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Most of us aren’t playing games anywhere near a 4K resolution, but this hasn’t stopped Intel and Micron from claiming they’ve made a breakthrough that will enable us to enjoy 8K gaming.
Intel and Micron are two of the biggest companies in the semiconductor space, and today they shared an announcement that they have started production on a new category of computer memory. Called 3D XPoint, this next generation of memory increases speeds upto 1,000-times faster than NAND, which is the memory most commonly used in computers today. Put simply, this tech will enable processors to access huge bulks of information at rates we haven’t seen before.
“For decades, the industry has searched for ways to reduce the lag time between the processor and data to allow much faster analysis,” Intel Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group general manager Rob Crooke said. “This new class of non-volatile memory achieves this goal and brings game-changing performance to memory and storage solutions.”
And when Crooke says “decades,” he means it. NAND memory came on the scene in 1989, and it’s acted as the industry standard since then. But we’re starting to reach a wall with NAND. Improvements on it are bringing back diminishing returns. And memory has started acting as a bottleneck for PC performance.
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“One of the most significant hurdles in modern computing is the time it takes the processor to reach data on long-term storage,” Micron president Mark Adams said in a statement. “This new class of non-volatile memory is a revolutionary technology that allows for quick access to enormous data sets and enables entirely new applications.”
3D XPoint’s uses are immediately obvious. Companies like Google and Facebook will want this kind of tech in their servers to help with machine learning and artificial intelligence. Hospitals and researchers could use it to track diseases in real-time.
Oh, and it’ll make video games really, really pretty. Memory speeds have always dragged down performance on gaming systems — we still see it causing issues on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One when games on those boxes fail to reach 1,080 lines of horizontal resolution at 60 frames per second.
But Intel and Micron claim that 3D XPoint memory will empower PCs capable of spouting out 7,680 lines of horizontal resolution without issue.
I guess it’s time to start pricing 8K monitors.
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