SAN FRANCISCO — U.S. chipmakers Intel and Micron Technology have agreed to pull the plug on their 3D XPoint joint development program after completing the second generation of the non-volatile memory in the first half of next year.

The companies said they would continue to develop 3D XPoint technology independently. They said they would continue to manufacture memory based on 3D XPoint technology at the Intel-Micron Flash Technologies (IMFT) facility in Lehi, Utah.

Intel and Micron, longtime collaborators, announced earlier this year that they would also wind down their 3D NAND joint development program after completing development of their third generation of 3D NAND later this year or early next year.

3D XPoint die. Source: Intel
3D XPoint die. Source: Intel

The two companies have been working together to develop 3D XPoint — considered a new class of non-volatile memory — for more than five years. The first-generation of the product was announced in 2015 and later become available in Intel's Optane and Micron's QuantX solid-state drives.

The 3D Xpoint architecture is described as a transistor-less architecture that creates a three-dimensional checkerboard where memory cells sit at the intersection of word lines and bit lines, allowing the cells to be addressed individually. As a result, data can be written and read in small sizes, leading to fast and efficient read/write processes.

"By developing 3D XPoint technology independently, Micron can better optimize the technology for our product roadmap while maximizing the benefits for our customers and shareholders," said Scott DeBoer, Micron's executive vice president of technology development.

— Dylan McGrath is the editor-in-chief of EE Times.