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article imageNew IBM chip will let an iPod store 500,000 songs from 40,000

By Chris V. Thangham     Apr 11, 2008 in Technology
IBM scientists have developed a breakthrough technology with a new chip that will be able to store a hundred times more songs than the current iPods and other MP3 players in the market.
The team from IBM has published this new technology in the current issue of Science that will enable a device to store more songs and consume less power.
The new storage is called “racetrack” memory uses the “spin” of an electron to store data and accesses data faster than current hard drives. Like flash memory devices, this “racetrack” memory requires no hard drive.
It has the capacity to store 500,000 songs or 3,500 movies and also costs less to produce and lasts long. Comparing this to the high capacity iPod in the market, the 160GB iPod Classic can store only 40,000 songs.
Another unique advantage is its single battery charge -- the device will run for “weeks at a time” without any recharge.
When compared with flash memory, this “racetrack” memory can write data faster and lasts longer without any wear and tear. The flash memory drives can only be used a few thousand times before they wear out.
Stuart Parkin, the IBM researcher told Times Online:
The promise of racetrack memory - for example, the ability to carry massive amounts of information in your pocket - could unleash creativity leading to devices and applications that nobody has imagined yet.
Dr. Parkin said this memory will have “three dimensional micro-electronics," which might lead to new possibilities.
He added: "The combination of extraordinarily interesting physics and spintronic materials engineering, one atomic layer at a time, continues to be highly challenging and very rewarding."
In his paper, Parkin describes a milestone in which he and his team were able to store data in columns of magnetic material arranged on the surface of a silicon wafer. The information moves around the columns at high speed, giving the technology its racetrack name.
IBM said the technology is still at the early exploratory stage, but one can expect such devices in the market within the next 10 years.
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