Supercomputers and Personal computers operating worldwide can get a major speed boost next year, when Intel plans to unveil its new Optane hard drive-based on a new way of storing digital data that can operate 1000 times faster than what flash memory propelled appliances can do currently.
Intel showed a glimpse of its Optane hard drive at the Intel’s Annual Developer conference in San Francisco this week and it was almost seven times faster than what all-flash enriched appliances are offering today on performance scale.
However, Intel assured that it’s Optane hard drives releasing in mid 2016 can show a lot better performance from what the prototype has shown at the conference this week.
The sluggish speed of data storage compared to the pace at which today’s generation processors can work on data has become a significant bottleneck on the capabilities of computers.
Several large computing and chip companies Like Western Digital, Samsung, Seagate have invested heavily in promising new data storage technologies, but none have come up with the best till date when it comes to hard disk drives.
But Intel promises that its Optane drives are based on the technology called 3D Xpoint and can be different. Intel is developing these drives in collaboration with flash maker Micron.
The flash memory chips that are the fastest way to store data today use a grid of clumps of electrons trapped on silicon to represent the 0s and 1s of digital data.
A 3D Xpoint chip instead has a grid formed from metal wires layered over one another; data is stored by using electricity to change the arrangement of atoms inside material trapped at each junction of the grid.
And just like flash, 3D Xpoint chips hold onto data even when powered down. They can’t currently store data as densely, but Intel says the Xpoint grids can be stacked vertically, providing a route to storing more data on one chip.
More details are awaited on Intel’s 3D Xpoint. But the design displayed at the conference gives us a feeling that it is mimicking the concept HP devices called Memristors to create faster data storage.