Tuesday, October 29, 2019

A Quick Summary on the Micron X100 3D XPoint SSD

A quick Summary on Micron X100 3D XPoint SSD.
THE Fastest SSD in the World!

Reminder: Micron will use the term 3D Xpoint. Intel, who owns the copyright to this term, will not use it. They use the term Optane Memory Media

Micron announced the worlds Fastest SSD, the x100 SSD. 2.5M IOPS, 9GB/Sec, 8uSec Latency. It is based on second generation 3D Xpoint. We showed the cost and density for this chip early in the year and again at FMS in 2019. And yes, we were correct in our predictions for what the chip would look like.

I bought 2 of them on Amazon last night…. JUST KIDDING!!. The product is not available to anyone yet and is supposed to sample to some select customer by the end of the year. It is apparently becoming more common to announce products that have not sampled with anyone yet. Standard qualification processes and history would indicate that the product is a year from volumes sales (More on this later).

  • Product is a full height card.
  • Product is PCIe3 x16. If you do x16, you will get some serious bandwidth.
  • If you build a x16 SSD with 3D XPoint and optimize it for speed, it will be the fastest SSD.

Some speculation from MKW Ventures (I will confirm when I get data
  • Density wasn’t announced but someone mentioned 750GByte at meeting
  • The product is probably heavily overprovisioned and costs $1000s of dollars per SSD. It is aimed only at the fastest market. If it was available, pricing would probably be in the $10/GByte region.
  • The product is probably FPGA based. The x16, FPGA, and the overall formfactor indicate that this is test vehicle and will not ramp in volume ( ie 100s of units sold total). Micron did this before with their super fast SLC NAND SSDs and IDT controller (P320h). They were very very fast and sold in very small numbers. This is not a bad thing, it allows Micron to learn, customers to try it out, and Micron to develop a product that will ramp. Plus you can do some fun virtual memory stuff with low latency SSDs like this.
  • This product and its follow on products will compete in the low latency SSD market with Intel, Samsung, Toshiba. It’s a real market, the volumes are just very low at this time. They will follow the ramp that NVMe SSDs have over the last 6 years.
  • We don’t expect to see 3D Xpoint DIMMS from Micron anytime soon. These require custom memory controller or a NVDIMM-P or CXL or GenZ like bus. None of those are ready yet.

  • Micron has a 3D XPoint SSD that they will sample this year. It is second generation 4 layer 3D Xpoint
  • It is arguably the fastest SSD available (when it ships).
  • It is confirmation that Micron plans to plan in the 3D Xpoint market
Mark Webb