Intel's Optane faces threat as Micron chases future QuantX tech

Micron is researching second- and third-generation 3D Xpoint storage technology

Intel made waves at CES in January with Optane, a new class of memory and storage that will supercharge PCs and servers.

But don't forget that Optane has competition. Memory company Micron is coming out with memory and storage based on the same underlying 3D Xpoint technology.

Intel and Micron jointly developed the first-generation 3D Xpoint technology, which was announced in 2015. The fruitful partnership is now turning into a healthy rivalry.

While Intel ships its first low-capacity Optanes for PCs, Micron is already researching the second- and third-generations of 3D Xpoint technology. Micron's 3D Xpoint products are called QuantX.

The companies believe 3D Xpoint products could ultimately replace conventional SSDs and DRAM in PCs and servers.

Intel has said Optane SSDs are 10 times faster than conventional SSDs. The companies say the new technology is significantly denser than DRAM.

The first low-capacity Optane storage should appear in PCs in the second quarter of this year. It will be used as cache to allow PCs to boot faster and load applications and games more quickly.

Micron has moved a bit slower and expects to ship its first QuantX products in small quantities by the end of the year, the company said during an earnings call in late January.

Micron has a different strategy than Intel for the development of QuantX. Instead of PCs, it will target high-capacity QuantX SSDs and DRAM at servers and high-end systems.

In the next-generation QuantX products, Micron wants to tack on more storage capacity and reduce latency, Scott DeBoer, vice president of Micron, said during an analyst meeting Scottsdale, Arizona, this week.

"This a real exciting technology for the future," DeBoer said.

There is significant interest in using both Optane and QuantX in data centers for applications like machine learning. The dual-threat ability for the technologies to be used as both memory and storage makes them handy for caching and hot and cold storage.

Micron won't offer the QuantX drives directly but will make it available through companies making storage products.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags ram

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?