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Wafer supply agreement: Intel must buy Micron 3D Xpoint memory

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Intel and Micron have a new one Wafer supply agreement closed: The contract stipulates that Micron will produce the non-volatile 3D Xpoint memory, which Intel will then buy for its own modules called Optane DC Persistent Memory. Such an agreement already existed, but at that time Intel and Micron were still partners in a joint venture (IMFT).

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  1. DB Systel GmbH, Berlin, Frankfurt (Main)
  2. OSRAM Opto Semiconductors Limited liability company, Regensburg



However, this was resolved in October 2018 and Micron also took over a plant in the US state of Utah, the Fab 2 near Lehi. Exactly this semiconductor site is currently the only one in which 3D Xpoint memory is produced. Intel wanted to convert the Fab 68 in Dalian, China, but this plan has not yet been implemented.

No details are available on the new Wafer Supply Agreement, but the announcement mentions price adjustments – presumably higher than before – and the outlook of whatever kind. Intel's Non Volatile Memory Solutions Group made a loss of $ 1.2 billion in 2018.

So far, Optane DC Persistent Memory is not a very popular and also a comparatively expensive type of memory. Current models, called Apache Pass, run at DDR4-2666 speed and have a capacity of up to 512 GB. The next generation, called the Barlow Pass, clocks with DDR4-3200, but Intel is not planning any 1 TB modules for the time being despite 3D Xpoint v2 with double data density.

In any case, only a few and very expensive Xeon CPUs support the Optane DC Persistent Memory, only the recent price adjustment for the M processors made these processors more affordable.

In addition to the Optane DC Persistent Memory, Intel also equips SSDs with 3D Xpoint, for example the Optane Memory H10 for Ultrabooks or the Optane DC P4800X for servers. So far there is only one model from Micron with 3D Xpoint, the X100, a PCIe Gen3 x16 plug-in card.

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