Intel and Micron have announced a new breakthrough in computer storage technology that they say is 1,000 times faster than the current-generation NAND Flash technology currently used in solid-state drives. The new tech is called 3D XPoint.
While most announcements of this type are to hype future technology, 3D XPoint is already in mass production, and is expected to hit shelves in 2016.
“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.”
3D XPoint is also said to be 1,000 times more durable, giving it a much longer lifespan that the tech used in current NAND storage. Each 3D XPoint die is currently able to store only 128GB of data, although the capacity will increase in later versions.
As is normal for tech like this, drives using the new technology will cost quite a bit more at first, but should drop in price as time goes on, eventually allowing computer makers to use 3D XPoint tech in the place of SSDs.
Intel offers an informative infographic on their website explaining 3D XPoint technology. (PDF)