Volatile vs Non-volatile memory
The advent of computer brought simplicity, speed and accuracy in basic operations and activities in the everyday life. Computer which is a device that can be instructed to carry out arithmetic or logical operations varying in size and shape, with different specifications and processing power. It can be used as a control center for various consumer devices and services.
The computer (particularly the modern ones) consists of at least one processing element (the central processing unit for performing arithmetic and logical operations) and some form of memory (for storing information). The memory can be sub-divided into volatile and non-volatile memory.
The volatile memory is a type of computer memory that requires power to maintain stored information. In this type of memory, power needs to be supplied constantly for information to be retained. It retains the information stored on it as long as it is powered and power is not interrupted. It is mostly used as a primary storage. Examples of volatile memories are dynamic random access memory (DRAM) and static random access memory (SRAM). SRAM is commonly used in smaller devices while DRAM is used for desktop system memory.
The non-volatile memory is a type of computer memory that can retained information stored on it even when not powered. They do not require constant powers supply unlike the volatile memory type. Information can still be retrieved even when power has been removed from it. Examples of non-volatile memories are the ROMs (Read Only Memory), flash memory, Magnetic storage devices (eg. Hard disks and floppy disks), optical discs etc. Upcoming technologies include MRAM, SONOS, CBRAM, NVDIMM etc.
Volatile vs Non-Volatile memory market trends
Memories are also fitted into embedded systems. An embedded system can be said to be the controller (through the use of programs and operating system) of mechanical or an electrical system. It differs from computer as it dedicated to a single purpose in modern electronics to serve as control system while a computer is all encompassing i.e. it is general purpose and can be used in any system. The world’s market for non-volatile memory is expected to reach $82 billion by the year 2022 with an annual growth rate of 10 percent. The need for high speed, low power consuming and highly expandable memory devices have been associated with this increase as well as more demand for non-volatile memory in connected and wearable devices.
Also, the adoption of flash memories in consumer electronics due to its low price and power consumption is seen a factor for the increasing market. The non-volatile memory technology is also being adopted in the automobile industry, power and energy distribution companies, defensive devices, aerospace and the health care institutions. The non-volatile memory technology led the market in 2016. The market for the non-volatile memory is expected to grow further in the coming years. However, the market growth may be affected by low write endurance and limited storage capacity.
In terms of geographical regions, APAC (Asia Pacific) was reported to have held the largest market share for non-volatile memory (in 2016). The large consumer base in APAC has contributed to the increased market. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. is a major key player in the non-volatile memory market. They are trailed by Toshiba Corp.and Micron Technology in the US. Other key players in the industry include Sandisk corp., Intel corporation, Fujitsu Ltd etc.