from the waiting-for-the-moto-x-point-edition dept.
Intel and Micron will produce more 3D XPoint non-volatile memory/storage:
Intel appears confident in the future of its 3D Xpoint media and the Optane products that incorporate it. The company announced today that it's finished an expansion of the facilities at IM Flash in Lehi, Utah (a joint Intel-Micron Technologies venture) that will allow it to produce more of its high-speed, low-latency non-volatile memory. Given the introduction of the Optane SSD 900P series of drives for consumers and the increasing capacities of Optane data-center SSDs, along with the existing Optane Memory line of storage-caching accelerators, Intel will likely have no problem finding homes for the chips it produces with this additional capacity.
The facility also produces 3D NAND.
Intel has announced new 3D XPoint "Optane" solid state drives at two capacities:
The Intel Optane SSD 900P will come to market in two capacity sizes, 280GB and 480GB. The series uses two form factors, 2.5" U.2 and half-height, half-length add-in card (AIC). This will start to get confusing so look closely. The 280GB will have two 2.5" models on launch day. One comes with a standard U.2 cable and the second comes with an M.2 to U.2 adapter cable. The 480GB will not ship in a 2.5" form factor until a later date. It will ship in the add-in card form factor starting today.
Regardless of the form factor or capacity size, all Optane SSD 900P drives deliver up to 2,500 MBps sequential read and 2,000 MBps sequential write performance. This is lower than some of the other high-performance NVMe SSDs shipping today, but we will address that in the next section. The drives also deliver up to 550,000 random read and 500,000 random write IOPS performance. This is class leading performance, but there is more to the story.
3D XPoint memory performance is closer to the speed of DRAM than NAND used in SSDs. SSD marketing numbers show maximum performance that comes only at high queue depths. Most of us rarely surpass queue depth 4 and the faster the storage, the less likely you are to even build data requests. This memory addresses the problem with performance at usable workloads.
In the chart [here] we have the three fastest Intel consumer storage products from different market segments: SATA SSD, NVMe SSD, and Optane NVMe SSD. We've also added the new Seagate BarraCuda Pro 12TB, the fastest consumer hard disk drive shipping today.
Pricing is $390 for 280 GB, and $600 for 480 GB. That's $1.25/GB for the larger drive, compared to $2.34/GB for the 32 GB Optane Memory M.2 2280 and the launch price of $4.05/GB for the 375 GB Optane SSD DC P4800X (Reviewed here).
3D XPoint is a non-volatile memory/storage technology.
At present Micron is ramping up production of its 64-layer 3D TLC NAND memory (2nd Gen 3D NAND) and last quarter it achieved production output crossover with other types of NAND the company manufactures. This is particularly good news for Micron because 64-layer 3D NAND devices are significantly more cost-efficient in terms of cost per bit compared to 32-layer 3D NAND memory, which allows Micron to earn more. In fact, 64-layer 3D NAND enabled Micron to launch two major products. First, the company released its 2.5-inch SATA 5200 ECO SSDs with up to 7.68 TB capacity in January targeting mainstream servers. Second, 64-layer 3D QLC memory enabled Micron to compete for nearline storage segment with its 5210 ION drives launched back in May.
Earlier this month we reported that at least two developers of SSD controllers have qualified Micron's 96-layer 3D TLC NAND memory for SSDs. During the conference call, Micron confirmed that it was on track to ship its 3rd Gen 3D NAND in volumes for commercial products in the second half of calendar 2018. It is not clear whether the initial batches of such memory will be used for various removable storage solutions (memory cards, USB flash drives, etc.) as it happens usually, but it is evident that Micron's 96-layer 3D NAND is making a good progress with designers of SSD controllers. Maxio Technology intends to use Micron's 3D TLC B27A memory for inexpensive drives based on its MAS0902A-B2C DRAM-less controller, whereas Silicon Motion is so confident of this memory that it has qualified it with its top-of-the-range SM2262EN controller for high-performance SSDs.
[...] While sales of Micron's SSDs are growing (and currently account for 50% of Micron's storage business revenue, or $507 million) and the company continues to shift to high-value specialized NAND products from selling raw NAND chips, shipments of 3D XPoint are below expectations. According to Micron, it sold "very little" 3D XPoint memory to its unnamed parter (almost certainly Intel) during its Q3 FY2018.
Micron's 4th-generation 3D NAND could have up to 128 layers.
Related: "String-Stacking" Being Developed to Enable 3D NAND With More Than 100 Layers
64-Layer 3D NAND at Computex
SK Hynix Developing 96 and 128-Layer TLC 3D NAND
Intel and Micron Boost 3D XPoint Production
Micron Launches First QLC NAND SSD