Intel’s bold plan to reinvent computer memory

“Intel just unleashed a new kind of computer memory it believes will fundamentally change the way the world builds computers,” Cade Metz reports for Wired. “But it won’t tell the world what’s inside.”

“The company calls this new creation 3D XPoint — pronounced ‘three-dee cross-point’ — and this week, after touting the stuff for a year-and-a-half, Intel finally pushed it into the market,” Metz reports. “You can think of the new technology as a computer building block that can serve more than one purpose — a single thing that can replace several others.”

“Certainly, Intel doesn’t want others duplicating the technology, which it developed alongside hardware maker Micron,” Metz reports. “Traditionally, computers stored data in two ways. They stored most of it on hard drives, which could hold large amounts of information for long periods of time, even as machines were powered on and off — and do it pretty cheaply. But computers also used separate memory systems called DRAM to store the data they needed right now. This memory was much faster, but it was also more expensive and held less data. 3D XPoint can replace all those pieces — or so Intel says. ‘“This is truly transformational,’ Intel CEO Brian Krzanich tells WIRED. ‘It allows architects — both at the PC level and the data center level — to rethink how they build the system.’ …According to Intel, it’s about 1,000 times faster than flash and can store about 10 times more data than DRAM.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Price? Licensing or lack thereof?

Those are just two big questions among many.


  1. Current it is very expensive and requires PCIe slots, and it targeted towards large scale data access systems, like AWS etc.. Don’t expect this to turn up in a mac any time soon.

    It will however be in available for every PC (and hackintosh) by the end of the year. But not not a mac, because.. PCIe direct lane access.. Tb3 would bottleneck this.

      1. if Apple keeps waiting for the ‘next’ thing , they would never build a new Mac.
        By the time they wait for this they would be waiting for a new USB spec, new Intel chip etc. There would be no end.

        Apple should do ‘interim’ speed bump upgrades whenever possible in between major changes. The Mac Pro still has base 256 GB drive (that’s like a giant iPod!) and the GPU is 3-5 times slower than PC cards today — with no drop in price since 2013.

        If they don’t want to upgrade so often they need to build in user upgradeability.

  2. Memory in the cloud? You can rent it and release it at will? Base systems have no storage or RAM but link to this stuff and run all you want, need more? Allocate more in realtime. Done with that? Put it back.

    Base OS is free and takes up no storage as it’s a template you start with. You pay for what you use/keep on time as needed.

    Just theories running the gauntlet in my mind.

    Don’t like it one bit.

  3. 3D XPoint will come in two forms: DIMM and NVMe SSD.

    3D XPoint (Optane) can be a non-volatile substitute for DDR4 SDRAM DIMMs.

    DIMM form will be optimized for performance. SSD form optimized for capacity.

    Micron is Intel’s partner.

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