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Faster than faster: Optane 800p

Optane Memory and Optane 800p storage side by side. They look alike but they are quite different. Credit: Intel

Last year Intel, 2017,  announced a memory based on a new technology, 3D XPoint (read 3D crosspoint), providing a faster, cheaper solution than NAND. Non volatile as DRAM (it does not lose its content when power is off) it seemed as a good replacement for NAND but not for DRAM. What was needed was a way to interface directly to a computer processor, the CPU.

Now Intel has announced the Optane 800p a storage that can power your laptop at least doubling its performance. It is based on the 3D XPoint technology, a way of creating memory cells without using transistors and using a cross matrix to read and write them. This matrix (watch the clip) can consist of several stacked layers, thus increasing storage density (up to 9 times the density of a flash memory).

The downside, for the time being is its cost (price): you get double the performances but you have to pay twice more than normal SSD and this may be a show stopper for quite a while. As for anything in electronics, however, expect their price to come down (although likely at a lower pace than other electronic components given the slower demand in this area -like for the QXD storage cards whose cost has not come down significantly in the last year).
You see, performances keep increasing but the cost is not coming down as we were used to … Moore’s law is no longer ticking as it did till 2014.

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. He's currently the Chair of the Symbiotic Autonomous Systems Initiative of IEEE-FDC. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and up to September 2018 he was the Head of the EIT Digital Industrial Doctoral School. Previously, up to December 2011, he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the Industry Advisory Board within the Future Directions Committee. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books. He writes a daily blog,  http://sites.ieee.org/futuredirections/category/blog/, with commentary on innovation in various technology and market areas.

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