Intel and Micron Technology have announced on July 28th the beginning of production of a new generation of memories that can be 1,000 times faster than today's NAND, today's mainstream memories.
NAND were first introduced back in 1989 and the 3D XPoint is actually the first real new kind of memory put on the market since.
The new technology is not just faster. It promises to have longer endurance, again up to 1,000 more than NAND and a density factor of 10x, meaning you can store ten times as many data in the same space.
These performances are the consequence of an innovative architecture seeing the memory cells at the intersection of word and bit lines (the one you use to write and read information) that no longer require a transistor to operate. The whole resembles to a 3D checkerboard.
The 3D XPoint memory chips, initially with a capacity of 16GB, will be available to clients in samples this Fall whilst mass production will start next year. However, it is expected that the price will remain high for some time, thus limiting their usage in the mass market. As any electronic component, we may expect the price to decrease over time and to find these chips in our hands well before the end of this decade.
In their press release Intel and Micron Technologies point out that these advances in storage technology are in synch with the greater demand to faster data access to process the avalanche of data continuously growing, from the 4.4 ZB (zettabytes) created in 2013 to the 44 ZB expected to be created in 2020.