Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
3D XPoint Storage On The Way
Quote:3D XPoint (pronounced "3D cross-point") is described as a high-performance, very dense, non-volatile memory, and it's meant to help computers get more data closer to the processor. Crooke says it's a thousand times faster than today's flash memory and a thousand times more durable. Compared to DRAM, 3D XPoint is ten times as dense, and it's non-volatile. The initial 3D XPoint memory chips pack 128Gb on each chip, and that number is expected to increase as more layers are stacked on each chip.
Both firms are developing products based on 3D XPoint, and the memory will begin sampling "with select customers" later this year.
Quote:The initial 3D XPoint memory chips pack 128Gb on each chip, and that number is expected to increase as more layers are stacked on each chip.

That is, 16GB per chip.  Phenomenal.  

Quote:Both firms are developing products based on 3D XPoint, and the memory will begin sampling "with select customers" later this year.

So next year would be when we'd be seeing retail samples?  

This is too much of a revolution.  

Makes Skylake feel like a waste of an upgrade when this tech is right around the corner..   Cannonlake should feature this if Intel is "developing products based on 3D XPoint".  

Let me see if I can get the next couple years right (if my crystal ball is any good):

I5-variants of desktop Cannonlake with a bit of edram L4 cache, 8GB HBM2 memory, 128GB 3D XPoint memory for storage and instant loading of Windows 10 SP1 and main apps, and 4TB HDD that drops to around $100.  
Customer i7-variants with 16GB HBM2 memory.  256GB 3D XPoint afforable by these customers as well, so still no great need for an SSD when a 4-6GB 7200rpm HDD serves the rest of storage needs.
Enthusiast i7-variants with 32GB HBM2, perhaps 512GB 3DX XPoint as the top line, 2TB M3 SSD's, and also 8TB HDD's for archiving.

This is a massive revolution.  Windows 10 would be just like the Win XP era.  PC's that first ran WinXP compared to the PC's that ran WinXP during the end of the XP era were like night and day, with these early 1GHz single-threaded PC's completely obsolete by then.  Then PC's that first ran Vista (core2quad, still as fast as most of AMD's offerings today) are still considered decent and fine for running most things nowadays, on Windows 8.1..
Ok with science that the big bang theory requires that fundamental scientific laws do not exist for the first few minutes, but not ok for the creator to defy these laws...  Rolleyes
There are many new technologies that never take off. The drawbacks, pros vs cons, and even politics can have a major influence in the direction we go.
Quote:Meanwhile unlike many next generation memory technologies out there at the moment, 3D XPoint is the furthest along and doesn't only exist on paper or in a lab. Intel and Micron are currently sampling the first generation die that is being produced at the companies' jointly owned fab in Lehi, Utah. The die is 128Gbit (16GB) in capacity, whereas the products that startup memory companies have in production are in the order of dozens of megabytes. The die is built on a 20nm node and consists of two layers, and in the future scaling will happen through both lithography shrinks and by increasing the number of layers.

The Utah fab has been producing 20nm NAND for now since Intel didn't invest on the 16nm shrink and all initial 3D NAND production will take place in Micron's Singapore fab, but it's unclear whether the full fab with its 20,000 wafers per month capacity will be dedicated to 3D XPoint from now on. My guess would be that 3D XPoint will gradually take over the full wafer capacity in Utah depending on how the market reacts to the new technology and how high demand Intel and Micron are seeing. 3D XPoint does require some new equipment for manufacturing since 3D XPoint deals with a whole new set of materials, but Intel and Micron said that the transition is quite similar to a new NAND node and allows some of the existing equipment to be used.

The companies aren't quoting any price per gigabyte yet, but since the whole function of 3D XPoint is to fill the gap between DRAM and NAND, it will also be priced accordingly. A quick look at NewEgg puts DRAM pricing at approximately $5-6 per gigabyte, whereas the high-end enterprise SSDs are in the range of $2-3. While client SSDs can be had for as low as $0.35, they aren't really a fair comparison because at least initially 3D XPoint will be aimed for enterprise applications. My educated guess is that the first 3D XPoint based products will be priced at about $4 per gigabyte, possibly even slightly lower depending on how DRAM and NAND pricess fall within a year.
Wow, this is utterly exciting. Most exciting thing since SSD's, but I'm actually more excited about this that I ever was about SSD's.
Ok with science that the big bang theory requires that fundamental scientific laws do not exist for the first few minutes, but not ok for the creator to defy these laws...  Rolleyes
(07-29-2015, 04:03 AM)BoFox Wrote:
Quote:The initial 3D XPoint memory chips pack 128Gb on each chip, and that number is expected to increase as more layers are stacked on each chip.

That is, 16GB per chip.  Phenomenal.
[Image: 37a.jpg]
3D XPoint arrives next year.

  • The Optane SSD was able to achieve 7.2x times more IOPS at low queue depth and upto 5.21 times the IOPs of conventional SSDs at high queue depths.
  • An Optane Technology based SSD has 10x times the density of conventional SSD drives.
  • The marketing material also claims it is 1000x faster than the competition available on the market but it isn’t clear to what exactly they are referring to – a good guess would be latency, as opposed to bandwidth.
  • Optane SSDs will have 1000x the endurance – which, if true, should mean the device has virtually unlimited life span for practical purposes.

Also, regarding the DIMMs:
[Image: Intel-3D-XPoint-DIMMs-635x364.jpg]

And the really exciting part:

Quote:While one would guess a insanely high price for these new products, Intel has promised a suggested pricing comparable to current flash and DRAM products which will mean that Optane branded products will become economically viable to gain a larger user base when its launched due to high competitive pricing.

With 10x the density of conventional SSDs (and 1000x the reliability), perhaps this spells the true death for mechanical HDD's.
Intel demos 3D XPoint SSD with 2 GB/s write speed:
A challenger appears:
Yay - anything to make Intel humble and competitive.
Report says 3D Xpoint could launch alongside Kaby Lake:
First 3D Xpoint products revealed, they are caching drives:
Quote:What was great about the whole announcement was that Intel’s new technology wasn’t just some proof-of-concept pipe-dream, but was instead in full production with a wide release scheduled for this year. Unfortunately, it looks like Intel has run into trouble and has silently and significantly postponed the launch of 3D XPoint tech.

Spotted by Motley Fool, Intel’s plans seem to have shifted, given that the upcoming server Skylake EP processors will not support 3D XPoint. Instead, it looks like the first server systems to support the new memory tech will be coming out as late as 2019.

This is very disappointing, given that earlier this year Intel was rumored to be working with partners on developing 3D XPoint SSDs and that its tech has been in testing for so long. Still, server-side support is one thing, consumer electronics is another. Here’s hoping we’ll still see this tech show up on the market so we can all ditch our slow, puny M.2 SSDs.
Quote:The first big announcement is that Lenovo is launching Intel Optane caching drives on select ThinkPad models. We’ve followed the development of this new non-volatile storage solution for some time, and please check out the full write-up on this announcement of shipping 3D XPoint here. Due to the small storage capacity, these initial Optane M.2 drives will be used for HDD caching on several ThinkPad models, including the ThinkPad T470p, L470, L570, T470, and T570.
Quote:Multiple leaks in Chinese-language media apparently outline the performance specifications of Intel's forthcoming Optane P4800X Series Cold Stream PCIe Add-In-Card, which is the company's first 3D XPoint-powered SSD. If Intel follows its trend of releasing enthusiast variants of its enterprise SSDs, we could see the NVMe DC P4800X head to the desktop soon. We treat any leak with suspicion, but in this case we also found a declaration of conformity certificate on Intel's site. The document confirms the name of the device and that it uses 3D XPoint, thus lending some credibility to the leak. We also found a reference to an unreleased DC P4500 Cliffdale SSD series.
Technobabble aside, Intel's Cold Stream is fast, and if the company releases an enthusiast variant, it would unquestionably be the fastest SSD ever. The price tag might be a bit shocking, but we await further details. We've already seen Intel's Optane-series SSDs pop up on the UNH-IOL Integrator's list, so we know they are very close to market.

Intel also recently announced that it's shipping 3D XPoint-powered Optane memory DIMMs, so it's clear the era of next-generation memory is almost upon us. Intel also has its investor conference today, and with documentation already popping up on the official site, we suspect it might be the venue for the formal announcement.
It's only available on Kaby Lake and later!? Angry
And Intel just keeps mishandling the product:
Quote:Intel's Smart Response Technology (SRT) was so successful that we haven't talked about it since it was first introduced in 2011. We say that with a heavy dose of sarcasm, because Intel plans to bring the technology back with a faster media. Cached I/O isn't anything new. For the last decade, Microsoft and Intel have given users several options, ranging from USB thumb drives to accelerate I/O to speedy purpose-built single-level cell (SLC) SSDs. With Optane, the technology might just catch on, but not the way Intel sees it.

Intel just announced two new products that bring Optane technology to the consumer desktop. Optane is loosely defined as the company's products built with 3D XPoint technology, a next generation non-volatile memory structure built from the ground up to reduce latency. The new Optane Memory products will ship in two capacities (16GB and 32GB) and give users access to a whole new performance tier--as long as you have the supporting technology in place, mainly a 200-series chipset.
Both products worked remarkably well and spawned additional products sold as "cache SSDs" from third-party vendors. Intel took steps to retain an advantage over competing solutions. In 2014, TRIM was removed from the SRT feature list, which left the SSD to handle all collection activities without the guidance from the operating system. This left lower-priced, MLC-based products that had less advanced controllers with a severe disadvantage. Intel also limited the cache size to just 64GB. If your SSD was larger than 64GB, the additional capacity could be used as a separate addressable volume with a drive letter. The limits imposed kept users from building a large cache to place in front of the hard disk drive cold storage tier.

Smart Response Technology (SRT) was introduced during a transitional time for consumer SSDs. Crucial had just released the first SATA 6Gbps SSD (the C300), and SandForce proved that in-house firmware led to increased sales. Users had a taste of flash and started to consume a lot of it. That drove the cost of the technology down. Older SSDs appeared on the secondary market for pennies on the dollar, and that started a boom that is now a thriving industry. For a few dollars, users could build a hybrid array with a little flash in front of a spinning disk; or, for a few dollars more, you could boot to a full-speed SSD. The market spoke, cache technology lost its I and was just on the way Out.

In contrast, Optane Memory reshuffles the board and starts off with an advantage over traditional NAND-based SSDs. Intel and Micron own 3D XPoint technology, and we don't expect to see the two competing against each other. Intel has stated that 3D XPoint will not be for sale to third-party customers, so you won't see, for example, an Adata Optane product on store shelves to drive costs down. Optane-based products are the new SLC, but this time no one plans to share the secret sauce to outside companies. If you want a 5x to 8x increase in low-queue depth performance, only two companies are in the kitchen.

Optane Memory comes during another transitional period for flash. The market has shifted to lower-cost, high-capacity products that use internal cache technology to mimic performance found in previous generations. Two-bit per cell NAND is nearly nonexistent in consumer SSDs, barring a few standout SSD manufacturers that entertain Toshiba executives. MLC will disappear within a year for all but very high-cost SSDs designed for prosumers.

Toshiba will finish the factories for 3D BiCS technology. Its partner, SanDisk, has already publicly stated that TLC is the new normal for consumer SSDs. If you thought TLC was bad, just wait for quad-level cell (QLC) flash that will certainly require an appetizer of Optane Memory to be palatable.
Cache technology brings a set of inherit risks. Stacking cache on top of cache amplifies the penalty of a cache miss. As an analogy: In baseball, you may go through several batters to get a hit. That takes time, and you could end up on the losing side of performance when an I/O request first strikes out the Optane cache, then the SLC layer cache, and finally has to reach out to the third layer. In this case, it's the TLC. The third batter gets a hit, but there are already two strikeouts on the scoreboard for the inning. Holding more data in the high-speed tier one cache helps to increase your chances of a hit. The more applications you use, the wider the strike zone becomes. Your core, daily use software is ready to swing for the fences, but the application you haven't run in six months has to be flown in from the Triple-A league. If your primary media is a hard disk drive, then you see a massive 20ms delay after swinging at fast balls for most of the day.

Prosumers and working professionals that rely on performance consistency and use large data sets are not the core audience for Optane Memory. I'll be one of the first to take advantage of the new 3D XPoint technology in a RAID 0 array with three 32GB M.2 NVMe drives configured in a 96GB array to test what the technology is capable of.

Intel spoke softly about an Optane SSD, which will serve as a normal boot volume, and gave us permission to acknowledge its existence. So, we can confirm that it's going to be a Real Thing. Unfortunately, Intel didn't give us much more than that. We can speculate that the Optane SSD will have a relationship to the just-announced DC P4800X that's similar to the one between the DC P3700 (enterprise SSD) and the 750 Series (consumer NVMe SSD). Intel has reconfigured enterprise-class products in the past for those willing to spend the money for extreme performance. We expect an add-in card form factor but were also told that, "Optane becomes very interesting with U.2."

The message is just as clear as it is cryptic. The DC P4800X will see two larger capacity models around the same time Intel releases the technology in a U.2 form factor.
The first preview:

Micron to the rescue:
Quote:Micron is apparently taking a path that differs from Intel's though, in that it's looking to license its 3D Xpoint technology to other storage makers (not currently known which), in SSD or DDR-like formats, according to the company. However, these products will likely first target the enterprise space, with QuantX-based SSDs on the PCI-Express 3.0/NVMe protocols, with capacities of up to 1.4TB. Micron is aligning QuantX with emerging throughput technologies like Gen-Z, which could expand QuantX's reach towards the ARM server market, which has seen increasing interest in recent times.. The QuantX storage and memory will have their own dedicated controllers, sitting close to the CPU for quick data transfers, thus reducing potential bottlenecks.
Quote:One issue no one’s happy with is Intel’s decision to limit Optane to Kaby Lake CPUs in 200-series chipsets. SSD caches (and Optane caches) would be most effective if deployed as acceleration in lower-cost systems or older hardware. Intel’s decision to sandbox their platform to only the latest motherboards and CPUs means the computers that could benefit the most from Optane acceleration aren’t eligible to use it.

It’s also telling the platforms Intel shipped for Optane testing literally preclude comparing it with its most logical competitor. As we’ve previously stated, Optane should be compared against SSD drive caching, but the B250 motherboards that Intel provided literally only support Optane caching. If you try to configure the software to cache via SSD instead, it refuses to do so. For that, you need a Z270 motherboard, and that’s one reason we don’t have Optane figures ourselves today. The appropriate configuration to test against is the configuration that should serve as Intel’s primary competitor.

But any comparison of SSD-versus-Optane pricing drives home that this isn’t 2012. Back then, it made sense to buy into SSD cache drives, particularly if you wanted to add SSD-like performance to an existing rig without giving up the much larger capacities of a hard drive. Today, SSD prices have fallen so much that you can buy a 256GB SSD for the same cost as a 32GB Optane cache (~$77). While we aren’t claiming that the performance benefits of an SSD cache are equivalent or exactly matched to those of an Optane cache, look through the slideshow from our 2012 review against any of the reviews above, and you’ll see many of the same performance improvements — with the aforementioned exception of Optane’s low queue depth performance, which really is exceptional compared with SSDs.

SSD cache drives have found limited adoption in low-end desktops and laptops, but the higher power consumption of Optane when in standby (it consumes roughly 1W compared to ~.1W for SSDs) may make it a non-starter in the mobile market. SSD prices may rise this year, so Optane caches may become more compelling, but it’s unclear there’s a great consumer performance argument here just yet.

In and of itself, this isn’t really a problem. It’s easy to forget now, but when the first consumer SSDs began to hit the market, they didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory, either. The earliest SSDs were ludicrously expensive, tiny, and couldn’t even match spinning magnetic media on certain workloads due to poor random read/write performance. Optane clearly has data center capabilities and superior consumer performance may arrive with future generations. But as of today, we agree with Ars Technica’s Peter Bright, who writes:
Quote:Rather than showcasing the new capabilities that 3D XPoint brings to the table, it simply highlights how wretched Intel’s product segmentation is. It’s at best an incremental improvement over SRT, and for the money, most people are probably going to be better off with a plain flash SSD than a hybrid disk anyway. 3D XPoint may yet turn out to be something good, perhaps even something world-changing. But this ain’t it.

Not everyone calls Optane out quite that harshly — Hot Hardware allows that the caching solution “may make sense” in certain configurations, but virtually all of the review coverage agrees that limited storage options and Intel’s segmentation decisions sharply limit Optane’s addressable market. Intel’s decision to ship a test platform that prohibited the most logical comparison point to make against its own hardware also doesn’t say much for the company’s confidence in its own performance.
Quote:Intel's Optane Memory tech showcases what 3D Xpoint memory can do on a limited scale, but the potential for Optane extends well beyond hard-drive acceleration. Intel began shipping Optane DIMMs to partners for testing early this year, and yesterday the company committed to delivering Optane DIMMs as a product called "Intel persistent memory" alongside a refresh of its Xeon Processor Scalable family called Cascade Lake. Both the persistent memory product and Cascade Lake CPUs will arrive sometime in 2018.

Intel says that Optane DIMMs will upend the traditional "small, volatile, and expensive" view of system memory by providing a much denser and persistent way of putting data close to the processor, all at lower prices than DRAM. The company showed off these potential benefits at the SAP Sapphire conference by running the ERP giant's HANA analytics tool on a pool of Optane DIMMs. Intel says that for in-memory database apps like HANA, these DIMMs will be a no-brainer for improving performance because of the much larger data sets they'll put closer to CPUs.
Quote:I don't expect many people to run out and buy two or three Optane Memory SSDs to build a RAID array. For many of us, it's just a waiting game. In time Intel will bring a high-performance Optane-based SSD to market that doesn't cost $1,500. Several sites have reported that product may be called the 900P. A 900-series SSD product would fall in line with the return of the Core i9 processor series, and it would possibly use a configuration like the DC P4800X. The Intel SSD 750 series used the same hardware as the DC P3x00 series, so Intel wouldn't be breaking any new ground in bringing enterprise/datacenter hardware to the prosumer market. If the reports are true, the upcoming Optane 900P consumer SSD will ship in a wider range of capacities than the SSD 750. That will give more users access to affordable 3D XPoint technology.

Quote:This is the first time that Intel publicly discussed the new Optane SSD. We were there to capture the brief moment. The video above starts with a demonstration of Optane Memory in a face-off between an Optane-accelerated HDD and a "vanilla hard disk drive." Once the brief demo was finished, the speaker pulled an Optane SSD.

The drive has what appears to be black tape over the label. It may be a P4800X enterprise SSD in disguise, just to show a representation of what's to come. The real story is that an Optane SSD is in the works, and it will be the fastest consumer SSD ever released to the public. We don't expect it to be cheap, but we're excited about the technology and what it will deliver for those willing to invest to reach the ultimate computing experience.
Quote:Intel didn’t announce the upcoming 900p at Computex but did take the stage for a brief moment in the spotlight. The 900p looks amazing in the leaked slides, but even as vaporware, it has our vote over the TLC race-to-the bottom we saw all week.

The next-generation consumer SSDs have weak controller designs with low core counts. Most of the processing power will be used by powerful error correction technology needed to ensure product life from 1,000 to 1,500 P/E cycle 3D TLC. NAND flash companies plan to erase MLC from the board in the 3D era. That will push many of our readers to Intel’s 3D Xpoint technology used in the proposed 900p and Optane Memory paired with hard disk drives.

Enthusiasts and early adopters who funded a large portion of the NAND development over the last decade will find 3D TLC a bust at this stage. In the future, we may see stronger products designed for enthusiasts, gamers, and power users, but for now we have only two viable alternatives: Samsung V-NAND and Intel Optane. Samsung didn’t display any products publicly at Computex, so Intel gets the pudding this time around.

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)