Intel, Micron update phase-change memory agreement

March 17, 2020 //By Peter Clarke
Intel, Micron update phase-change memory agreement
Intel and Micron have renegotiated their 3D Xpoint non-volatile memory manufacturing agreement, although one analyst has speculated it is a loss-making proposition for both companies at present.

Both Intel and Micron are producing solid-state drives (SSDs) based on 3D XPoint chips, chips that are believed to be an embodiment of chalcogenide phase-change memory technology.

Disclosure of the update was made by way of filing to the Securities & Exchange Commission by Micron on March 12.

The two companies announced in July 2018 that would work independently after completing development of a second generation of 3D XPoint (see Intel, Micron end collaboration on 3D XPoint NVM). That development was meant to conclude in 2019.

Having ended both its NAND flash and 3D XPoint partnerships with Micron Intel sold its stake in the Intel-Micron Flash Technology wafer fab in Lehi, Utah, to Micron. But Intel has yet to start its own production of 3D XPoint chips and so had a product supply agreement with Micron with pre-agreed prices.

Intel's reluctance to turn on its own non-volatile memory production is likely to be the main reason for continued engagement between Intel and Micron but that is also related to the cost of producing 3D-Xpoint chips.

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