Intel boosts 3D Xpoint production capacity at IM Flash foundry


— 12:05 PM on November 13, 2017

Intel appears confident in the future of its 3D Xpoint media and the Optane products that incorporate it. The company announced today that it's finished an expansion of the facilities at IM Flash in Lehi, Utah (a joint Intel-Micron Technologies venture) that will allow it to produce more of its high-speed, low-latency non-volatile memory. Given the introduction of the Optane SSD 900P series of drives for consumers and the increasing capacities of Optane data-center SSDs, along with the existing Optane Memory line of storage-caching accelerators, Intel will likely have no problem finding homes for the chips it produces with this additional capacity.

In addition to 3D Xpoint memory, IM Flash (also known as IMFT) produces 3D NAND for Intel and Micron products using floating-gate technology, in comparison to the charge-trap technology employed by Samsung with its 3D V-NAND. Although it's not entirely clear to me whether Intel reports IMFT numbers as part of its own financials, Intel's Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group (which likely incorporates a range of IMFT products) has enjoyed healthy growth in recent quarters amid growing demand for NAND flash in general. IMFT NAND also finds homes in popular products like Crucial's MX300 SSD. I wouldn't be surprised if we continue to hear more stories of growth at IMFT as Intel finds more ways to tap 3D Xpoint for next-generation storage products.

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