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A Close Look At The Micron/Intel 3D XPoint Memory

A Close Look At The Micron/Intel 3D XPoint Memory

This report is an in-depth evaluation of Intel’s and Micron’s recently-announced 3D XPoint memory and Intel’s Optane support products. This Objective Analysis report explains why and how crosspoint memories work and the manufacturing challenges they present, while examining the market and its impact on the computing and competitive landscapes.


This report explores Intel Corp.’s and Micron Technology’s recently-announced 3D XPoint memory and Intel’s Optane support products. We explain the technology and special challenges it will meet in manufacture. Following this is a discussion of how 3D XPoint memory will be used, including a section about the benefits of its persistent nature. Another section explains how the market will develop and provides two forecast scenarios. The report concludes with discussions of different market segments and predicts how the technology will impact each of them.

Executive Summary
What Is 3D XPoint Memory?
What is a Crosspoint Memory?
The “Sneak Path” and Selectors
Why Are Selectors So Challenging?
On/Off Current
I/V Characteristics
Process Technologies
Complexity
Uniformity
Stacking Crosspoint Decks
What is the Memory Cell Made Of?
A History of PCM
How Will It Be Used?
Improving the Memory/Storage Hierarchy
A Premature Revelation
How Can Optane be DDR4 Compatible?
A Strong Focus on Gaming PCs
How does Optane Impact Performance?
NVMe Benefits Clients the Most
Important Write IOPS Cost Savings
How Important is Persistence?
Nonvolatility for Power Fail
Nonvolatility for Data Resilience
Cost Savings Through Two Memory Tiers
Current State of Nonvolatile Memory Support
In Summary: The Market Doesn’t Yet Exist
How Will The Market Develop?
Why is Intel Getting Back Into Memories?
How Real is 3D XPoint?
What Systems Will Use it?
The Issue of Sole-Sourcing
Impact on Other Markets
DRAM
NAND Flash and HDD
Processor
Cost Adder
Achieving Sub-DRAM Costs
The “Chicken & Egg” Problem
The Intel/Micron Relationship
Is Micron’s Prospective Acquisition An Issue?
Getting Ahead of Samsung
HP’s “The Machine”
What is a Memristor?
Memristor Basics
Implications for the 3D XPoint Memory
What This Means to OEMs
What This Means to Computer Purchasers
What This Means To The Memory Business
Methodology

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