A couple of weeks ago Intel and Micron jointly announced their Xpoint - pronounced "cross point" - memory. Offering few details they claimed
3D XPoint technology combines the performance, density, power, non-volatility and cost advantages of all available memory technologies on the market today. The technology is up to 1,000 times faster and has up to 1,000 times greater endurance than NAND, and is 10 times denser than conventional memory.
3D Xpoint is the technology inside the Optane drive.
At last week's Flash Memory Summit, semiconductor analysts Jim Handy and Dave Eggleston, whose work I respect, offered their educated guesses on the Xpoint technology. I'm stealing freely from both.
What is it?
Xpoint is a form of resistance RAM (RRAM) based on technology that Micron bought with their acquisition of Numonyx in 2010. Numonyx was formed from Intel's NOR flash and STMicro's NAND flash businesses and was the first to ship Phase Change Memory (PCM) a form of RRAM where the junction material is heated to change its resistance, unlike filamentary types of RRAM.
Mr. Eggleston's conclusion is that Xpoint is a rebranded PCM or PCMS (S for selector) memory, which finds backing in a July req from Micron for
. . . engineers to support the development of advanced Phase Change Memory based non-volatile memory products. As a Process Integration Engineer, you will contribute to . . . [PCM] technology in R&D and subsequent transfer of the process to a production Fab.
In addition, Micron recently received a patent for "Accessing memory cells in parallel in a cross-point array" which refers chalcogenide materials and PCM. It's not certain, but PCMS is the clear favorite.