This is a guest post from Mike Montemorra, who is a technology guru with long and successful career in computer industry. Mike keeps an eye on the latest developments in computer and storage technology and publishes his observations weekly. Below is his brief summary of what was important in the past week.
What did we learn last week?
It’s been another glorious week in Colorado.. sunshine and wind on the plains and snow in the mountains. Thanks to California for leaving just a little bit of water in the storms to dump on our Rockies to fill our reservoirs. Next week promises cold and snow even for us on the plains…
It looks like Hoya is busy building more factories for HDD glass substrates, this time in Laos to compliment their existing factories in Vietnam and Thailand. It looks like two factors are driving this expansion: More 3.5″ disks in each enterprise HDD means thinner substrates and the need for high Tg glass to allow for the HAMR flash annealing process. Aluminum subs remain cheaper, so it is likely that lower platter count HDD’s (non-HAMR) will stay with Al.
Here is a fascinating article by Osaka Univ. on lowering power consumption at high datarates in MRAM devices. This is early work, but it once again highlights the wide ranging potential for spintronic devices.
Image source: CNRS News
At the 64th IEDM conference this past December, the next ‘big thing’ could be the introduction of in-memory computing using both analog and digital memory methodologies to handle the vast amount of data generated by neuromorphic, IoT and other computations. There is a lot of work to develop RRAM as both an analog and digital memory element (by manipulating the various set/reset pulse shapes) which would be a huge step forward in compute. Consider how the introduction of in-memory compute would revolutionize edge computing and many of today’s memory/latency bottlenecks!
A sign of the (current) times with global notebook shipments declining and gaming notebook shipments slowing but, in a sign that there will be an upcoming 5G boom later this year that should drive demand, Nokia and others are seeing lots of demand for their 5G systems and components. Just look at this roadmap from Qualcomm for examples.
It looks like 7nm geometry transistors are pretty cheap (too bad the NRE and mask sets aren’t)… this AMD Radeon VII gaming GPU uses a processor with 13.2 billion transistors… all for $699! This article discusses how AMD’s latest gaming offering competes. (I like the 4096 bit memory bus width which should play well (and be very fast) with their 3D DRAM memories…)
‘Spin excitons’ in some non-magnetic materials may be stable and controllable after all as Hund predicted. This paper, published in Nature Communications describes the modeled expectations and measured results (fair warning… this paper is very theoretical). Don’t expect this to result in breakthroughs in magnetic recording anytime soon however as the stable temps are subambient and they corrode rapidly (plus they are tough to control). … but there might ultimately be application for other areas of spintronics using these compounds..
This hack may turn out to be a wake up call for those companies that do not have offline backup systems like disk, tape or sophisticated online server systems. There must have been a gaping hole in their server administrator creds for the hackers to be capable of formatting multiple VFEmail servers. Customers are understandably pissed and the owner is looking at retirement options… Ugh indeed
Here’s another thought on what Ultima Thule (MU69) might actually look like... man, there is a lot of funky stuff orbiting our sun… (I’m waiting for the gold and diamond encrusted meteorite to land in my backyard…)