“A new kind of memory technology is going into production, which is up to 1,000 times faster than the NAND flash storage used in memory cards and computers’ solid state drives (SSDs),” Leo Kelion reports for BBC News. “The innovation is called 3D XPoint, and is the invention of Intel and Micron. The two US companies predict a wide range of benefits, from speeding up scientific research to making more elaborate video games.”
“If all goes to plan, the first products to feature 3D XPoint (pronounced cross-point) will go on sale next year. Its price has yet to be announced,” Kelion reports. “Rather than pitch it as a replacement for either flash storage or RAM (random access memory), the company suggests it will be used alongside them to hold certain data ‘closer’ to a processor so that it can be accessed more quickly than before.”
“3D XPoint does away with the need to use the transistors at the heart of NAND chips,” Kelion reports. “3D XPoint works by changing the properties of the material that makes up its memory cells to either having a high resistance to electricity to represent a one or a low resistance to represent a zero. The advantage is that each memory cell can be addressed individually, radically speeding things up. An added benefit is that it should last hundreds of times longer than NAND before becoming unreliable.”
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Much more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Note: Intel’s and Micron’s joint press release:
SANTA CLARA, Calif., and BOISE, Idaho, July 28, 2015 – Intel Corporation and Micron Technology, Inc. today unveiled 3D XPoint™ technology, a non-volatile memory that has the potential to revolutionize any device, application or service that benefits from fast access to large sets of data. Now in production, 3D XPoint technology is a major breakthrough in memory process technology and the first new memory category since the introduction of NAND flash in 1989.
The explosion of connected devices and digital services is generating massive amounts of new data. To make this data useful, it must be stored and analyzed very quickly, creating challenges for service providers and system builders who must balance cost, power and performance trade-offs when they design memory and storage solutions. 3D XPoint technology combines the performance, density, power, non-volatility and cost advantages of all available memory technologies on the market today. The technology is up to 1,000 times faster and has up to 1,000 times greater endurance3 than NAND, and is 10 times denser than conventional memory.
“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.”
“One of the most significant hurdles in modern computing is the time it takes the processor to reach data on long-term storage,” said Mark Adams, president of Micron. “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.”
As the digital world quickly grows – from 4.4 zettabytes of digital data created in 2013 to an expected 44 zettabytes by 2024 – 3D XPoint technology can turn this immense amount of data into valuable information in nanoseconds. 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.
New Recipe, Architecture for Breakthrough Memory Technology
Following more than a decade of research and development, 3D XPoint technology was built from the ground up to address the need for non-volatile, high-performance, high-endurance and high-capacity storage and memory at an affordable cost. It ushers in a new class of non-volatile memory that significantly reduces latencies, allowing much more data to be stored close to the processor and accessed at speeds previously impossible for non-volatile storage.
The innovative, transistor-less cross point architecture creates a three-dimensional checkerboard where memory cells sit at the intersection of word lines and bit lines, allowing the cells to be addressed individually. As a result, data can be written and read in small sizes, leading to faster and more efficient read/write processes.
Sources: Intel Corporation, Micron Technology, Inc.