A key feature of Apple’s M1 chips may come to PCs

Researchers have created a new version of memory, called ‘UltraRAM’, that can store files and data without power and still have the same speed as RAM.

A research team at Lancaster University has developed a new one memory system, called ‘UltraRAM, ‘which combines the data storage elements in solid state storage with the ultra-fast features of modern RAM. It’s a new offering of functionality demonstrated by Apple with its M1 line of processors, which uses a unified memory system that can share RAM between different processor units for create significant performance gains. With Apple’s new Macs, both the CPU and the GPU can share system memory based on the needs of the applications running on the computer at that time. In this new technology, there is potential for socket RAM to perform the functions of an SSD faster than the current storage solutions on the market.


How RAM and SSDs work is an integral part of understanding why UltraRAM’s unified memory is important. Random access memory, often abbreviated to RAM, is a form of volatile storage for computers and mobile devices. Based on computer action, RAM can quickly find and store key information and just as quickly throw it away to make room for more important data. On the other hand, solid state storage – commonly found in computer SSDs – is non-volatile and will store data for long periods, albeit at slower speeds than RAM. While RAM can reach incredible speeds limited only by thermal output, SSDs switch the potential speed for long-term storage.

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Research published by Lancaster University shows a new type of RAM that can store files even without power, yet retains the groundbreaking speeds of modern RAM. Science uses various semiconductors – otherwise found in LEDs and lasers – to store information for long periods without access to electricity. This is exactly why UltraRAM has been invented as the next unified memory solution. If UltraRAM can store data in the long run at the same speeds as the current generation of RAM, which will be small enough enter the gaming phone market, it may replace the need for SSDs in the future.

Differences between UltraRAM and Apple’s Unified Memory

Apple M1 chip statistics chart

Apples M1 line of chips contains a different type of unified memory than the UltraRAM concept proposed by Lancaster University. In the M1 processor, the RAM modules are embedded in the system-on-a-chip (SoC). The SoC contains the CPU, GPU, and neural motor on a single chip, allowing the computer to access memory between any of these three processors as needed. UltraRAM technology takes the idea of ​​total memory and places it as an SSD replacement. Instead of sharing memory between processing devices, it is possible that UltraRAM can use memory as long-term storage at fast speeds.

UltraRAM, although still far from hitting the consumer market, can lead to real improvements in daily use of computer. Although memory can only store a limited amount of data due to its high speed, it can store important, frequently accessed data. A potential case would be to save the operating system UltraRAM. Loading a computer’s operating system at something as fast as modern RAM can reduce startup time in a way that would be noticed by even the most casual computer users.

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Source: Lancaster University

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