New Intel memory chip can make your smartphone 1,000-times faster

29 Jul 2015

Intel's 3D XPoint chip image via Intel

Your future smartphone could be about to get a whole lot faster with the news that the new Intel memory chip called 3D XPoint is 1,000-times faster than the NAND memory chip currently found in many smartphones.

The new Intel memory chip is a joint project between the company and Micron Technology and marks a potential quantum leap in memory power for future generations of smartphones.

Throwing lots of big numbers in our direction, Intel says the 3D XPoint is not only 1,000-times faster than the current generation, but has up to 1,000-times greater endurance than NAND, and is 10-times denser than conventional memory.

The naming of the new chip is no mere marketing term as the XPoint (pronounced cross-point) refers to the structure of the chip, which stacks wires on top of one another, which when observed from a bird’s-eye view resemble a series of Xs .

This structure thereby allows for data to be written and read in small sizes, leading to faster and more efficient read/write processes.

More importantly, unlike NAND memory, the 3D XPoint chip will be able to retain memory even when the unit it is in is powered off.

Intel says that the new chip will speed up results for many different sectors, including identifying fraud detection patterns in financial transactions, while healthcare researchers could process and analyse larger data sets in real time for complex tasks such as genetic analysis and disease tracking.

Mark Adams, president of Micron, said of its new toy: “This new class of non-volatile memory is a revolutionary technology that allows for quick access to enormous data sets and enables entirely new applications.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic