Doubts about 3D XPoint in the memory market

Posted on Thursday, Jun 01 2017 @ 13:37 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
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EE Times has an interesting piece about current opinions about the role the 3D XPoint memory from Intel and Micron may play in the memory market. The 3D XPoint rollout had a couple of quarters of delays but could be the beginning of the largest computer architecture change since a long time. However, the site notes industry experts have mixed expectations about whether the new technology can hit the latency levels required to displace DRAM. The 3D XPoint has a latency of about 20 microseconds, which is 100x higher than the best memory used in today's servers:
One of Intel’s largest potential customers is one of 3DXP’s biggest skeptics. The chips lack the endurance and the latency to play a significant role in server main memory, said Doug Voigt, a distinguished storage technologist at Hewlett-Packard Enterprise.

At about 20 microseconds in latency, 3DXP is clearly above the two-microsecond upper boundary that Voigt says is a comfort zone for main memory. It is far slower than the 200 nanoseconds of the best main memory pools in today’s servers.

Even memory with latency under a microsecond “will start clogging up your pipeline fairly quickly,” he said. “This is an architectural line of thinking, and I haven’t gotten a lot of pushback on it.”

Intel may be able to lower 3DXP latency somewhat as it refines its manufacturing process. But “it sounds like we’re not there yet, [so] we’ll position it more as storage rather than memory,” he said.
Full details at EE Times.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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