Intel Kills Optane Reminiscence Enterprise Totally, Pays $559 Million to Exit

Replace 08/02/2022 12:30am PT: Intel reached out to make clear that it might carry the next-gen Crow Go Optane reminiscence DIMMs to market and can use its present stock to meet orders. This wasn’t clear from Intel’s earlier assertion as a result of that is technically a future product. Now we have clarified that time within the beneath textual content. 

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Intel’s Q2 2022 earnings report at the moment was uncharacteristically disappointing, however it additionally hid a brand new announcement: Intel is winding down its Optane enterprise completely. Through the earnings name, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger clarified the vaguely worded announcement within the earnings paperwork, confirming that Intel will wind down its Optane enterprise. The transfer incurs a $559 million stock impairment/write-off. We reached out to Intel for touch upon the matter: 

“We proceed to rationalize our portfolio in assist of our IDM 2.0 technique. This consists of evaluating divesting companies which might be both not sufficiently worthwhile or not core to our strategic aims. After cautious consideration, Intel plans to stop future product improvement inside its Optane enterprise. We’re dedicated to supporting Optane prospects by means of the transition.”— Intel’s spokesperson to Tom’s {Hardware}. [See additional commentary below for more clarity]

Gelsinger stated this marks the sixth non-core enterprise Intel has offered since his arrival, together with the current sale of its drone enterprise to Elon Musk’s brother together with the sale of the SSD storage unit to SK hynix, producing $1.5 billion for funding in areas which might be core to Intel’s enterprise. 


(Picture credit score: Intel)

Intel used Optane reminiscence to create each storage and reminiscence merchandise, and it has lengthy been rumored to be on the chopping block. At its debut in 2015, Intel and associate Micron touted the underlying tech, 3D XPoint, as delivering 1000x the efficiency and 1000x the endurance of NAND storage, and 10x the density of DRAM.

Intel had already stopped producing its Optane storage merchandise for shopper PCs, which is smart as it’s initially of a multi-year journey to promote its NAND enterprise to SK hynix. Nevertheless, Intel initially retained its reminiscence enterprise for the information heart, together with its persistent reminiscence DIMMs that may perform as an adjunct to major reminiscence — a functionality solely Intel supplied. Now these merchandise can even not see any future generations after the next-gen Crow Go modules that can arrive with the Sapphire Rapids processors. 

Gelsinger cited an business shift to CXL-based architectures as a cause for winding down the Optane enterprise, mirroring Intel’s ex-partner Micron’s sentiments when it exited the enterprise final yr. Micron was the only real high-volume fabricator of 3D XPoint, the reminiscence Intel makes use of to make Optane, and the corporate later offered its 3D XPoint fab to Texas Devices, leaving Intel with no manufacturing services of its personal.

Industry watchers reported that Intel was serving present Optane prospects from its stock that it amassed from Micron earlier than the fab was closed, however that it wasn’t actively fabricating the reminiscence. Intel reportedly had a number of years of stock available, maybe serving to clarify the magnitude of the $559 million write-off.

Curiously, we noticed the preliminary assessments of Intel’s next-gen DDR5 Optane reminiscence modules, codenamed Crow’s Go, emerge simply final week. These DDR5 modules are deliberate to debut with Intel’s oft-delayed Sapphire Rapids chips later this yr. 

Intel’s David Tuhy, Vice President and Common Supervisor of the Intel Optane Group, reached out to make clear that the corporate will nonetheless carry the Crow Go modules to market and that the corporate will use its present stock to meet orders. Intel can even proceed to promote its different present Optane information heart merchandise and predicts that, based mostly on its present forecasts, it has a number of years’ value of stock. Nevertheless, the corporate is not going to develop any additional generations, as an alternative now taking a $559 stock write-off.