The dark satanic rumour mill has churned out a yarn which suggest that Intel will start mass producing new 3D NAND flash products in 2017. It will have special flavours for the datacenter, professional, consumer and embedded markets.
This will cause a major headache for Samsung, SK Hynix, Toshiba and all those Chinese players who thought that they would be able to make a bob or two from the technology.
While Intel could conceivably stuff it up, its arrival in the market might send Samsung executives heading for their drinks cabinet to pour themselves a stiff one.
Intel will start with expanding its PCI Express-based solid state drive (SSD) product line, following the releases of its DC D3700 and D3600-series NVMe SSDs in 2016. Then it will add a top-end series with a lot more storage space in the third quarter of 2017, featuring a 2.5-inch size, U.2 interface and storage options of 2TB, 4TB and 8TB.
For February and March 2017, Intel's DC P4500/P4600/P4600 LP/P4500 LP will enter mass production with an end-of-life-cycle is set for the first quarter of 2019.
Intel will add DC S4600/S4500-series and the entry-level DC S3110-series to its SATA-based SSD product line in the second quarter.
For the professional market, Intel will launch PCIe/NVMe-based Pro 7600P and SATA-based Pro 5450s in the fourth quarter. For the consumer market, following the release of the 600p in September 2016, the CPU giant will release a BGA-version 600p and SATA-based 545s in the third quarter of 2017.
For the embedded market, Intel has prepared the 5430S-series for April 2017 and an M.2 form factor-based version of the 5430S for July 2017. In the third quarter, Intel will release the 20nm MLC-based E 6500p, and existing E 5400s/5410-series will both enter EOL in the first quarter of 2018, while the E 6000p will stop supply in the third quarter of 2018.
Along with 3D NAND flash, Intel will be pushing its Optane SSD using 3D XPoint technology. Already, engineering samples have been sent out. It is expected to see them entering mass production in the second quarter of 2017. These SSDs will be ear marked for high-end servers and PC products.
Intel has not made money from its SSD business yet. Analysts however expect this to change next year when 3D XPoint memory arrives in 2017.