It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane…No…It’s 3D XPoint Technology

by margento | December 7, 2016


The way you store your data is about to change.

For the last 60 years, increasingly vast amounts of data have been stored primarily on magnetic hard disk drives (HDDs). Hard drives are capable of storing a huge amount of information, but they are mechanical devices and can be more delicate and a lot slower than more recent NAND (stands for negative-and logic gate) flash memory, which has no moving parts. NAND flash memory, sometimes called a solid state drive (SSD), has become ubiquitous as a storage medium since it is a compact, fast and fairly inexpensive alternative to the noisy hard drives currently used in computers, mobile phones, USB flash drives and memory cards, among other things.

While hard drives and NAND flash memory are great for data storage, mobile devices and computers also have a smaller amount of super-fast short-term memory called DRAM (dynamic random access memory). DRAM is quite a bit more expensive and, unlike your hard drive or SSD, the contents in memory are “volatile”, meaning whatever is stored disappears when you turn off your device.

But what if long-term storage could be as snappy as DRAM?

The new technology does not use transistors.

“You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet”

Sometime in 2017/2018, a new memory and storage technology called 3D XPoint (pronounced 3D cross point), developed by Intel and Micron, will hit the market. The new technology is different from both NAND flash memory and DRAM in that it does not use transistors; instead, it uses a three-dimensional checkerboard structure that allows each memory cell to be addressed individually. The ability to read and write data in smaller increments is a huge advantage over flash memory, which is only able to store information in blocks of data.

How Fast Is Fast?

What makes this new technology so incredible and likeable is that it allows the user to take stupendous amounts of stored data and treat it as if it were in active memory rather than in traditional storage such as a hard drive or SSD flash drive. 3D XPoint memory is expected to read data three times faster, write four times faster and use 30% less power than NAND flash memory. That means it is not only faster than your current SSD or flash storage, but will help manufacturers to stretch the battery life a bit further once it is available in laptops and mobile phones.

How Much, You Ask?

We all know that those who purchase the newest technology pay the higher price and pave the way for those who wait for the technology to become mainstream. At the moment, a fixed price point has not been set in stone, but it has been suggested that 3D XPoint memory will cost about four or five times the current price of NAND flash drives.

Do I Really Need 3D XPoint?

For most owner-managers, today’s computers with their hard drive or SSD will be sufficient for everyday use. However, if your business applications require rapid data storage and transmission, whether for extensive analysis, high-performance databases, or simply for fast storage of immense amounts of data, this new technology is a game changer that will undoubtedly be worth the cost.

Contact Argento CPA today!


Disclaimer: BUSINESS MATTERS deals with a number of complex issues in a concise manner; it is recommended that accounting, legal or other appropriate professional advice should be sought before acting upon any of the information contained therein.
Although every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this letter, no individual or organization involved in either the preparation or distribution of this letter accepts any contractual, tortious, or any other form of liability for its contents or for any consequences arising from its use.
BUSINESS MATTERS is prepared bimonthly by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada for the clients of its members.
Richard Fulcher, CPA, CA – Author; Patricia Adamson, M.A., M.I.St. – CPA Canada Editor.
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