Diablo Technologies' MCS architecture uses flash memory as RAM

By on July 30, 2013, 3:30 PM

A new breakthrough in flash memory from Diablo Technologies could have a tremendous impact on the performance of future storage systems. By tapping into the speedy data channel used to link CPUs with system memory, the company claims their Memory Channel Storage (MCS) architecture is able to reduce latencies by more than 85 percent compared to a PCI Express solid state drive.

As Diablo vice president of marketing Kevin Wagner pointed out, the memory channel is the fastest route to the CPU (aside from on-chip cache) and there’s essentially no bottlenecks to contend with.

With MCS, Diablo essentially figured out how to use the standard DDR3 interface and protocols to work with flash memory in servers. It’s an attractive proposal as flash memory is much cheaper than standard RAM and also much more compact. As such, an MCS component can contain up to 400GBs of storage and fits inside a standard DIMM slot that typically only accommodates 32GB modules.

Diablo says the only change needed to use MCS components is the addition of a few lines of code in the BIOS which sounds like a pretty reasonable tradeoff to me.

Jim Handy, an analyst with Objective Analysis, said having more RAM is something that a lot of people are going to get very excited about. In an optimal scenario, you’d like everything to be in RAM as it’s faster than traditional storage. Everything that’s in storage is just there because it can’t fit in RAM, he said.

The technology is already being implemented in the real world as a tier-one server vendor is preparing a dozen or so models that will use MCS. The first models are expected to ship this year, we’re told.

User Comments: 9

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Cycloid Torus Cycloid Torus said:

Storage and RAM blur together...that fast!! Could we see this as a single unified element? Does anyone know just how much faster this is? Factor of 10?

Mortalife Mortalife said:

Does it persist through power cycle do you think? If it does I concur with Cycloid.

1 person liked this | Littleczr Littleczr said:

Maybe Micro ATX boards will become even smaller. With integraded grphic cards on chips things are getting smaller and smaller.

Cycloid Torus Cycloid Torus said:


Seems like you get to boost from 8 Gb/sec to 200+ Gb/sec....so Windows Experience Index for storage goes from 6 or 7 to something in the 20s .. and maybe a mix of RAM and SSD all becomes "Memory" and all becomes "Storage" at the same time. Pretty neat.

pmshah said:

Flash memory may be cheaper but what about the life? As per currently accepted norms these are good for something like 50,000 write cycles. How long will they survive in PC environment?

misor misor said:

"As such, an MCS component can contain up to 400GBs of storage and fits inside a standard DIMM slot that typically only accommodates 32GB modules."

hehe...if I have a computer system with 400gb ddr3/4 x 2 memory modules... .. do I need a 128-bit windows OS?

JC713 JC713 said:

I cannot wait till this happens at the consumer level.

1 person liked this | Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

You won't need 128 bit Windows. 64 bit would cover GBs and TBs and even go into PBs in terms of addressing.

Guest said:

Fishy. Operating Systems are already optimized to offload most critical code into ram on a machine that has a decent amount of it. I have loaded my entire OS and Applications into RAM disks to see the performance impact and except for startup times the impact was rather underwhelming. I really don't see the accomplishment in this article to be the panacea they're trying to make it out to be. Sounds like a way to try to lure people in to investing in hype.

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