Intel, Micron launch “bulk-switching” ReRAM
Intel Corp. and Micron Technology Inc. have launched a new class of non-volatile memory that they have called 3D Xpoint and which the companies said would be available as samples later this year for special customers.
At a webcast press conference company executives described the launch as a major development the introduction of the first new category of memory since the introduction of NAND flash in 1989. The executives said the memory is based on a fundamental discovery that has yielded a non-volatile memory that exhibits a “bulk material property change” at the cross-point of metal access lines. This suggests the property change happens throughout the active material layer addressed at a given cross-point in the memory.
If the memory lives up to its promise of being up to 1000 times faster than NAND flash and 8 to 10 times denser than DRAM and therefore lower cost it could bring a major transformation in the electronics industry and to computer architectures for data centers and with possible application in solid-state drives.
Mark Durcan, CEO of Micron, said that a 3D XPoint memory IC of 128Gbits capacity was in production at the wafer fab in Lehi, Utah, belonging to IM Flash Technologies LLC, a joint venture between Intel and Micron formed in 2006. The memory is organized as two planes of 64Gbits with one bit per cell, Durcan said.
Durcan and Rob Crooke, general manager of the non-volatile memory group at Intel, revealed the memories on a 300mm wafer saying that while manufacturing would be done jointly the two companies would take 3D XPoint memories to market in 2016 developing products based on the technology separately.