TECHKNOW: Things to come...Instant-On Computers

TECHKNOW: Things to come...Instant-On Computers - Ever wondered why your PC takes ages to boot up? It's because the data in its 'working' memory (Random Access Memory) is lost when you shut it down, so it has to load its operating system and application p

by JAMES WOUDHUYSEN, James@Woudhuysen.com
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Ever wondered why your PC takes ages to boot up? It's because the data in its 'working' memory (Random Access Memory) is lost when you shut it down, so it has to load its operating system and application programs from hard disk every time it's switched on again.

Not for much longer, though, thanks to a new memory chip from IBM and Infineon Technologies. Magnetic Random Access Memory (MRAM) differs from conventional memory (Dynamic or DRAM) in that it works when the power is off.

MRAM should go into volume production in 2004. It will be as non-volatile as the flash memory used today in MP3 players, but more capacious and more reliable. By 2008, your PC may be up and running in an instant.

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