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What Is Intel’s Plan for Its Memory Business?


Nov. 23 2015, Updated 8:10 a.m. ET

Intel expands in memory space

In the previous part of this series, we saw Intel’s (INTC) strategy for growth in the data center space. The company is also looking to grow its supporting products such as flash memory in order to boost its revenue. Intel’s memory business posted 20% YoY (year-over-year) growth in revenue in fiscal 3Q15. Let’s see how Intel’s NAND (negative AND) business complements its data center business and drives growth.

Intel manufactures NAND and 3D NAND. NAND is a flash storage technology used in SSDs (solid-state drives), laptops, data centers, mobile units, and tablets. Intel’s NAND products are compatible with its x86 platform, giving it an edge over other NAND competitors such as Samsung (SSNLF).

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Expanding memory business

Intel, in partnership with Micron Technology (MU), manufactures 3D NAND. The company has huge unutilized wafer fabrication capacity (or fab) and is looking to divert some of it into the production of NAND.

Recently, the company announced plans to invest $3.5 billion over the next three to five years on converting its Dalian fab in China (FXI) to make 3D NAND. The fab is expected to start production in the second half of 2016.

Intel’s 3D NAND is used to build SSDs, which can either be used as persistent memory or attached to a server. These SSDs complement Intel’s core computing business and are in sync with its strategy to provide an infrastructure that powers the smart and connected world.

Intel will also leverage Altera’s (ALTR) FPGA (field-programmable gate arrays) based storage reference design to build NAND chips. According to the company’s press release, the new design includes Arria 10 SoCs (system on chip) and can double the life of NAND chips.

3D XPoint

In 2015, Intel and Micron jointly developed a breakthrough memory product called 3D XPoint that is believed to revolutionize the memory space. The new technology is faster than NAND and has higher endurance than DRAM (dynamic random-access memory). Intel is optimistic that this technology will drive its revenues.

In the next part of the series, we’ll look at the company’s strategy in the Internet of Things space.


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