Intel and Micron begin production on new breakthrough class of non-volatile memory; 3D Xpoint memory speeds up to 1000 faster than NAND
Intel Corporation and Micron Technology, Inc. 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 memory in 1989.
The explosion of connected devices and digital services is generating massive amounts of new data. To make this “big data” useful, it must be stored and analyzed 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 partners said. The technology is up to 1,000 times faster and has up to 1,000 times greater endurance 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. This new class of non-volatile memory achieves this goal and brings game-changing performance to memory and storage solutions.—Rob Crooke, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group
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.—Mark Adams, president of Micron
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.
3D XPoint innovations include:
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.
Stackable. The initial technology stores 128Gb per die across two stacked memory layers. Future generations of this technology can increase the number of memory layers and/or use traditional lithographic pitch scaling to increase die capacity.
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 and 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 nonvolatile memory technologies today.
3D XPoint technology will sample later this year with select customers, and Intel and Micron are developing individual products based on the technology.