Startup Looks to Tackle Memory Crunch

A new company, called MetaRAM, wants to increase the memory in workstations and servers without driving up system costs.

A new startup is looking to take the bite out of the current memory crunch.

MetaRAM, which started up about two years ago and officially announced itself to the world Feb. 25, is releasing a new product, MetaSDRAM, which looks to add memory capacity to workstations and servers without significantly adding to the overall cost of a system.

The San Jose, Calif., company is the brainchild of Fred Weber, the former chief technology officer of Advanced Micro Devices who played a key role in developing that company's Opteron processor technology, and Suresh Rajan, a former Nvidia executive.

What the company has developed is a new type of chip set that server vendors can use in conjunction with a system's DIMMs (dual in-line memory modules) that will allow them to double or quadruple the capacity of a standard system without radically changing the makeup of the infrastructure or system motherboard.

For example, a pair of two-socket servers based on quad-core microprocessors for Advanced Micro Devices can now offer about 64GB of memory each. With the chip sets that MetaRAM has developed, a vendor can manufacture a single system with 128GB capacity, while increasing the utilization of the CPUs.

On a much larger scale, the startup's executives believe that their technology can scale the memory capacity of an eight-socket system anywhere from 512GB up to 1TB.

The MetaRAM technology also looks to close the gap between processor compute power, which according to Moore's Law doubles about every 18 months, and DRAM (dynamic RAM) capacity, which doubles about every 36 months. This gap requires vendors to add expensive DRAM technology to each DIMM, which drives up the price of the system.

Although Weber worked at AMD, the MetRAM technology will work with both AMD and Intel processors, and Intel Capital has made an investment in the company, as has several other venture capital firms.