Monday, August 7, 2017

Resistive RAM (ReRam) is Here in 2017

Resistive RAM (ReRam) is still filling up Journal and Conferences with Papers. But you can actually order it and see demonstrations now. 

2017 is a transition year.

Storage Class Memory applications have gained a lot of publicity with Intel/Micron Announcement of 3d Xpoint/Optane. Resistive RAM from Crossbar, Inc and WDC and 4DS and others has similar cost structure and potentially better physics, scalability, and performance. 

We look at how ReRam technologies compare to SLC NAND/Fast NAND, DRAM, 3D XPoint, and how the costs scale over time with new geometries. Key Takeaways:

  1. 3d Xpoint and Optane are creating new markets for everyone. Customers want choices
  2. All technologies are cheaper than DRAM with any reasonable maturity
  3. Fast NAND/ZNAND is available today and while not new or as fast, it is based on SLC 3D NAND which is quite mature
  4. Crosspoint ReRam is cheaper than 3D Xpoint once scaled to 20/14nm and has ability to scale lower
  5. ReRam technologies can be integrated into foundries with relatively minor changes. Intel Micron has reports "100 new materials in 3D Xpoint"
  6. Crossbar, Inc ReRam is available at foundry today. 4DS showed data with performance and yield on demonstration vehicles. WDC has said ReRam is SCM of choice
  7. Fast speed, 1M cycles, competitive cost is achievable today from ReRam. 
See our presentation at Flash Memory Summit, Wednesday 8/9 at 3:20 PM. Session 203A to find out how competitive ReRam is. 

Mark Webb

Top 5 NVM Myths Going into Flash Memory Summit

Top 5 Myths going into 2017 Flash Memory Summit. NAND, Xpoint, China, HDDs, TLC. We will see if I need to correct myself later!

  1. 3D NAND isn't working and this is causing shortages. 3D NAND is yielding. 3D NAND is working. It is shipping TLC. It is not perfect and various output metrics are still improving. But bit shipments in 2017 will be higher than predicted in beginning of 2016. Shortages are due to increased demand and long lead times to add capacity. 64L will address shortage. It works!
  2. 3D XPoint will replace DRAM or NAND. I hear people quote Intel or Micron saying this. I can't find a time where they actually said that. It could augment NAND or DRAM but the fact that it is 10x more expensive than TLC and 5x slower than DRAM will make any replacements trivial.
  3. SSDs have replaced HDDs. An oldie but a goodie. SSDs are great. Yet even today, most PCs ship with HDDs. HDDs out sell SSDs 3:1 in units and >10:1 in GBs. And the price differential between SSDs and HDDs has gotten worse since FMS 2016. SSDs are better... but we still have some work to do!
  4. TLC is not reliable enough for datacenter/Enterprise. NAND companies and SSD Companies know how to manage TLC specifics, DWPD, etc. TLC can work well, meet all needs, and is extremely cost effective. TLC needs to grow in enterprise!
  5. Chinese will build (enter huge number) dollar Fab and take over NAND/DRAM. Not in 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021. At some point Chinese investment will become dominant. But unless they have a JV deal with established company, it will be 5-10 years before they are 5% of Market. NAND isn't easy, even if you hire great engineers and executives. Someday... but today is not that day.

Mark Webb

Friday, August 4, 2017

3D Xpoint: Technology Review, Markets, Plans

3D Xpoint Technology, Markets, and Plans for the Future. Intel released Optane products based on 3D Xpoint. We reviewed the technology, processing, product performance and cost.

Flash Memory Summit will have two sessions covering aspects of 3D Xpoint plus many more on persistent memory and new memory technologies. Topics covered:

  • What do the technology teardowns show about 3D Xpoint
  • What type of memory is it
  • What does it cost
  • What are the best applications for it
  • When do we get to see 1000x performance in DIMMS
  • Is NAND Dead? is DRAM Dead?
  • How much revenue will companies make on 3D Xpoint in 2017-2020
Just when they say it's not PCM.... guess what.... it's PCM!
The chip has lots of opportunity for cost reduction and optimization
The speed in current applications with NVMe is 4-7x faster than NAND
It's costs less than half of DRAM per bit and 2x SLC NAND per bit.... If optimized
The fastest Cache SSD and the Fastest NVMe SSDs in the world are both 3D XPoint.
It has lots of error correction/redundancy and firmware to manage it.
Revenue won't be what I predicted last year.... I have the new numbers!

Tuesday Aug 8, 2017 3:40-6:00PM Flash Memory Summit  . Multiple great panelists!

Mark Webb

NAND Cost and Roadmap to 128L and QLC

What is the NAND cost reduction as we go from  48L to 64L to 96L TLC. What about QLC? What about 128L

The numbers are in: NAND costs are coming down, even as prices increase.

64L TLC is a major cost reduction and will lead to widespread adoption and volume ramp of 3D NAND.

96L will follow one year later, with string stacking but still provide cost and density improvements.

96 QLC will ramp in parallel with TLC for applications that demand low cost and can tolerate performance.

We will show cost comparisons for each technology for 2017-2019 at Flash Memory Summit 2017 Wednesday Aug 9, session M-22. Also will show NAND vs ReRAM vs 3D XPoint costs in other sessions

Call to set up meeting to discuss which company is leading in cost and performance

Mark Webb