Micron Stories July 28, 2015

Intel has just announced a new breakthrough in computer storage technology developed in collaboration with Micron that is 1,000 times faster than the current-generation NAND flash chips upon which modern solid-state drives are built. The tech is called 3D XPoint (that’s “crosspoint”), and is the first new type of non-volatile memory created since 1989.

Incredibly, 3D XPoint isn’t just a theoretical product being developed, or an end-goal for a current project. It’s already in mass production and is expected to go on sale in 2016. Intel says the technology will enable a whole host of new applications, ranging from real-time disease tracking to 8K-capable gaming PCs if built into GPUs.

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Micron Stories March 27, 2015

Future Macs could get up to 10TB SSDs thanks to new Intel/Micron technology

SSDs are fast, but still expensive compared to spinning metal drives, giving us less storage capacity in today’s Macs than we got in older models. Pick up a classic 13-inch MacBook Pro with a hard drive, for example, and you’ll get 500GB of storage for $1100, compared to just 128GB of SSD storage in the $1300 entry-level Retina model.

That may be set to change thanks to new 3D NAND technology announced by Intel and Micron, allowing them to fit far greater storage capacity into the same space as today’s drives. By stacking flash cells on top of each other, up to 32 layers deep, they can can triple the capacity in the same size chip without the usual high price-tag, reports PC World.

For a standard 2.5-inch SATA drive that means up to 10TB of space; for the M.2 drive type used by most laptops, the 3D NAND will boost capacities up to 3.5TB.

We’ve been promised this technology before–Samsung demonstrated 24 layers of 3D NAND back in 2013–but Intel and Micron say that manufacturers will be able to buy the new chips later this year. Of course, with Apple not noted for its generosity when it comes to storage capacity, you may not want to hold your breath.

Micron Stories April 3, 2014

Expect faster MacBooks with longer battery-life thanks to DDR4 RAM

Matt Margolis is predicting that Apple will be switching from DDR3 to DDR4 RAM for future MacBooks this year, suggesting faster performance and improved battery-life.

One of Apple’s RAM manufacturer. Micron, says that DDR3 bandwidth tops out at around 17GB/s, while DDR4 aims to double this by 2015:

Since the introduction of the iPhone, the industry has responded with an evolutionary transition from 2.6 GB/s LPDDR1, to 8.5 GB/s LPDDR2, to 17 GB/s LPDDR3, the technology currently is powering today’s high-end devices in volume production. DRAM bandwidth has roughly doubled with each generation to keep pace with demand.

The next generation of low-power DRAM (LPDRAM)—also known as LPDDR4—addresses these constraints by doubling the bandwidth of LPDDR3 while maintaining power neutrality. For example, LPDDR4 targets 34 GB/s of total bandwidth for a x64 memory subsystem, doubling the bandwidth target from LPDDR3

The company has not given specific targets for improved battery-life, but says that it aims to reduce power consumption in both active and standby modes.

Margolis suggests that DDR4 RAM may also make it into future iPhones and iPads.

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