SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Micron revealed performance data of working solid-state drives based on 3D XPoint memory on the first day of the Flash Memory Summit here. Separately rival Toshiba showed progress on conventional NAND flash, and mega-customer Facebook called for multiple new kinds of memory products.
A Micron engineer showed prototype SSDs with Xpoint memory chips on a PCIe Gen 3 interface handling writes at less than 20 microseconds and reads and less than 10 ms, ten times faster than existing NAND SSDs. Devices using four PCIe channels delivered up to 900,000 I/O operations per second. SSDs using eight lane PCIe peaked at 1.9 million IOPs.
Overall, Micron promised the drives it will brand as Quantx will deliver four times the capacity of DRAM. Compared to NAND it will offer ten times lower latency and 10x higher IOPS at up to 32 queues.
The company showed data on Xpoint SSDs at densities from 200 to 1600 Gbytes. However, it did not announce availability or pricing for the drives or the chips based on them.
The results amount to some of the first specific proof points for the technology Intel and Micron announced a year ago. A Micron executive reinforced the companies’ position that XPoint will not replace NAND but fill a gap between DRAM and NAND in performance, capacity and price
Facebook is among a handful of potential customers testing XPoint products. In a brief interview with EE Times, a keynoter from Facebook said the company’s software is ready to incorporate new persistent memories like XPoint for uses such as caches and database applications as soon as Intel and Micron can deliver products.
Facebook has been investigating various alternative memories including phase-change and memristor types. “After many years a new class of memories is on the horizon, but we are still in the early years exploring its applications,”Vijay Rao, a director of technology strategy at Facebook, told attendees in a keynote.
For its part, XPoint is “significantly faster than NAND,” he said, noting Intel published results showing its Xpoint SSDs delivering performance increases on Facebook database structures.
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