A new class of memory has been unveiled by Intel and Micron. The memory technology called 3D XPoint (pronounced “cross-point”) can be used both as system memory as well as nonvolatile storage.
The 3D XPoint point memory technology can replace both a computer’s RAM and SSD. According to the claim of the companies, the technology will be 1000 times faster than the current SSD technology in use. This is applicable both in read and write speed.
Rob Crooke, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group said, “For decades, the industry has searched for ways to reduce the lag time between the processor and data to allow much faster analysis.” According to him, this new technology will be able to fulfill the requirements.
Micron and Intel also suggest that this is the first time after NAND flash in 1989 when a new memory category was introduced. The technology will be durable and will have higher endurance than the previous version. To add to the facility, it will have 10 times more density which will allow more storage in same physical space. The technology is also going to be energy efficient.
The Technological Specifications of 3D XPoint
The cross-point array structure has perpendicular conductors that connect 128 billion densely packed memory cells. Each cell stores a bit of data and will result in high performance. The structure promotes stacking multiple layers. The initial technology comes with two layers but it can increase in the future.
The memory cells in question are accessed and written by varying the amount of voltage sent. This increases the capacity of the system and eliminates the need for transistors. This will also be more cost effective. The cells will be able to switch states faster than any of its counterparts due to its low-latency cross point array.
The companies assume that the digital world will grow at a faster speed in the coming years. It will not take long to move from 4.4 zettabytes digital data created to 44 zettabytes. The new 3D XPoint technology will take nanoseconds to turn these data to valuable information. There will be impact seen in retailing, healthcare, data analysis and more. Genetic analysis and disease tracking will be easier, thus empowering human lives.