Intel, Micron unveil faster memory chip to tackle data explosion

3D XPoint said to be 1,000 times faster than current memory technology


Intel and Micron Technology have begun production of a faster type of memory chip that could change how computers access large amounts of data.

The new memory, known as 3D XPoint, is said to be 1,000 times faster than what’s currently in use and is the first new mainstream memory chip to come to market in 25 years. The technology will be aimed at making it faster for computers to access and work with the increasing amount of data created by connected devices and digital services. It could help retailers quickly identify fraud detection patterns in financial transactions, the companies said, or help to improve data-intensive tasks such as real-time tracking of diseases and immersive realistic gaming, overcoming the current hurdles of expense and speed.

“One of the most significant hurdles in modern computing is the time it takes the processor to reach data on long-term storage,” Mark Adams, Micron’s president, said in the statement. “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.”

Samples of the product are being sent to potential customers later this year. Among those likely to use the technology are operators of large data centres such as Google and Facebook to help boost performance of their servers.

“This to them has got to be a fabulous opportunity because they can significantly increase the amount of memory they have in their servers,” said Martin Reynolds, an analyst for Gartner. “That’s kind of a new market. You could see some new growth to come out of this.”