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Intel Sells SSD Business and Fab to Sk Hynix, New 'Solidigm' Subsidiary Launched

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(Image credit: Intel)

Intel announced this evening that it has closed the first phase of the sale of its SSD and NAND businesses to SK hynix and has now received the initial $7 billion tranche to seal the deal. The news comes on the heels of SK hynix's announcement last week that the acquisition had cleared the final regulatory hurdles in China, albeit with certain restrictions. SK hynix also announced that it had formed a new 'Solidigm' subsidiary to operate the fab and handle the SSD business. Intel veteran Rob Crooke, previously the SVP and GM of Intel's Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group, will helm the San Jose-based Solidigm as CEO.

The total sale includes Intel's SSD business, NAND IP, and wafer production, all for a total of $9 billion — but it comes in the form of two steps. The first step of the sale, completed today, includes transferring Intel's Dalian fab in China, some employees, and certain IP pertaining to NAND-based SSDs to SK hynix. 

The final step of the sale won't arrive until March 2025. In the meantime, Intel will still manufacture NAND wafers at the Dalian facility and will retain some of its NAND wafer design and manufacturing IP. However, when the final step completes in 2025, Intel will transfer its remaining employees in its R&D department and the last of its NAND design and manufacturing IP to SK hynix. At this point, Intel will also stop manufacturing NAND in the Dalian fab.

Rob Crooke, the long-time SVP and GM of Intel's SSD operations, will take over as the CEO of a newly-formed and wholly SK hynix-owned subsidiary named 'Solidigm,' a name said to "reflect a new paradigm in solid-state storage." The company will be headquartered in San Jose, California. Lee Seok-hee, president and co-CEO of SK hynix, will serve as the company's executive chairman.

The company will be subject to some lingering restrictions from Chinese regulators, including pricing limits for finished products and components and supply expansion assurances for enterprise-class PCIe and SATA components for five years, among other restrictions. All of Intel's existing SSD storage products will now be manufactured and sold under the Solidigm banner. 

"Solidigm is poised to be the world's next big semiconductor company, which presents an unprecedented opportunity to reinvent the data memory and storage industry," said Crooke. "We are steadfast in our commitment to lead the data industry in a way that can truly fuel human advancement."

The deal allows Intel to focus more closely on its other businesses as it exits the low-profit and capital-intensive flash memory business that's subject to extreme pricing volatility. Intel will retain its 3D XPoint technology that powers its Optane products. Still, the future of that tech is unclear after its manufacturing partner Micron recently sold its fab and ceased 3D XPoint production. Intel is also planning to take Mobileye, its company focused on self-driving car technology, public via an IPO next year. However, Intel plans to be the majority owner of the public company. 

Paul Alcorn
Deputy Managing Editor

Paul Alcorn is the Deputy Managing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage and enterprise hardware.

  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    "We are steadfast in our commitment to lead the data industry in a way that can truly fuel human advancement."

    Coming from a man who works for a company which is perfectly happy to NOT advance technology without any competition is pretty ironic...
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    Alvar Miles Udell said:
    "We are steadfast in our commitment to lead the data industry in a way that can truly fuel human advancement."

    Coming from a man who works for a company which is perfectly happy to NOT advance technology without any competition is pretty ironic...
    What's been more innovative than Optane in the storage industry over the last decade?
    Reply
  • Conahl
    spongiemaster said:
    What's been more innovative than Optane in the storage industry over the last decade?

    can you even get optane for consumers ?? oh what, you can't intel disco's consumer optane products, seems its only for servers now. innovative ? maybe. too bad consumers cant get it.
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    Conahl said:
    can you even get optane for consumers ?? oh what, you can't intel disco's consumer optane products, seems its only for servers now. innovative ? maybe. too bad consumers cant get it.
    Not relevant to the whether or not Intel has advanced technology in the storage field. It was and still is available for purchase. The OP did not have a caveat of advancing technology that Conahl can afford.
    Reply
  • Conahl
    spongiemaster said:
    It was and still is available for purchase
    for servers only now, not available for consumers thats the point. why did intel discontinue it ? did intel realize it was point less for consumer usage ? micron dropped it so maybe it is. makes you wonder how much longer intel will continue with optane now

    spongiemaster said:
    . The OP did not have a caveat of advancing technology that Conahl can afford.
    and you know what i can and can't afford spungiemaster ? yea ok sure. get off your " spungiemaster knows everything BS "
    Reply
  • ottonis
    So, I am very curious about what Hynix is going to make off of the (now) ex-Intel SSD IP. I have always been drooling over Intel's PICe - slot based SSD drives with incredible durability and ultra low latencies. However price/size ratio was not really within the realm of an amateur consumer but rather for data center-like high throughput workloads.
    So, I hope that Hynix will make some more affordable SSD drives based on the same advanced technological principals.
    A prominent example is Lenovo notebooks that was originally an IBM division. Now, Lenovo has certalyinly upped the ante and done a terriffic job, however, there are people who still mourne over the impeccable quality control of original IBM notebooks from yesteryear.
    Reply
  • Co BIY
    I thought that having a strong storage arm was a strength for intel as an integrated solutions provider.

    But financialization makes having an exposure to a volatile market a large liability.
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    Conahl said:
    for servers only now, not available for consumers thats the point. why did intel discontinue it ? did intel realize it was point less for consumer usage ? micron dropped it so maybe it is. makes you wonder how much longer intel will continue with optane now


    and you know what i can and can't afford spungiemaster ? yea ok sure. get off your " spungiemaster knows everything BS "
    Do you have anything relevant to the thread to add or just your usual anti anything-Intel BS?

    Optane is still available for anyone to buy
    https://www.newegg.com/intel-optane-ssd-905p-series-960gb/p/N82E16820167463
    Reply
  • Conahl
    spongiemaster said:
    Do you have anything relevant to the thread to add or just your usual anti anything-Intel BS?
    could say the same as your usual anti anything amd BS, whats your point ?

    and i stand corrected. where i am, no one even lists optane based drives any more, when i ask a couple of stores here , i was told its for servers only, as intel has stopped making them for consumers, and they cant even special order consumer based products.
    Reply
  • Mandark
    spongiemaster said:
    What's been more innovative than Optane in the storage industry over the last decade?
    Don’t you mean what’s more useless than Optane in storage??

    Your comment was a joke, right if not I am laughing at you. Optane is useless as teats on a bull

    I’m glad Intel is getting out of it because they do such a lousy job at every single thing they do including CPUs

    They are the obese bloated fat retards of the industry
    Reply