Intel Invents "Revolutionary" New Memory Chip

By James O Malley on at

Intel has teamed up with Micron Technology and has today announced a new sort of memory chip, that is completely different the "non-volatile" NAND memory that exists in devices as storage today.

Dubbed "3D XPoint", the press release claims that data can be read and written 1000 times faster than traditional NAND memory - and that it is ten times denser than normal memory too. This means that our devices could soon be getting faster - and we could be storing more data in smaller space.

Intel claims that it is the biggest memory breakthrough since 1989, saying that:

"The innovative, transistor-less cross point architecture creates a three-dimensional checkerboard where memory cells sit at the intersection of word lines and bit lines, allowing the cells to be addressed individually. As a result, data can be written and read in small sizes, leading to faster and more efficient read/write processes."

Intel says that 3D XPoint could enable healthcare services to do real-time data analysis such as disease tracking more easily, or retailers could use it in fraud detection to spot algorithms. It doesn't explain how, exactly, but it is presumably because read-write speeds will be much faster.

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

It isn't clear exactly when the technology will be available in phones of the future or similar - but Intel has said that it will be "sampling" the new technology with manufacturers later this year. So perhaps we could expect to see the the first devices featuring the tech a year or two after.