IBM's revolutionary new memory format

Solid-state (pictured) and conventional hard drives could eventually be replaced by racetrack memory

IBM researchers are working on a new hi-tech form of memory they believe could eventually replace hard drives and flash-based memory altogether.

Based on the recently discovered spintronic phenomena, the new memory format has been dubbed racetrack memory by the IBM researchers working on it and uses tiny magnetic boundaries, known as domain walls, to store data.

The domain walls are read by exploiting the weak magnetic fields generated by the spin of electrons.

Years away

Although the IBM research team have yet to build a functioning racetrack memory unit and estimate that the technology is another eight years away from becoming viable for commercial use, they are confident that the technology could eventually replace existing storage methods.

Currently, conventional hard discs are cheap, but consist of moving parts that can break down. Solid state memory, by comparison, is quicker and more reliable, but costs considerably more that hard discs.

The IBM researchers expect that, once fully developed, racetrack memory will be cheaper, faster and more reliable than any existing storage medium.


Ultimately, the IBM researchers hope it will come to replace hard disc and solid state memory altogether.

It’s believed that the capacity of racetrack memory could be up to 100 times that of existing hard drive technology, which means even more songs and movies on your portable media player.