Intel to Launch Ultra fast XPoint powered SSDs in 2016
Intel to Launch Ultra fast XPoint powered SSDs in 2016
Published: 19th August 2015 | Source: Pcper |
Intel and Micron announce 3D XPoint Memory - 1000x Faster Than NAND
Last month Intel Micron Micron unveiled 3D XPoint technology, a non-volatile memory technology that has the potential to revolutionize memory devices, applications and services that benefits from fast access to large sets of data.
Intel's 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, bringing to the market a Non-Volatile memory which sits almost exactly in between existing NAND and DRAM technologies with the benefits of both.
Today Intel announced that this new memory technology will be making it's way into consumer SSDs in 2016 and will offer up to 5.5x the speed of Intel's NAND based DC P3700 NVMe SSDS under most workloads and up to 7x faster when under a que depth of 1, which has traditionally been where traditional SSDs are at their weakest.
These SSDs will be available in 2.5", M.2, PCIe form factors and will use the NVMe protocol. These SSDs will also support a queue depth of 65,535 commands, which is simply staggering when compared to AHCI drives, which only support a queue depth of up to 32.
“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.”
The performance benefits of 3D XPoint technology can be used to greatly enhance the PC experience, allowing consumers to enjoy faster interactive social media and collaboration as well as more immersive gaming experiences since this storage medium has offers both faster speeds and lower latency than traditional NAND based SSDs. 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.
This new type of memory could also be used instead of DRAM for certain devices, with the potential for storage and system memory to be available from the same memory pool.
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.
More details about 3D XPoint technology 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 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.
3D XPoint technology will sample later this year with select customers, and Intel and Micron are developing individual products based on the technology.
When it comes to SSDs we know that NAND memory has it's own advantages and disadvantages, yes it is fast, but when compared to DRAM it simply doesn't compete in terms of speed, however DRAM have it's own disadvantages, it is volatile, which means that it loses all of it's stored data when powered off and it is a lot more expensive than NAND when it comes to cost/GB.
Intel and Micron have just announced 3D XPoint memory, a whole new memory architecture that is seemingly the best of both worlds, if not better, with 10x the storage density of DRAM and over 1000x the speed and 1000x the endurance of NAND.
This opens up a wide range of possibilities, like using XPoint memory as a CPUs memory pool and a PCs storage space at the same time or simply creating a Storage drive with RAMDISK like speeds without the volatility.
Manufacturing costs for this new type of memory is going to be between that of traditional NAND and DRAM chips. Remember that today DDR3 DRAM chips are over 10x the price of NAND chips per GB, so NAND still has the price/ capacity lead by a significant margin.
With storage capable memory that is this fast on the horizon, it is unsurprising that Intel have been trying so hard to get others to adopt the ultra fast NVMe standard, as simply put 3D XPoint memory will need all of the speed that the NVMe standard can provide.
When we see this new memory type become available in SSDs we will no doubt see record breaking performance, though the price of this new memory technology will have to decrease to become more competetive with traditional NAND and upcoming 3D vNAND based SSD storage.
You can join the discussion on Intel and Micron's Ultra fast 3D XPoint Memory and upcoming Optane SSDs on the OC3D Forums.