Saturday, September 29, 2018

Xpoint Optane Performance and Revenue

At 2018 Flash Memory Summit, I presented a summary of 3D Xpoint status. It includes applications, a model for the chip performance, and revenue projections. Summary is attached here

Some of my estimates. A model for what 3D Xpoint chips could be….

  • 128Gbit Chip with >10% overprovisioning on the chip itself
  • Read Latency: ~125ns, Write Latency: “higher”  (why higher is a long story)
  • Endurance: ~200K cycles spec with management techniques. Note: cycling capability is at a certain fail rate which is managed by controller.
  • 2nd Gen will have 2x the density at about 30% lower cost. It will be available in 2020
  • It is a very fast, high endurance, byte addressable, NVM replacement (at much higher cost than NAND)
  • Not DRAM replacement. 

Model is based on Optane Memory electrical analysis, Intel announcement and PCM physics 

So how high could the sales be? Revenue model

While high performance, high price SSDs are great, the volumes and revenue from this market are too low to pay for the development of the technology and manufacturing costs. Memory costs are all about volume efficiency paying for expensive development and fab capital expenditures.

Optane DIMMS are the best opportunity for Intel to achieve scale needed to make 3D Xpoint successful. The DIMMS require Cascade lake to work so we expect yet another "launch"* in December to signal Optane shipping as Apache Pass with Cascade lake processor.

Detailed presentation below from Flash Memory Summit Page ... I have other presentations there on persistent memory, and a comparison of all new memories performance and cost

Side Note: After FMS, Intel announced that it is moving 3D XPoint development to Rio Rancho, New Mexico, a site I worked at for the better part of 20 years. There is a separate discussion on why this was done and the implications to Micron and Intel. For now its just great to have memory development 20 minutes from my home!

Flash Memory Summit page

*Launch definition for many companies is quite different from what you might expect. Intel is no exception!

Mark Webb