Components & Peripherals News

Intel’s $9B NAND SSD, Memory Sale To SK Hynix: 6 Big Things To Know

Dylan Martin

CRN dives deep into the details of Intel’s NAND SSD divestiture, how it will help SK Hynix, which Intel products it will impact and what it means for Intel’s Optane business.

Which Intel Products Are Impacted And What Happens To Intel Optane

While the deal clearly signals that Intel is getting out of the NAND SSD business, the joint announcement noted that the semiconductor giant will retain its Optane products and technology.

In a Tuesday filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Intel said it will begin presenting non-GAAP financial information that excludes the results of its NAND businesses in the first quarter of 2021. At the same time, it will roll the results of its Optane products into the Data Center group.

The distinction between Intel’s NAND SSD products and its Optane products is important because the former group of products is made with NAND technology that Intel is selling to SK Hynix and the latter group is made with 3D XPoint technology that Intel is keeping.

Intel’s latest NAND SSD products include the Intel SSD D7-P5500 and Intel SSD D7-P5600 Series for data centers. Unveiled alongside Intel’s new Cooper Lake server processors, the new PCIe 4.0 SSDs are built with Intel’s 96-layer triple-layer cell (TLC) 3D NAND technology, which the company said would optimize performance and capacity for all-TLC arrays.

At Intel Architecture Day, the company revealed that it was on track to begin production on 144-layer quad-layer cell (QLC) 3D NAND technology by the end of the year, which Intel executive Raja Koduri said was ahead of the industry target of 128 layers and would have big implications for the storage market.

“Our four-bit-per-cell QLC technology helps us change the economics of storage and will help us fill the cost-performance gap within storage, allowing for SSDs to continue to displace HDD for high capacity needs,” he said in the presentation. “Our 3D NAND journey has been remarkable. This technology has an incredible future as a storage technology.”

Intel’s current stable of NAND SSD products includes Intel SSD 7 Series on the client side and the Intel SSD D7 Series for the data center.

With Intel planning to retain the Intel Optane business, that means the company keep and continue to sell its Intel Optane Persistent Memory modules for the data center and the Intel Optane Memory M10 Series for client computers. This also means Intel will likely also keep its Optane SSD products for the data center and client markets since they are also based on 3D XPoint and not NAND.

One question is what this means for the future of products that combine Intel Optane and Intel NAND storage technologies, like the Intel Optane Memory H10 with Solid State Drive, as Intel has yet to respond to a request for comment on how the NAND deal will impact certain products.

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