Intel and Micron Introduce the Next Generation of Memory

Intel has teamed up with Micron to create the next generation of memory and today’s press event was to announce this to the world. It was done with big words and as we’ve learned from the recent Intel 750 SSD launch, they mean business when they say so.

Where the 750 SSD took NAND and moved it onto a better platform that could be better utilized by the CPU instead of being bottlenecked by SATA and SAS bus’, this introduction is something completely new. It is dubbed the 3D XPoint (3D Cross Point) and is truly the next generation memory.

It’s also about time that we get a new type of memory as the current NAND technology, while improved upon over time, already is over 25 years old.

3D XPoint is a new class of non-volatile memory that can provide speeds up to 1,000 times faster than current NAND technology. Not only is it faster, it is also a lot more durable and doesn’t have the trouble with a lot of writes as NAND does. This will bring game-changing performance to the market.

Not only is 3D XPoint said to be 1000 times faster and 1000 times more durable, it also has 10 times or more density than conventional memory.

The idea in itself isn’t new, but most people didn’t think it was possible. Intel and Micron had to come up with completely new materials and combinations as well as methods to combine them into a working product that could be mass produced.

Where normal memory just changes a part of the material used to indicate its state, 3D XPoint memory uses bulk material property change where the whole part changes instead of just being electron-based. This allows for more capacity in denser storage and the current production is spitting out 128Gbit sizes.

The 3D stacking is different from 3D NAND as it truly allows expansion in all direction without any effect to the performance. The unique switches inside are the key for this and it’s where the strength comes from. 3D NAND allows for more capacity, but not more speed, and that is why we need this new technology.

The pure nature of the technology also allows for much better data security as nothing will be lost in case of power failures. It can be used for both storage and system memory and as such could be the next big thing.

This isn’t just a proof of concept or a fancy powerpoint presentation with an idea, these are actual memory chips that currently are being produced in the joint factory of Micron and Intel. Both companies will release products based on this new technology in 2016 and they don’t expect any shortages in supply. That’s great news.

The final thing you might be asking yourself, what is the price and how does it really place itself in usability in comparison with other memory types. Both of these questions can be answered in one, it places itself between DRAM and NAND, so that’s not so bad news.

Lexar Has Introduced Us to the World’s Fastest SD Card

Lexar has the determination to bring their customers the best and fastest storage options, and as such they have just released the worlds fastest SD card; the Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC/SDXC UHS-II card. To complete their portfolio, Lexar also introduced two other SD UHS-II products; the Professional 1000X SDHC/SDXC UHS-II card as well as a new Professional Workflow SR2 card reader that supports the high-speeds that these cards can perform.

“UHS-II technology really raises the bar in terms of performance. The latest UHS-II additions to our Lexar Professional product portfolio provide users the ability to capture and offload work even faster, so they can get back to what’s important–capturing great images and video,” said Adam Kaufman, director of card product marketing, Lexar. “Our multi-line UHS-II product offering gets performance into the hands of any user at a great value and with the Professional 2000x card, it comes right out of the box.”

This is a card that you have to stop a moment at and just say “wow”. The Lexar Professional 2000x has no problem impressing anyone with its transfer speeds of up to 300 MB/s while reading up to 260MB/s while writing. That is very close to SSD speeds, and on a very tiny form factor. These cards will allow the user to capture 4K and 3D video with more frames than meets the eye, and of course anything below as well. Each Professional 2000x card comes with an included USB card reader that supports these speeds. The Professional 2000x card will be available in 32 GB and 64 GB capacity.

The little brother; the Professional 1000X, is aimed at photographers and videographers who want great performance at a more affordable price. While they aren’t as fast as the 2000x series, they still impress with speeds up to 150MB/s when reading and 95MB/s when writing. You’ll also get more size options on these cards, ranging from 16 GB all the way up to 256 GB.

To really complete the new UHS-II product portfolio, the Lexar Professional Workflow line has expanded to include the Professional Workflow SR2 reader; a SD UHS-II USB 3.0 reader. Other card readers available include Thunderbolt 2 connectivity and hub modes for multiple cards. So there is something to fit the many specific, but still different needs of as many customers as possible.

Of course, both of these cards are backwards compatible with older cameras and readers, where they’ll either perform at UHS-I or Class 10 speed depending on their connection. The cards also include the latest version of the Image Rescue software and come with a limited lifetime warranty.

All three new products will be available in Q4 with MSRP’s on the Lexar Professional 2000x of £135.99 (64GB) and £77.99 (32GB). The Lexar Professional 1000x card has MSRP’s of £400.99 (256GB), £128.99 (128GB), £71.99 (64GB), £40.99 (32GB), and £23.99 (16GB), while the Lexar Professional Workflow SR2 reader has an MRSP of £22.99.

Thank you Lexar for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Lexar