Japanese company and storage solution expert Buffalo has just announced a new line of SSDs using MRAM for cache instead of the usual SDRAM, on its official website. MRAM is short for magnetoresistive random-access memory and it’s a technology that has been in development since the early ’90s.
According to Wikipedia, MRAM can be characterized as : Unlike conventional RAM chip technologies, in MRAM data is not stored as electric charge or current flows, but by magnetic storage elements. The elements are formed from two ferromagnetic plates, each of which can hold a magnetic field, separated by a thin insulating layer. One of the two plates is a permanent magnet set to a particular polarity, the other's field can be changed to match that of an external field to store memory. This configuration is known as a spin valve and is the simplest structure for a MRAM bit. A memory device is built from a grid of such "cells".
Using MRAM as cache provides increased tolerance to power loss and momentarily holds data that's being transacted between the drive and the host. This awards the controller some time to prevent data loss, if the power goes down.
The surprise is that, as we can see from the pictures, Buffalo is also introducing a PATA / IDE SSD
version using the new type or cache.
This would be a really nice upgrade for the IDE users and collectors especially if it brings performance higher than Transcend’s own PATA SSD
Excepting the MRAM cache, this is the only distinctive feature of a new line of SSDs Buffalo
is working on.
The products will be revealed a little later, at the Embedded Systems Expo (ESEC) 2012.