Damn shame. Intel has confirmed that it is shutting down its entire Optane business, with the chip giant revealing that it expects to take a multi-million dollar hit in the process.
Those of you who are unaware of Optane, this was a technology pioneered by Intel to provide a system acceleration solution between the processor and slower storage devices like HDD, SSDH, and SSD. Think of this as a product that functioned as an adjunct to main memory.
The chip maker introduced this new piece of technology in 2015 as 3D XPoint technology.
Its main selling point was that it enabled the computer to store commonly used data and programs closer to the processor. And it was speedy — an Intel Optane memory chip could transfer data at speeds of 1.4GB per second when used solely.
And while it could be used to accelerate any type of SATA based storage media, the performance benefit was notably evident on slower storage devices like traditional hard disks.
But despite its massive potential, Optane never really found its footing in the market.
This is why Intel indicated in a couple of sentences in it Q2 2022 earnings report that it is winding down its Optane memory business. The company will be halting any further development related to this technology, impairment will result in writing off $559 million in inventory.
Worth a mention that Intel has multiple products under the Optane sub-brand, like Optane memory, Optane persistent memory, and Optane SSDs.
And this is not a sudden decision, either.
Intel had been gradually selling its NAND business to SK Hynix, handing over its SSD storage business. But it did hold on to its memory business for data centers, including persistent memory DIMMs, which carved a little market of its own.
Another factor in the shutter of its Optane memory business is Micron, who was the sole fabricator of the 3D XPoint memory. It sold the line, leaving Intel with no production facilities of its own to offer this technology to consumers.