Micron And Intel Partner On New NAND Technology 3D XPoint

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New data is being generated at a massive scale by 2024 total data is expected to grow as high as 44 zettabytes (44 billion terabytes). Connect devices and digital services are piling on the explosion of new data even faster. Collecting the data is one piece of the equation but collected data that just sits is useless. In order for the data to be useful it needs to be analyzed and analyzed quickly. Until now there has always been a trade off between cost, power, performance. The new 3D XPoint memory will combine the performance, power, density, non-volatility, and costs savings of all the memory technologies that current exist. Micron and Intel claim their new technology will have 1000 times the performance and endurance of current NAND technology while being ten times denser than traditional memory.

Micron And Intel Partner On New NAND Technology 3D XPoint

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It won't ship until next year...allegedly. The launch event wasn't very inspiring, more like an opportunity for a lot of high fives. I'd guess we're 2017 before there's any meaningful market penetration but hard to tell from here without more isight on Intel's and Micron's product plans.

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It's progress, nonetheless. There's been plenty of research papers and white papers and opinion pieces over the years, and smaller OEMs have repeatedly professed how this technology is "coming soon". But now it's got the backing of two of the biggest names in the industry it's far more likely to actually materialise.

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There's no doubt about that. Will be interesting to see the response from Samsung and SanDisk/Toshiba.

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If you can believe the documentation published at Everspin's website,

they have been in production for quite some time now with their

Spin-Torque MRAM.

If their claims are accurate, I have to wonder

why some of Micron's competitors have not made offers

to acquire Everspin and all of its intellectual property.

About a year ago ...

I approached Everspin in good faith with a need for a Non-Volatile DDR3 SODIMM,

but they chose to conceal details, rather than to enter into a NDA with me,

even though their website claims "DDR3" compatibility, but without elaborating.

Because Everspin are supplying their ST-MRAM to "smart meter" manufacturers,

the controversy that has now erupted around smart meters may be causing

Everspin to stay the course they have chosen, and NOT explore widespread

implementation of an industry standard DDR3-1333 or DDR3-1600 NV-SODIMM

that is also pin- and PnP-compatible.

Because the market for SODIMMs is currently so HUGE, I continue to expect

that mass production of a PnP-compatible NV-SODIMM would necessarily

drive the unit cost down, as usually happens whenever new technologies

are widely adopted.

Our market study projected 1 million devices averaging 8 x NV-SODIMMs per device,

or 8 Million NV-SODIMMS during the first 2 to 3 years of worldwide marketing

and distribution. And, that projection did NOT assume anything about

other uses of such a PnP-compatible NV-SODIMM, of which I also expect

there to be many -- too many to anticipate with any accuracy at this time.

If some other NV-RAM manufacturer would like to talk about mounting

their memory technology on a PnP DDR3-1600 SO-DIMM form factor,

I remain all ears.


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Anandtech has an article on this.

So this is:

  • Higher endurance than NAND by a few orders of magnitude, but lower than DRAM
  • Latency is in the tens of ns rather than microseconds (DRAM is in the ns of course)
  • Cost is a bit higher than NAND, but somewhat lower than DRAM
  • Will probably be used purely in enterprise at first

Anyways it's an interesting read.

It is also a pretty substantial technical advancement. I suppose the search remains for something with the best characteristics of everything (latency and performance of SRAM, whilst being cheap).

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