Back to the news

After the 3D XPoint take-off, emerging NVM keeps growing

Extracted from Emerging Non-Volatile Memory, Yole Développement, 2020


  • PCM -based persistent memory hit the market in 2019. And embedded STT-MRAM has finally moved into mass production.
  • The overall emerging NVM market is poised to reach over US$6 billion in 2025. The embedded business will account for 1/3 of it.
  • Foundries and IDMs are accelerating the adoption of embedded emerging NVMs at advanced technology nodes.
  • Rise of in-memory computing is triggering new players’ dynamics.

“The stand-alone emerging NVM market will grow to over US$4 billion in 2025”,explains Simone Bertolazzi, PhD. Technology & Market Analyst at Yole Développement (Yole).“It will be driven by two key segments: low-latency storage (enterprise and client drives) and persistent memory (NVDIMMs).”
The embedded emerging NVM entered the takeoff phase. The embedded market segment is showing a 118% CAGR between 2019 and 2025, reaching more than US$2 billion by 2025.

In this dynamic context, the market research and strategy consulting company Yole, releases its annual memory report, Emerging Non-Volatile Memory. The 2020 edition presents an overview of the semiconductor memory market with stand-alone (1) and embedded memories (2). Yole’s memory team proposes today a deep understanding of emerging NVM applications with related market drivers, challenges, technology roadmap, players, and main trends. This report also offers detailed 2019-2025 market forecasts. In addition, the Emerging Non-Volatile Memory report describes the emerging NVM technologies with their working principle, manufacturing methods, advantages/limitations, development status, price, time-to-market and latest product development status for each key market player. The competitive landscape is also well analyzed in this new report, with updated information on recent acquisitions and funding…

What is the status of the newly emerging applications: stand-alone code/data storage and embedded NVM for analog ICs ? What is the market size of SCM market segment and its expected evolution? How will the PCM sector evolve? Could we think about multiple scenarios? What are the market positioning of the Chinese memory companies... Yole’s analysts invite you to deeply dive into your memory to get a deep understanding of this emerging industry.

Yole investigates the memory market for a while and delivers today numerous technology and market analyses. As part of its memory collection available on i-Micronews, the Memory Market Monitors, DRAM and NAND are the most recent and example of the significant commitment of Yole’s team in this industry. Analysts are daily discussing with leading memory companies to evaluate the market evolution and measure key market figures and all data are combined in a powerful database, the Memory Market Monitors. In addition, all year long, Yole’s analysts mixed their technology and market expertise to deliver relevant memory analyses, the technology & market reports.

The Emerging Non-Volatile Memory report is part of them and offers a detailed overview of this industry. As part of the stand-alone memory market segment, PCM will be the leading technology thanks to the sales of 3DXPoint products – particularly NVDIMMs – which are sold by Intel in a bundle with its server CPUs.

In 2019, Everspin entered pilot production of 1Gb STT-MRAM parts at GlobalFoundries (28nm). In the coming years, STT-MRAM market penetration will continue through the adoption of 1Gb chips in special drives.
“If successfully executed, this will promote sales/ volume growth and motivate foundries to continue supporting the MRAM business through the development/manufacturing of high-density parts (≥ 4Gb),” comments Simone Bertolazzi from Yole.

So far, RRAM has been commercialized mainly by Adesto with low-density CBRAMTM products for EEPROM replacement. The highest RRAM density today is only 8Mb (Fujitsu-Panasonic), but swift progress is expected: new 100Gb-class chips for low-latency storage products by an IDM player are anticipated for 2020/2021.
In parallel, the embedded emerging memory market segment will be driven by MCUs and IoTs , as well as memory buffers for ASIC products (i.e. AI accelerators, display drivers, and CMOS image sensors).
“At Yole, we expect embedded MRAM will lead the embedded emerging NVM market in the next five years,” details Simone. “However, PCM and RRAM are not out of the race: due to their unique memristive properties (synapse-like), both are promising for analog in memory- computing applications that could take off by 2023.”

The last three years have witnessed the takeoff and rapid expansion of the storage-class memory market. According to Yole’s report, this memory market is projected to reach billion-dollar revenue within the next few years. Key to this was clearly the introduction of 3D XPoint, a stand-alone PCM-based technology developed by Micron and Intel and commercialized by Intel since 2017 with the brand name Optane™.

In early 2019, Intel started commercializing Optane™ Persistent Memory together with the latest generation of Xeon scalable processors (i.e. Cascade Lake).

A number of leading companies have been exploring the use of persistent memory for a host of datacenter applications. According to Intel, there are currently more than 200 ongoing proofof- concepts based on Optane™ DIMMs, and the conversion rate from proof-of-concept to deployment has already exceeded 80%.

In late 2019, Micron revealed its own 3D XPoint-based SSD named X100, and other IDM players could enter the SCM market in the coming years. However, Intel has a significant advantage in the persistent-memory business as it is the only player capable of providing a complete solution for data-intensive applications via combinations of Cascade Lake CPUs and Optane™.

Intel’s competitors face delays as they need to work on alternative architectures that leverage new interconnects and protocols that are currently being developed.

Among the embedded emerging NVM technologies, MRAM has advanced at a relatively faster pace thanks to the strong involvement of IDM/foundries and the support of equipment suppliers which have been providing new solutions to difficult technical challenges. Notably, in March 2019 Samsung announced the mass production of embedded MRAM for applications in MCUs, Internet-of-Things (IoT) applications, and memory buffers…

An in-depth overview of the growing persistent memory business, its competitive landscape, product roadmaps and players’ dynamics is provided in the Emerging NVM report from Yole.

Will the emerging NVM market continue to soar in 2020 and beyond? – Webcast powered by Yole Développement on Feb. 27 at 5.00 PM – Register today!

After the take-off of 3D XPoint, the emerging NVM market will keep growing, fueled by both stand-alone and embedded applications. – Speaker: Simone Bertolazzi, PhD, Technology & Market Analyst, Memory

(1) Including NAND, DRAM, NOR etc.
(2) Including eFlash, SRAM

IC : Integrated Circuit
SCM : Storage Class Memory
DRAM: Dynamic Random Access Memory
NAND : Flash memory with logical NAND-type structure
NVDIMM: Non-Volatile Direct Input Memory Module
CPU : Central Processing Unit
MCU : Micro Controller Unit
IoT : Internet of Things
ASIC : Application Specific Integrated Circuit