facebook rss twitter

Micron demos its 3D XPoint memory packing QuantX SSDs

by Mark Tyson on 10 August 2016, 11:31

Tags: Micron (NASDAQ:MU), Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qac5je

Add to My Vault: x

Micron has announced a new line of 3D XPoint memory solutions. Micron QuantX technology SSDs will use 3D XPoint non-volatile memory and are a completely separate set of products to Intel's Optane range. There will be fantastic performance advances on offer when these drives come to market, however the cost of 3D XPoint memory is about four to five times more expensive than NAND flash.

In a blog post Micron crows about the performance of its upcoming QuantX technology drives, using 3D XPoint memory. It says that users can benefit from performance "over 10X better than the best NAND flash-based SSDs" when using a PCIe interface. The EE Times observed "prototype SSDs with Xpoint memory chips on a PCIe Gen 3 interface handling writes at less than 20 microseconds and reads and less than 10 ms" at the Flash Memory Summit, in Santa Clara, California. With access to four PCIe channels Micron QuantX drives could deliver up to 900,000 IOPS, or with eight lane PCIe connections up to 1.9 million IOPS.

Turning to information about capacities, Micron plans to launch QuantX SSD products ranging from 200GB to 1.6TB. The first generation of drives will be aimed at data centre customers, arriving from approx Q2 2017 onwards. It isn't until 2019 that Micron forsees its 3D Xpoint based memory products providing 'break-out' revenue. Previously Intel has indicated that 3D Xpoint offers up to 10x the density of NAND so the tech will enable smaller, higher capacity storage devices.

Micron revealed that 3D XPoint memory costs about half as much as DRAM but about four or five times as much as flash NAND. Due to this it is thought unlikely to replace NAND for prosumers, for now, but will replace DRAM for many enterprise applications. Meanwhile major storage and server vendors are clamouring to get 3D XPoint memory based products like Micron's QuantX technology range. Actual product pricing wasn't touched upon but it is thought that the expense of the new 3D Xpoint memory means that Micron will focus on enterprise, however Intel has plans for M.2 Optane drives for laptops and tablets.

In other Micron news, the firm has introduced Mobile 3D NAND for next-generation smartphones. The first such products will be based upon the Universal Flash Storage (UFS) 2.1 standard and could offer up to 20 per cent better energy efficiency.

All photos from The SSD Review.

HEXUS Forums :: 11 Comments

Login with Forum Account

Don't have an account? Register today!
That's a FAR cry from the “cheaper than NAND” line they were touting at the end of last year.

Inability to factor costs correctly or taking the industry for a ride?
That's a FAR cry from the “cheaper than NAND” line they were touting at the end of last year.

Inability to factor costs correctly or taking the industry for a ride?

Except they weren't. The line was “cheaper than DRAM”
Except they weren't. The line was “cheaper than DRAM”

How much faster is the 3D XPoint non-volatile memory? Intel and Micron claim it offers an astonishing speed of “up to 1,000 times faster than NAND”. Furthermore the new chips are ten times denser than conventional memory, thanks to the 3D structure and transistor-less design. The good news doesn't stop there as Intel and Micron scientists created the new chips to offer 1,000 times the endurance of NAND, lower power usage and to be more economical to produce.

So, they did say that.

I'm surprised at the cost to be honest…. but it should still be a good advance in tech
The cost is the biggest downer here. Effectively DRAM pricing for Storage performance. You could get 200GB of this for the price of 100GB of DRAM - many would go for the DRAM.

Sure, it's a factor of two cheaper than DRAM, and it's an order of magnitude lower latency than SSD (10x, not 1000x faster), but it's still 3 orders of magnitude higher latency than DRAM. Bandwidth wasn't mentioned, but over PCIe it's going to be far lower than DRAM too.

But, every advance starts like this, and then costs come down, densities go up, and performance improves. In 5 years time this may be ready for prosumers!