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posted by martyb on Thursday September 09 2021, @09:48AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

XPoint capacity to surpass DRAM by 2030

We have just learned about a report by Coughlin Associates and Objective Analysis called Emerging Memories Take Off, courtesy of Tom Coughlin. The report looks at 3D XPoint, MRAM, ReRAM and other emerging memory technologies and says their revenues could grow to $44 billion by 2031. That's because they will displace some server DRAM, and also NOR flash and SRAM — either as standalone chips or as embedded memory within ASICs and microcontrollers.

The emerging memory market is set to grow substantially with 3D XPoint revenues reaching $20 billion-plus by 2031, and standalone MRAM and STT-RAM reaching $1.7 billion in revenues by then. The report predicts that the bulk of embedded NOR and SRAM in SoCs will be replaced by embedded ReRAM and MRAM.

A chart shows XPoint capacity ships crossing the 100,000PB level in 2028 and so surpassing DRAM, whose capacity growth is slowing slightly. The chart shows XPoint capacity shipped being 1000PB this year. That number will grow 100x to 100,000PB in 2028.

Related: Micron Abandons 3D XPoint, Puts Fab Up for Sale
Micron Sells 3D XPoint Fab to Texas Instruments, Not Intel

Original Submission

Related Stories

Micron Abandons 3D XPoint, Puts Fab Up for Sale

Micron Abandons 3D XPoint Memory Technology

In a sudden but perhaps not too surprising announcement, Micron has stated that they are ceasing all R&D of 3D XPoint memory technology. Intel and Micron co-developed 3D XPoint memory, revealed in 2015 as a non-volatile memory technology with higher performance and endurance than NAND flash memory.

Intel has been responsible for almost all of the commercial volume of 3D XPoint-based products, under their Optane brand for both NVMe SSDs and persistent memory modules in the DIMM form factor. Micron in 2016 announced their QuantX brand for 3D XPoint products, but never shipped anything under that brand. Their first and only real product based on 3D XPoint was the X100 high-end enterprise SSD which saw very limited release to close partners. Micron has now decided that further work to commercialize 3D XPoint memory isn't worth the investment.

[...] Micron is now putting that 3D XPoint fab up for sale, and is currently engaged in discussions with several potential buyers. Intel is the most obvious potential buyer, having recently begun the long process of selling their NAND flash and flash-based SSD business to SK hynix while keeping their Optane products. Intel has already moved their 3D XPoint R&D to Rio Rancho, NM but has not built up any 3D XPoint mass production capacity of their own; buying the Lehi, UT fab would save them the trouble of equipping eg. their NAND fab in Dalian, China to also manufacture 3D XPoint.

Micron exercised its contract right to buy out the Utah fab in 2019, Intel paid Micron to manufacture 3D XPoint memory (likely with a price hike in 2020), and now Intel may be buying back the entire fab.

See also: Micron's 3D XPoint departure is not good news for Intel Optane
3D XPoint Memory At The Crossroads

Also at Tom's Hardware.

Previously: Intel and Micron Announce 3D XPoint, A New Type of Memory and Storage
Micron: 96-Layer 3D NAND Coming, 3D XPoint Sales Disappoint
Micron Buys Out Intel's Stake in 3D XPoint Joint Venture
Micron Follows Through, Buys Out Intel's Stake in NAND and 3D XPoint Joint Venture
Intel and Micron Sign a New 3D XPoint Agreement

Original Submission

Micron Sells 3D XPoint Fab to Texas Instruments, Not Intel 1 comment

Micron Sells Lehi 3D XPoint Fab to Texas Instruments for $900M

Back in March of this year, Micron announced that it would be getting out of the 3D XPoint business entirely, abandoning the technology and putting its sole 3D XPoint fab up for sale. Now a short few months later, Micron has secured a buyer for the fab – and it's not Intel. Rather it will be Texas Instruments who picks up the fab, buying it off of Micron for $900 million with plans to convert it over to analog and embedded processors.

The sale of the Lehi fab is the latest and final chapter in Micron's years-long efforts to unwind its non-volatile memory joint venture with Intel, IM Flash. Over the last decade Micron has acquired Intel's share of the business in multiple stages, culminating in acquiring the crown jewel of the former partnership, the Lehi, Utah 3D XPoint fab, in 2018. Since then, Micron decided that it would dissolve its 3D XPoint partnership with Intel entirely, culminating with the company abandoning the technology entirely, leaving Micron with a modern fab that it didn't have an immediate need for.

Previously: Micron Abandons 3D XPoint, Puts Fab Up for Sale

Original Submission

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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by FatPhil on Thursday September 09 2021, @10:31AM

    by FatPhil (863) <> on Thursday September 09 2021, @10:31AM (#1176203) Homepage
    I notice that the graph they have has only 2 years of data, and presumes that the new technology will continue to grow at the same exponential rate that it has done so far, and not at the far slower exponential rate that DRAM has been growing at, and no argument to indicate why that faster exponential rate would hold true for an extended period. If you add the two curves together to get total RAM demand (give or take) he's basically saying that in the past it was one exponential curve, and in 6 years time it will be a different steeper exponential curve, without giving a reason for the change strong than "because 3D XPoint is here!".

    Exponential growth being extrapolated way into the future is always a problem. IT-related things have managed to keep the pretence it's possible up for way longer than any other field, but even that has to slow down eventually. Predicting a *faster* exponential in the future seems even braver (stupider? marketting bullshittier?) than just predicting that it can continue at the same rate.

    I'm not being Debbie Downer about the tech - RAM's seen very few really inovative developments for many decades, and this not-just-a-grid-of-transisters development is a very interesting one. I hope they're right, as either costs or power consumption (and thus cost) would naturally drop if they are.
    Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
  • (Score: 2) by progo on Thursday September 09 2021, @02:14PM (4 children)

    by progo (6356) on Thursday September 09 2021, @02:14PM (#1176264) Homepage

    What is 3D XPoint? Did I miss a memo?

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by takyon on Thursday September 09 2021, @02:25PM (2 children)

      by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Thursday September 09 2021, @02:25PM (#1176266) Journal

      It is a non-volatile memory technology intended to exist in a tier between DRAM and NAND, or replace/reduce one or the other in some cases.

      Compared to DRAM, 3D XPoint is denser, cheaper, but slower.

      Compared to NAND, 3D XPoint is faster, but less dense and more expensive. []

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      • (Score: 2) by Booga1 on Saturday September 11 2021, @01:25AM (1 child)

        by Booga1 (6333) on Saturday September 11 2021, @01:25AM (#1176850)

        If it had originally launched in larger capacities, I think it would have had a serious chance of displacing the database SSD market entirely. Unfortunately, the tiny sizes were neither big enough to displace the SSD nor fast enough to displace DRAM.
        I think it would have been a hit if Intel had just been a bit bolder on making a push for a specific market. Instead, they half-assed it and set a trend. Second generation Optane was really good, but by then the SSD market was on par for capacity and "good enough" to start taking over bulk storage in the VM/VPS market.

        Optane(3d Xpoint) is great, but their timing was off. I think these predictions are seriously miscalculating the current SSD market and trends. Optane is so dead that even Intel doesn't seem to believe in it any more.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11 2021, @07:39AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11 2021, @07:39AM (#1176904)

          Maybe you are right about the botched launch strategy (similar to how SMR has been botched), but we love it in certain roles. Used correctly, we've seen increases in excess of 10x on some workloads and the minimum we see is in the neighborhood of doubling. For locality of data especially, it really is hard to beat.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by rigrig on Thursday September 09 2021, @03:50PM

      by rigrig (5129) Subscriber Badge <> on Thursday September 09 2021, @03:50PM (#1176284) Homepage

      I didn't remember it either, but apparently we covered it [] when it came out. Guess this is one of those rare cases where new tech actually did take off.

      Besides an explanation, this "ancient" article [] also contains a handy chart [] showing how it fits between SSD and DRAM.

      No one remembers the singer.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Thursday September 09 2021, @05:45PM

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Thursday September 09 2021, @05:45PM (#1176331)

    Even back in the 60s when technology moved slowly by today's standard, he would could predict which technologies would win out 10 years later was a visionary man indeed. So when someone in 2021 tells me what the industry will be like in 2030, I really don't pay much attention because something entirely different will almost certainly happen.