It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane…No…It’s 3D XPoint Technology

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TECHNOLOGY

The way you store your data is about to change.

For the last 60 years, increasingly vast amounts of data
have been stored primarily on magnetic hard disk
drives (HDDs). Hard drives are capable of storing a
huge amount of information, but they are mechanical
devices and can be more delicate and a lot slower than
more recent NAND (stands for negative-and logic gate)
flash memory, which has no moving parts. NAND flash
memory, sometimes called a solid state drive (SSD),
has become ubiquitous as a storage medium since it is
a compact, fast and fairly inexpensive alternative to the
noisy hard drives currently used in computers, mobile
phones, USB flash drives and memory cards, among
other things.

While hard drives and NAND flash memory are great
for data storage, mobile devices and computers also
have a smaller amount of super-fast short-term memory
called DRAM (dynamic random access memory).
DRAM is quite a bit more expensive and, unlike your
hard drive or SSD, the contents in memory are “volatile”,
meaning whatever is stored disappears when you
turn off your device.
But what if long-term storage could be as snappy
as DRAM?

The new technology does not use transistors.

“You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet”

Sometime in 2017/2018, a new memory and storage
technology called 3D XPoint (pronounced 3D cross
point), developed by Intel and Micron, will hit the
market. The new technology is different from both
NAND flash memory and DRAM in that it does not
use transistors; instead, it uses a three-dimensional
checkerboard structure that allows each memory cell to
be addressed individually. The ability to read and write
data in smaller increments is a huge advantage over
flash memory, which is only able to store information
in blocks of data.

How Fast Is Fast?

What makes this new technology so incredible and
likeable is that it allows the user to take stupendous
amounts of stored data and treat it as if it were in
active memory rather than in traditional storage such
as a hard drive or SSD flash drive. 3D XPoint memory
is expected to read data three times faster, write four
times faster and use 30% less power than NAND flash
memory. That means it is not only faster than your
current SSD or flash storage, but will help manufacturers
to stretch the battery life a bit further once it is
available in laptops and mobile phones.

How Much, You Ask?

We all know that those who purchase the newest technology
pay the higher price and pave the way for those
who wait for the technology to become mainstream.
At the moment, a fixed price point has not been set in
stone, but it has been suggested that 3D XPoint memory
will cost about four or five times the current price
of NAND flash drives.

Do I Really Need 3D XPoint?

For most owner-managers, today’s computers with
their hard drive or SSD will be sufficient for everyday
use. However, if your business applications require
rapid data storage and transmission, whether for extensive
analysis, high-performance databases, or simply
for fast storage of immense amounts of data, this new
technology is a game changer that will undoubtedly be
worth the cost.

 

Disclaimer

The information provided on this page is intended to provide general information. The information does not take into account your personal situation and is not intended to be used without consultation from accounting and financial professionals. Allan Madan and Madan Chartered Accountant will not be held liable for any problems that arise from the usage of the information provided on this page.

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