The source of the rumour is Forbes which points out that while Intel continues to ship Optane products to its enterprise customers, the company has made no new announcements or talked about Optane during its investor calls for several quarters.
The current Optane SSD products are based upon the PCIe Gen 4 products and Gen 5 systems are expected to start showing up by 2023. Other companies have been making announcements of PCIe Gen5 products in anticipation of this faster computer bus.
The reason for spiking Optane is Intel CEO [kicking] Pat Gelsinger’s general distaste about memory products.
In December 2021 Intel announced that it was selling its SSD and NAND business to SK hynix (SK hynix acquired the bulk of this business as well as the Intel’s NAND fab in Dalian, China Intel holding a small stack until 2025).
On February 24 Gelsinger said, “I never want to be in memory, you see I’m doing everything I can to exit our memory business in that regard.”
Gelsinger pointed out that although the last memory surplus was about 3.5 years ago the last logic surplus was over 10 years ago, pointing out that there is an insatiable demand for computing and high performance.
He is not the only one in Intel who does not like memory products much. Andy Grove did his best to get Intel out of the DRAM business in 1985.
The rumour claims that Intel will sell its remaining stock of current Optane products but not create new products for CXL and PCIe Gen 5 products. CXL, although developed partially to support the use of non-volatile memories such as Optane, will become a major driver of computer architecture changes this year, but probably focusing on DRAM pooling rather than a mix of DRAM and Optane memory. Optane memory has been the flagship driving a major increase in standalone non-volatile memory. Intel’s exit from this product leaves a hole that other memories may have a hard time filling.