On July 28, Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU) and Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) unveiled production plans for a new, non-volatile memory chip that will revolutionize the way computers access large amounts of data. 3D XPoint technology, pronounced “three-dee cross point technology,” is the first new main stream memory chip to come to market in 25 years. This news has excited Wall Street as the companies have finally introduced a chip that addresses the primary weakness of conventional memory chips; DDR and NAND flash.
Intel senior VP, Rob Crooke, views XPoint as a new class of memory because it’s “a lot faster and [of] a lot higher endurance.” Specifically, the technology is up to 1,000 times faster, has up to 1,000 times greater endurance than NAND, and is 10 times denser than conservative memory.
3D XPoint technology combines the performance, density, power, non-volatility and cost advantages of all available memory technologies on the market today. Crook states, “For decades, the industry has searched for ways to reduce the lag time between the processor and data to allow much faster analysis.” XPoint “achieves this goal and brings game-changing performance to memory and storage solutions.”
Micron’s President, Mark Adams, commented, “One of the most significant hurdles in modern computing is the time it takes the processor to reach data on long-term storage.” He continues, “This new class of non-volatile memory is a revolutionary technology that allows for quick access to enormous data sets and enables entirely new applications.”
It should also be noted that the performance benefits of 3D XPoint technology could also enhance the PC experience. Essentially, it would allow consumers to enjoy faster interactive social media and collaboration as well as more immersive gaming experiences. Intel and Micron explain that XPoint is a great choice for a variety of low-latency storage applications since data is not erased when the device is powered off.
3D XPoint technology is now in production and will be sampled later this year to potential customers. Intel and Micron also told investors that they are developing individual products based on the technology that are forecast to be available sometime next year.
In the July 28 trading session, Micron shares gained over 10% to $19.98, while Intel gained 2.4% to just over $29 per share. Additionally, Micron has underperformed the overall market in 2015, down nearly 43% from its December 31 close of $35.01. Nevertheless, at least one analyst was prompted to recommend Micron’s shares.
In light of the announcement, Drexel Hamilton analyst Richard Whittington upgraded his rating to Buy from Hold and raised his price target from $19 to $25, writing that the announcement “places a floor under the MU shares.”
Hamilton calls the new memory chip a “functional cross between NAND and DRAM” and believes it can “materially” increase data center performance in the near-term and eventually replace NAND entirely in the longer-term.
When measured over a one-year horizon and no benchmark, Richard Whittington has an overall success rate of 78% recommending stocks, earning a +19.7% average return per recommendation. The analyst has rated Micron a total of 16 times since September 2012, earning a 75% success rate recommending the stock and a +24.9% average return per Micron recommendation.
Out of 23 analysts polled by TipRanks, 18 analysts are bullish on Micron, 4 are neutral, and 1 is bearish. The average 12-month price target for Micron is $30.09, marking a 52.35% potential upside from where stock is currently trading. On average, the all-analyst consensus for Micron is a Moderate Buy.