Intel, Micron Unveil New Fast Memory Architecture
Intel's Crooke said the new technology addresses demands that other memory architectures can't. They usually offer two of the three attributes needed for current and future workloads—speed, density and nonvolatility. The 3D XPoint technology brings together all three. "You need it to be dense, fast and nonvolatile to fill that computing gap," he said. Rob Enderle, principal analyst with The Enderle Group, said the new technology "creates the foundation for a massive increase in overall system performance in line with what we got when we moved from magnetic drives to flash." "This is very significant," Enderle told eWEEK in an email interview. "It promises performance in line with DRAM with all of the advantages we'd typically connect with Flash. It will create the foundation for systems that significantly outperform what we currently have in market. Far faster analytics at a lower cost, far better real time translation, far more intelligent systems. It has applications that start with handheld devices and move to large systems. It may make HP's Memristor technology obsolete before it is even brought to market."Memristors are expected to be among a range of technologies—including silicon photonics and custom processors—that will form the foundation of a new server architecture HP is working on, dubbed The Machine. The company is five years away from introducing the systems, but officials are preparing to unveil a single-rack prototype of the system in 2016. However, HP engineers are working through issues with the development of memristors, so the prototype will use traditional DRAM chips.
Hewlett-Packard engineers have been working on memristor memory technology for years. Memristors are essentially nonvolatile chips that can operate like both storage and memory for the computer, creating a fast memory technology that also can keep data stored when power is turned off. The idea of memristors has been around as theory for decades, but it wasn't until late in the last decade that researchers showed such chips could be built.