Intel and Micron have announced a new class of non-volatile memory, up to 1,000 times faster than NAND, which is the market’s most popular memory right now.
The pair say they have created the first new memory category in more than 25 years, following NAND in 1989.
3D XPoint technology, now in production, will be used in PCs, data centres and more, boasting technology that is 10 times denser than conventional memory. It also has 1,000 times greater endurance than NAND.
3D XPoint will aim to make new innovations possible in applications ranging from machine learning to real-time tracking of diseases and 8K gaming.
The technology will sample later this year with select customers, and Intel and Micron are developing individual products based on the technology.
"As the digital world quickly grows – from 4.4 zettabytes of digital data created in 2013 to an expected 44 zettabytes by 2020 – 3D XPoint technology can turn this immense amount of data into valuable information in nanoseconds," said Micron and Intel in a statement.
"For example, retailers may use 3D XPoint technology to more quickly identify fraud detection patterns in financial transactions; healthcare researchers could process and analyze larger data sets in real time, accelerating complex tasks such as genetic analysis and disease tracking.
"The performance benefits of 3D XPoint technology could also enhance the PC experience, allowing consumers to enjoy faster interactive social media and collaboration as well as more immersive gaming experiences. The non-volatile nature of the technology also makes it a great choice for a variety of low-latency storage applications since data is not erased when the device is powered off.
“For decades, the industry has searched for ways to reduce the lag time between the processor and data to allow much faster analysis,” said Rob Crooke, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group.
“This new class of non-volatile memory achieves this goal and brings game-changing performance to memory and storage solutions.”
Mark Adams, president of Micron, added: "One of the most significant hurdles in modern computing is the time it takes the processor to reach data on long-term storage. This new class of non-volatile memory is a revolutionary technology that allows for quick access to enormous data sets and enables entirely new applications.”
Here are a couple of videos and bullet points with more information on 3D XPoint tech:
Cross Point Array Structure – Perpendicular conductors connect 128 billion densely packed memory cells. Each memory cell stores a single bit of data. This compact structure results in high performance and high-density bits.
Stackable – In addition to the tight cross point array structure, memory cells are stacked in multiple layers. The initial technology stores 128Gb per die across two memory layers. Future generations of this technology can increase the number of memory layers, in addition to traditional lithographic pitch scaling, further improving system capacities.
Selector – Memory cells are accessed and written or read by varying the amount of voltage sent to each selector. This eliminates the need for transistors, increasing capacity while reducing cost.
Fast Switching Cell – With a small cell size, fast switching selector, low-latency cross point array and fast write algorithm, the cell is able to switch states faster than any existing non-volatile memory technology today.