Report: Intel to Pay More for Optane Because of Micron Deal

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Intel's alimony payments might be getting expensive. Storage news and analysis site Blocks & Files today reported that Intel will have to pay more for Optane memory chips because a new supply deal with Micron, its former business partner, went into effect on March 7.

Intel and Micron worked together on 3D XPoint via the IM Flash Technologies joint venture. The partnership started to falter in late 2018, however, and Micron said in 2019 that it would pay Intel roughly $1.3 billion for its stake in IM Flash Technologies.

It wasn't a clean break, however, because the Intel Optane lineup was built upon 3D XPoint. That means Intel has to buy 3D XPoint memory chips for use in its Optane products, and now it seems the price of those memory chips just got higher.

Blocks & Files quoted Wells Fargo analyst Aaron Rakers, who said that "we would assume that the new wafer supply agreement reflects net-positive pricing and forecast terms for Micron." (Or in English: Micron's gotta make money off this deal.)

The second generation of 3D XPoint was expected to arrive this year. Intel's annual report made it seem like that wouldn't be the case though and suggested the first products based on the technology would arrive sometime in 2021 instead.

We've reached out to Intel for comment and will update if the company responds.

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.

  • TechLurker
    I'm hoping that with the split, 3D X-Point will become available for other systems like AMD and Apple to consider developing with, and not just Intel. Mayb it would also help reduce the costs enough to see it start becoming mainstream or at least mainstream HEDT.