "Free On-line Dictionary of Computing" - to use the term acronym in computing for any "identifier formed from some of the letters (often the initials) of a phrase".

    So what think you all? Is the FOLDOC correct or just being lazy?

  12. CTG

    @Steve again

    FOLDOC is being lazy. An acronym is specifically a word that is formed from initial letters. Any abbreviation that can only be pronounced by spelling out the letters (e.g. BBC) is not an acronym. I think the practice of calling any abbreviation an acronym comes from TLA, which is generally expanded as Three Letter Acronym, rather than Three Letter Abbreviation (ironic given that TLA itself is an abbreviation, not an acronym).

    I'll have to go now, I have a few more hairs to split.

    [Favourite FOLDOC entry:,+a+Real+Programmer]

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