Last summer it seems Intel announced 3D Xpoint, a new class of memory chip labled as a “major breakthrough in memory process technology.” It’s 3D Xpoint, 1000 times faster and more rediculuosly durable than NAND Flash storage, as well as 10 times denser than DRAM chips used in previous computers.
Promised by Intel about its first 3D Xpoint (aka crosspoint) product will be arriving in early 2016 in the form of its Optane SSDs (solid state drive), which may be of interest to Apple. 3D Xpoint, as per MacWorld – is compatible with NVM Express (NVMe), an SSD protocol that eventually offers improved latency and performance over the older AHCI protocol.
Retina MackBooks already using NVMe technology, and it’s likely that Skylake macs set be released across 2016 will also support NVMe. With its compatibility built into 3D Xpoint, Apple may adopt Intel’s Optane solid state drives for super fast performance speeds that significantly outpace what’s possible with current SSDs. Pointing that out, Apple is often an early adopter of emerging technology produced by Intel, having been the first company to implement Thunderbolt and chip technology from Intel.
Although Intel is planning to make its Optane SSDs available this year, the technology is unlikely to see widespread adoption right away. Nevertheless, the 3D Xpoint storage solution will likely exist alongside NAND flash options until prices become affordable enough for use it in mass-produced products. By the way, Intel is also working hard on Optane memory DIMMs.
When compared to Intel Skylake chips, for many of Apple’s Macs are currently available or will be obtained in the near future. If Apple does choose to use Inte’s Optane SSDs in futuristic-Macs, it could be some time before Optane-equipped machines are available. Upgraded Macs are not definitely expected in 2016, but likely continue to use NAND Flash instead, as ft-mentioned, speed improvements could come in the form of wider NVMe adoption.
The innovative, transistor-less cross point architecture creates a three-dimensional checkerboard where memory cells sit at the intersection of word lines and bit lines, allowing the cells to be addressed individually. As a result, data can be written and read in small sizes, leading to faster and more efficient read/write processes.
Final word on this, could see the first Mac upgrades in the next few months, perhaps at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference.
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