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Intel, Micron Reveal Powerful Memory Chip Tuned for Data Age

July 31, 2015
The new 3D XPoint technology represents the first new breed of memory in more than a quarter of a century and should allow users to store and analyze their data more quickly.

SAN FRANCISCO — Intel and Micron Technology unveiled what they touted as a new kind of memory chip earlier this week that could “revolutionize” computing devices, services and applications.

Intel and Micron, both based in the United States, said chips with 3D XPoint technology, described as a “major breakthrough,” were already in production and represented the first new breed of memory since the introduction of NAND flash in 1989.

“This new class of non-volatile memory is a revolutionary technology that allows for quick access to enormous data sets and enables entirely new applications,” Micron president Mark Adams said in a release.

Non-volatile memory means that data is saved even when power is turned off.

Intel and Micron reasoned that the explosion of connected devices from smartphones and fitness bands to power meters, appliances, cars and more is generating massive amounts of new data that must be stored and analyzed quickly.

The new memory chip technology is as much as 1,000 times faster and more enduring than NAND, a popular non-volatile memory used in computers, and 10 times denser than what is typically used in machine when it comes to packing in data, according to the companies.

“For decades, the industry has searched for ways to reduce the lag time between the processor and data to allow much faster analysis,” Intel senior vice president Rob Crooke said. “This new class of non-volatile memory achieves this goal and brings game-changing performance to memory and storage solutions.”

Examples given of benefits from the technology included shop owners more swiftly identifying fraud patterns in financial transactions, and health care researchers analyzing data in real time, and tracking diseases or parsing genetic data.

The 3D XPoint technology could also enhance personal computing in ways such as making social media interactions faster or video games more immersive, the companies said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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