Intel intends to introduce its 3rd Generation Optane Persistent Memory modules in a few weeks, the company said at a recent Storage Field Day. The report sheds some light on Intel's plans regarding persistent memory in general, but the shared slide lacks any mentions of 3D XPoint specifically. Furthermore, the company is also discussing CXL-based memory enhancers and a mysterious next-gen memory.
"[Intel is] about to announce [Optane] Gen 3 and working on the next generation [which] will do CXL Memory tiering," Kristie Mann, an Intel VP, is reported to have said, according to Blocks & Files.
But while Intel is promoting its 3rd Generation Optane Persistent Memory based on 3D XPoint memory right now, the roadmap is focused on CXL, new memory types, and form factors. This does not necessarily omit 3D XPoint per se, but pretty much shows where Intel sees things going.
In fact, Intel's mention of new memory types is perhaps the most important part of the announcement. Technically, the CXL protocol enables a host of features that SSD makers and platforms can use, giving Intel a broad platform to enable newer technologies. The company isn't sharing details yet, though.
For Sapphire Rapids
It looks like we are going to see yet another version of non-volatile Optane Persistent Memory modules based on 3D XPoint memory aimed at Intel's Xeon Scalable 'Sapphire Rapids' processors with a DDR5 memory interface. This is not exactly particularly new, as Intel talked about this product back in 2019.
Being Intel's and Micron's solution for endurance, performance, and capacity at a low cost, 3D XPoint memory has only gained a modicum of acceptance among select Intel Xeon Scalable platforms supporting this technology. Applications that need massive amounts of memory are pretty vast, which is why Intel is working with a variety of software developers to optimize their platforms for its Optane Persistent Memory modules.
Right now, Intel does not seem to have plans for the high-volume roll-out of 3D XPoint memory for the storage market, or at least has no plans that it is ready to announce. So, for now, the company is positioning Optane-branded products for the data center market.