Intel has created a mysterious new type of computer memory that could revolutionise the technology industry.
The innovative new design, called 3D XPoint, combines the functions of two types of memory to create a data bank that runs 1,000 times faster than most hard drives.
But Intel is keeping tight-lipped on how the new technology works and what it is made of.
Intel have created a new type of computer memory. The innovative new design, called 3D XPoint, combines the functions of two types of memory to create a data bank that runs 1,000 times faster than most modern computer storage (stock image)
3D XPoint – pronounced ‘three-dee cross-point’ – was officially released this week, and was built and designed with hardware maker Micron.
The technology is a computer ‘building block’ that acts like a Swiss army knife – it can handle several functions, replacing the need for separate components.
‘This is truly transformational,’ Intel CEO Brian Krzanich told Wired.
‘It allows architects – both at the PC level and the data centre level – to rethink how they build the system.’
Mr Krzanich claims that this technology could revolutionise gaming machines and personal computers.
But huge data centres owned by the internet’s biggest companies such as Facebook, Google and Amazon stand to gain the most.
These companies are constantly in need of faster and cheaper ways to store vast reams of data as their user-base grows.
Computers traditionally store data in two ways.
The first is through hard drives, which can store large volumes of data for long periods, even when the computer is switched on and off.
The second way is through separate memory systems called DRAM, which computers use to store short-term data that they need immediately.
DRAM is a faster form of memory but is more expensive and holds less data than hard drives can.
3D XPoint can replace both of these pieces, according to Intel.
Intel says that 3D XPoint is 1,000 times faster than any hard drive and can store 10 times more data than DRAM.
And Mr Krzanich said that Intel is already working with ‘almost all of the big cloud service providers’ to help them rewrite operating systems and other software to accommodate the new technology.