Re: So some fast processors + biggish RAM + bigger chunk NVM with quick sharing by others.
The idea was that it wouldn't have RAM or storage, just enormous quantities of NVRAM operating in both roles. And the processors would be specialized hardware cores, hundreds or thousands of them, all sharing the same memory. So from an architecture point of view, it requires a big rethink of how a computer actually works.
So yeah, it was actually a bit more interesting than you're making out. Not massively original, though; it's a fairly obvious idea once you have NVRAM, and just needs the details worked out. The Machine was an attempt to do that working out.