Intel Launches 375GB Optane SSD With 3D XPoint
Samuel Wan / 6 months ago
After nearly 2 years of waiting, Intel’s 3D XPoint memory products are finally arriving on the market. After being leaked last month, the company has finally unveiled their new Intel Optane SSD DC P4800X. As you might all already know, 3D XPoint memory sits in between NAND and DRAM, offering most of the benefits of both but with fewer weaknesses than the two.
The DC P4800X has a capacity of 375 GB and comes in PCIe add-in card form factor. Later in Q2, we will see a 750 GB PCIe card and the 375 GB model come in U.2. Later in the year, we will get the 1.5 TB model as well U.2 models for all the capacities. Intel is claiming sequential transfer rates of 2400MB/s read and 2000MB/s write but the real progress over NAND comes in its endurance and ability to sustain these transfer rates with 550,000 read IOPS and 500,000 write IOPS.
Compared to NAND, 3D XPoint is several orders of magnitude faster and more durable and 10x more dense than DRAM. This allows it to sustain its speeds even under demanding and random workloads over time. It’s also allowing the P4800X to serve as a DRAM replacement for certain enterprise configurations with Xeon CPUs. With the extra Memory Drive Technology add-on, 3D XPoint can become byte addressable and behave just like DRAM, albeit a bit slower and with less bandwidth.
With the ability to switch modes between NAND SSD and DRAM RAM, 3D XPoint opens up a large number of possibilities. We may see devices being able to swap from a consumer storage oriented mode to a performance content creator mode with a simple reboot, allocating system resource to optimize for the task at hand. Despite these interesting scenarios, don’t expect 3D XPoint in consumer devices anytime soon, the 375 GB costs a hefty $1520 and the Memory Drive Technology bundles goes to $1951. When a good enough 512 GB NAND SSD costs about 10x less, it’s hard for the average consumer to justify spending the extra cash.