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Intel XPoint over-selling criticism surges as Chipzilla hits back

'We stand by our figures' says defiant company mouthpiece

You might have noticed that El Reg has suggested Intel and Micron’s non-volatile XPoint memory claims are a tad overblown – for example here and here. Now Charlie Demerjian is giving Intel a good kicking in SemiAccurate, alleging the original claims were inaccurate and that “Intel’s Xpoint is pretty much broken”.

For example, his text says that the original promises stated XPoint would be “1000x faster than NAND, 1000x the endurance of NAND, and 10x denser than conventional memory.”

What’s now clear to him, he says, is that after IDF2015 and IDF2016 “the claimed 1000x faster is now ummm, 10x faster, a mere 100x difference.” As he quips: "What is two orders of magnitude between friends? “

As for the original 100x endurance advantage, Intel is now saying 3x, a 33.33x reduction. Concerning density he writes: “They claimed 10x the density of DRAM, it is now 4x or a 2.5x decrease.”

Demerjian adds: “Wait until you hear what they are telling people behind closed doors. SemiAccurate has talked to multiple sources over the past few months, all of which heard the same story from Intel. And yes it gets worse.”

Of course, Demerjian is looking for subscriptions and further analysis is only available to subscribers at $1,000/year. Screeching about how Moby XPoint, the great white non-volatile memory whale, is broken and sticking one of his harpoons into it is a good way to get a few more of them.

Intel viewpoint

An Intel spokesperson said: "Intel is fully committed to bringing Intel Optane technology products to market, and those products continue to move through the development process towards availability later this year and in early 2017. Intel Optane products are healthy and on track to unleash vast system performance potential in a range of products, with Intel SSDs first to come to market.

"Intel Optane technology is a new class of memory that is a unique combination of Intel’s advanced system memory controller, interface hardware and software IP with 3D XPoint memory media.

"We stand by the performance figures we have shared publicly to date for both Intel Optane SSDs, pre-production and prototype versions, as well as 3D XPoint memory media. System level performance is determined by the full collection of components, with media being only one of these components. We are seeing great improvements over NAND-based SSDs – up to 10x throughput and 4x latency reductions – in prototype SSD hardware. Intel Optane technology-based SSDs will be Intel’s highest performance and endurance SSDs when they come to market. We will disclose final product performance and specifications at the products’ launch in coming months.”

El Reg notes this sentence in particular: "System level performance is determined by the full collection of components, with media being only one of these components."

We might say that the original XPoint claims referred to raw media comparisons and not system-level performance, a point not made clear in the original XPoint performance, density and endurance claims. ®

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