Wednesday, March 17th 2021

Micron Abandons 3D XPoint Memory & Looks to Sell Factory

Micron and Intel started development on 3D XPoint memory technology back in 2012 and by 2015 Intel had announced their Optane branded lineup of storage products featuring the new memory. Micron estimated that the chips would be sold for half the price of DRAM but five times the cost of flash memory and started limited manufacturing at a jointly owned factory in Lehi, Utah. The new technology was proposed as the future of memory but with Intel being the only major manufacturer of products that dream has not been realized. While the Intel Optane lineup of products has been generally well-received the high-cost and limited use cases have limited its adoption.

Micron has been dissolving its partnership with Intel over the years with their joint 3D XPoint development program ending in 2019 and Micron exercising their right to acquire Intel's share of the factory. This left Intel in the position of purchasing 3D XPoint wafers from Micron for use in their Optane products however this wasn't enough to fully utilize the facilities production and as such Micron has consistently been losing money on the factory. Micron has decided to sell the factory and is now in discussions with potential buyers the most likely being Intel to take over the facility. Intel has announced that their strategy for Optane products will remain the same and that supply will continue.
Source: Micron
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11 Comments on Micron Abandons 3D XPoint Memory & Looks to Sell Factory

#1
Gungar
It's weird that 3D Xpoint is being abandon, there is something we don't know. Even Intel hasn't released gen 2 m2 ssd (that i wan't so much). New tech coming? or maybe the standard SSDs are going to catch up in latency?
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#2
bug
Gungar
It's weird that 3D Xpoint is being abandon, there is something we don't know. Even Intel hasn't released gen 2 m2 ssd (that i won't so much). New tech coming? or maybe the standard SSDs are going to catch up in latency?
Probably couldn't bring price down fast enough.

Hopefully someone will be able to resurrect this once patents expire.
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#3
Flanker
How did this turn into a hot potato lol
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#4
TumbleGeorge
Will touch future another time when companies go back to old tech and left better because of wrong finance expectations. I think that with most advanced lithography is possible to make 16X better XPoint in all their characteristics. Size, volume, density, speed...
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#5
watzupken
Its a shame this did not take off. I think it makes a good replacement for higher end SSD. As it stands, the current gen still sucks too much power and cost too much, and with this, likely we won't see much refinement of this product going forward. I am not confident where this product will head under Intel because they are directionless for their storage solution. Most likely will die a silent death under Intel as well.
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#6
Selaya
Hm?

I don't believe 3DXPoint's failed, Intel just released their second generation which is priced all the way to the fucking Mars and yet it is already extinct - given the price point it is only really attractive for a very specific use case (database servers basically), but when it is, it is actually a very useful tech (still way cheaper than SDRAM on a per-GB/TB basis).
It's just that Micron never really managed to make anything out of it which is kind of a shame. Presumably Intel will just buy Micron out at this point.
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#7
TechLurker
I'm expecting Intel to open up Optane to AMD at some point, if they hope to improve adoption. Same way they opened up Thunderbolt 3 spec in order to help gain greater traction against whatever vanilla USB standard it was competing against. Otherwise, Intel will also end up losing money off the factory the same way Micron is, and will need to dip into their other businesses to keep it afloat.

That said, I'm surprised Micron never produced 3DXpoint products for the larger masses; NVIDIA, AMD, and ARM surely could have benefitted from the hybrid nature of the modules, especially for big commercial and corporate enterprises. 3D XPoint would have also been useful on the Epyc and TR platforms for certain use cases.
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#8
Tomorrow
Selaya
Hm?

I don't believe 3DXPoint's failed, Intel just released their second generation which is priced all the way to the fucking Mars
Well that's Enterprise pricing for you...
Gungar
It's weird that 3D Xpoint is being abandon, there is something we don't know. Even Intel hasn't released gen 2 m2 ssd (that i wan't so much). New tech coming? or maybe the standard SSDs are going to catch up in latency?
And they are not going to. Consumer Optane is dead. It will live on in Enterprise space.
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#9
bug
TechLurker
I'm expecting Intel to open up Optane to AMD at some point, if they hope to improve adoption. Same way they opened up Thunderbolt 3 spec in order to help gain greater traction against whatever vanilla USB standard it was competing against. Otherwise, Intel will also end up losing money off the factory the same way Micron is, and will need to dip into their other businesses to keep it afloat.

That said, I'm surprised Micron never produced 3DXpoint products for the larger masses; NVIDIA, AMD, and ARM surely could have benefitted from the hybrid nature of the modules, especially for big commercial and corporate enterprises. 3D XPoint would have also been useful on the Epyc and TR platforms for certain use cases.
They need to iron out the kinks before they make the units work plainly over PCIe. In a way they already do, but I'm guessing they also have to use some sort of "extensions" that are rather fluid at the moment.

Either way, this is moot, now that the factory is being sold off because of lack of orders.
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#10
InVasMani
Why this tech wasn't ported over to microSD card's is beyond me they'd be great in mobile devices and in those situations the capacity limitations are less a issue for common use.
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#11
Wirko
TechLurker
I'm expecting Intel to open up Optane to AMD at some point, if they hope to improve adoption. Same way they opened up Thunderbolt 3 spec in order to help gain greater traction against whatever vanilla USB standard it was competing against. Otherwise, Intel will also end up losing money off the factory the same way Micron is, and will need to dip into their other businesses to keep it afloat.

That said, I'm surprised Micron never produced 3DXpoint products for the larger masses; NVIDIA, AMD, and ARM surely could have benefitted from the hybrid nature of the modules, especially for big commercial and corporate enterprises. 3D XPoint would have also been useful on the Epyc and TR platforms for certain use cases.
Optane on PCIe behaves like a standard SSD. Ironically, it sometimes likes non-Intel systems better than Intel systems.

Optane Persistent Memory (DIMM modules, byte-addresable) is another story, it only works with Xeons (and only on motherboards that come from the same Intel).
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