Everspin Technologies has started shipping its own ST-MRAM (Spin-Torque Magnetoresistive Random Access Memory) chips to select customers. Its ST-MRAM stores data in a magnetic state and does not suffer wear-out or data retention issues associated with Flash storage technology.
According to the company's press release, ST-MRAM is capable of 1600 million (1.6 billion) IOPS, with a memory bandwidth of up to 3.2 GB/s and latency measured in nanoseconds. For comparison, our recently-reviewed Transcend SATA III SSD720 (256GB) was capable of 17,000 IOPS, with sequential read speed of about 524MB/s, and write speed of approximately 290MB/s. Its response time is measured in milliseconds, compared to ST-MRAM whose latency is measured in nanoseconds.
Despite its outstanding specifications, Everspin Technologies is position is current batch of 64MB DDR3 ST-MRAM memory chips as a supplement to traditional SSDs as they provide "...an ideal entry point for non-volatile buffer and cache memory in solid state and RAID storage systems as well as storage appliances. The 64Mb device will complement existing low cost memory technologies, reducing overall system cost and complexity.". This may be partly due to their prohibitive costs as Computerworld has estimated its costs to be approximately 50 times more than current Flash-based storage solutions. As with any new technology, given time for the manufacturing process to mature and gain the economics of scale, we may be looking to ST-MRAM as an alternative to current Flash technology for our future storage needs.