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Intel To Begin Launch of High-Performance SSDs By End of 2016

With solid state technology accounting for much of the hype surrounding consumer-level data storage as of late, it was only a matter of time before developers started releasing SSDs with higher capacities, faster access times and greater general performance. According to recently leaked information, however, that time could be much sooner than we think.

Intel's latest roadmap, which was first leaked in June 2016, shows the release of their newest line of SSDs: the Optane family. Additionally, the leaked image unveils the upcoming release of Intel's Kaby Lake line of processors. Both products are expected to hit store shelves by early 2017, though it appears Intel is pushing for a launch in Q4 2016.

Introducing 3D XPoint

Perhaps the key selling point of Intel's Optane line of SSDs is the fact that the drives are nearly as efficient as your computer's onboard RAM. This is due to the fact that the new SSDs take advantage of 3D XPoint technology, which provides up to 10 times greater density when compared to DRAM applications. Although SSDs have always been known for fast speeds and superior performance, none have been able to reach this level of performance.

To look at it another way, 3D XPoint is far quicker and more reliable than NAND flash memory. Capable of withstanding nearly 1 million complete erase-write cycles, 3D XPoint memory could, for all intents and purposes, last forever. Moreover, the technology still costs less than DRAM while still taking advantage of a non-volatile memory architecture.

An Innovation Long Overdue

If you're not already excited about 3D XPoint technology, you should be. Some of the industry's biggest names, including Intel, Micron and others, are touting the format as the first new memory architecture in 25 years. While the initial release is expected to target businesses and enterprises, experts predict that consumer-grade models will soon follow suit.

Rob Crooke, general manager and senior vice president with the Intel Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group, spoke about 3D Xpoint in a related news release. He was quoted as saying: "For decades, the industry has searched for ways to reduce the lag time between the processor and data to allow much faster analysis. This new class of non-volatile memory achieves this goal and brings game-changing performance to memory and storage solutions."

While 3D Xpoint technology was pioneered by Intel and Micron, and the first products to take advantage of the new technology are Intel's Optane SSDs, the technology isn't exclusive. As the 3D XPoint platform develops, more manufacturers in the IT industry are expected to embrace the technology for their own hardware applications.

The Future of Solid State Technology

As the speed, efficiency and lifespan of SSDs continue to increase, there's really no way to predict what we'll see next. However, given some of the advancements we've already seen, as well as ongoing contributions by some of the biggest names in the industry, it's safe to say that SSD technology is here to stay. For more information on 3D Xpoint technology or the Optane line of SSDs, please visit Intel's official website at www.intel.com.

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