Code-named 'Alverstone' the new chips offer higher read and write speeds, and have a longer lifespan than current transistor-based Flash memory chips.
The new chips were designed as a joint effort between Intel and STMicroelectronics.
The two companies plan to make Alverstone the cornerstone of Numonyx, a new chip business formed from elements of each company. The deal is expected to close later this year.
PCM chips store each bit of data in a small piece of chalcogenide glass which changes states between crystalline and amorphous as opposed to an open or closed transistor.
The chips do not require a constant flow of electricity to retain data, making them an ideal replacement for Flash memory.
"This is the most significant non-volatile memory advancement in 40 years," said Ed Doller, chief technology officer-designate at Numonyx.
"There have been plenty of attempts to find and develop new non-volatile memory technologies [but] PCM provides the most compelling solution."
The prototype Alverstone chips will be provided to system builders to design new devices for release when the PCM chips enter production.
Intel rolls out phase-change chips
By Shaun Nichols on Feb 8, 2008 6:40AM