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Intel Inside... of Everything

Intel will merge with Micron in the near future - for sure. (NASDAQ: INTC) The announcement by Intel and Micron (NASDAQ:MU) of a 3D memory chip architecture got a lot of hype this week. The 3DXPoint technology, dubbed Crosspoint, is more durable and faster than typical flash memory, and will retain data after being powered off (Spiffy).

While it can be a NAND replacement, it's just too expensive. The thing to keep in mind is power and access. XPoint is bit addressble. With NVMe support it looks just like DRAM and not like a block access storage device. It is memory. As such, it is incredibly dense compared to today's DRAM - think 100 TB where you might have 10TB DRAM. This opens up multitudes of use cases that weren't even feasible before.The other issue is power. Not having to refresh this puppy is huge from a power and heat perspective. We already have use cases that are high pay-off for NAND where it is combined with specialized controllers and placed on the memory bus in place of more DRAM. (think the ultraDIMM product from SanDisk). Handy sites studies to that effect that they have run that the apps run just as fast and are far less expensive to provision. Now add the XPoint option. And XPoint is 1000x faster and inherently bit addressable so standard NVMe can work with it.In memory DB apps like Hana are going to change dramatically with this product being available. This is DRAM replacement in the vast majority of use cases...

I can see a mobile application with a processor and XPoint memory plus communications all in an SOC from Intel. More dense, faster, non volatile, lower power, lower cost . . . and it is scalable so more improvements will come each year. Wow! Should read the Barrons piece first. DRAM is 10X faster than this new Memory. It is faster though than HDD and NAND and flash.As a ram replacement? Never happen." And relative to DRAM, the easiest metric is that if DRAM can read in tens of nanoseconds, this can read and write on the order of hundreds of nanoseconds. So, it’s not nearly as fast as DRAM, but several time faster than NAND."In fact it is at the very least 10x SLOWER THAN DRAM. Useless for Cache, and RAM.HBM2 is still the only solution for bandwidth!! Don't count your money yet!!

If I was a mobile manufacturer who could see 3D Xpoint as having real promise for my 2017 model handset... I would think long and hard about whether or not an Intel processor might not be "good enough" for my 2016 handset intro...I have never worked in this sector of the technology space, so this could be a bit of a pipe dream. But in the sector where I DID work, this would have been a pretty viable scenario...

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