from the ecks-point?-ten-point?-cross-point!??! dept.
Intel has announced new 3D XPoint "Optane" solid state drives at two capacities:
The Intel Optane SSD 900P will come to market in two capacity sizes, 280GB and 480GB. The series uses two form factors, 2.5" U.2 and half-height, half-length add-in card (AIC). This will start to get confusing so look closely. The 280GB will have two 2.5" models on launch day. One comes with a standard U.2 cable and the second comes with an M.2 to U.2 adapter cable. The 480GB will not ship in a 2.5" form factor until a later date. It will ship in the add-in card form factor starting today.
Regardless of the form factor or capacity size, all Optane SSD 900P drives deliver up to 2,500 MBps sequential read and 2,000 MBps sequential write performance. This is lower than some of the other high-performance NVMe SSDs shipping today, but we will address that in the next section. The drives also deliver up to 550,000 random read and 500,000 random write IOPS performance. This is class leading performance, but there is more to the story.
3D XPoint memory performance is closer to the speed of DRAM than NAND used in SSDs. SSD marketing numbers show maximum performance that comes only at high queue depths. Most of us rarely surpass queue depth 4 and the faster the storage, the less likely you are to even build data requests. This memory addresses the problem with performance at usable workloads.
In the chart [here] we have the three fastest Intel consumer storage products from different market segments: SATA SSD, NVMe SSD, and Optane NVMe SSD. We've also added the new Seagate BarraCuda Pro 12TB, the fastest consumer hard disk drive shipping today.
Pricing is $390 for 280 GB, and $600 for 480 GB. That's $1.25/GB for the larger drive, compared to $2.34/GB for the 32 GB Optane Memory M.2 2280 and the launch price of $4.05/GB for the 375 GB Optane SSD DC P4800X (Reviewed here).
3D XPoint is a non-volatile memory/storage technology.
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Intel has released a 3D XPoint drive. It's not vaporware!
The Intel Optane SSD DC P4800X has a write endurance rating of 30 Drive Writes Per Day, and Intel is hopeful that future products can offer even higher ratings once 3D XPoint memory has more broadly proven its reliability. Today's limited release 375GB models have a three year warranty for a total write endurance rating of 12.3 PB, and once the product line is expanded to broad availability of the full range of capacities in the second half of this year the warranty period will be five years.
Intel is offering the 375GB P4800X in PCIe add-in card form factor with a MSRP of $1520 starting today with a limited early-ship program. In Q2 a 375GB U.2 model will ship, as well as a 750GB add-in card. In the second half of the year the rest of the capacity and form factor options will be available, but prices and exact release dates for those models have not been announced. At just over $4/GB the P4800X seems to fall much closer to DRAM than NAND in price, though to be fair the enterprise SSDs it will compete against are all well over $1/GB and the largest DDR4 DIMMs are around $10/GB.
The product is not as fast at sequential transfers as some SSDs:
The raw specs for the P4800X leaked in February. To summarize: it's a datacenter-oriented part, built for applications with high read/write loads, looking for low latency. The sequential transfer rates of 2400MB/s read, 2000MB/s write, are good, but some of the fastest NAND flash can pull slightly ahead. Where the P4800X excels is its ability to sustain high I/O loads, courtesy of those low latencies.
[...] The P4800X can do 550,000 read IOPS and 500,000 write IOPS, but critically, Intel says it achieves this even at low queue depths. The spec sheet figure has a queue depth of 16, and the company says that a queue depth of about 8 tends to be about the limit seen in the real world. Moreover, Intel says that the latency of each I/O operation remains low even under heavy load. 99.999 percent of operations have a read or write latency below 60 or 100 microseconds (respectively) with a queue depth of 1, rising to 150 or 200 microseconds with a queue depth of 16. Under a comparable load, Intel's own P3700 NAND SSD can only serve 99 percent of operations with a latency below about 2,800 microseconds. Likewise, under sustained write workloads, the P4800X retains its low latency for reads, whereas the read latency of the P3700 NAND steadily deteriorates as the write bandwidth increases.
Intel just announced two new products that bring Optane technology to the consumer desktop. Optane is loosely defined as the company's products built with 3D XPoint technology, a next generation non-volatile memory structure built from the ground up to reduce latency. The new Optane Memory products will ship in two capacities (16GB and 32GB) and give users access to a whole new performance tier--as long as you have the supporting technology in place, mainly a 200-series chipset.
Pricing for Optane Memory M.2 2280 modules start at just $44 (16GB) and peak at $75 (32GB). The operating system recognizes the new products as addressable storage, just like a regular hard disk drive or solid-state drive. Intel told us that support for the drives as cache starts with the latest 200-series chipset products that feature an additional four PCI Express lanes over the older 100-series chipset.
The magic happens when you enable a "modified" version of Smart Response Technology and build a cache array with the Optane Memory standing invisibly in front of an HDD or SSD. The Optane Memory becomes a cache device that accelerates I/O for data retained in its memory structure from previous I/O requests.
Compare with the previous story about a 3D XPoint SSD for the enterprise: First Intel Optane 3D XPoint SSD Released: 375 GB for $1520. Many more of us could find $44-75 to blow on this cache.
Intel plans to release both 3D NAND SSDs and Optane SSDs in the Ruler form factor "in the near future".
Dual Port Intel Optane SSDs and Intel 3D NAND SSDs are designed to replace SAS SSDs and HDDs and, with new storage technologies, deliver more IOPS, more bandwidth and lower latency than SAS SSDs. Dual port Intel SSD DC D4500, D4502 and D4600 Series are due for release in Q3 this year.
Finally Intel is introducing the SSD DC S4500 and S4600 Series for data centres. These combine "a new Intel-developed SATA controller, innovative SATA firmware and the industry's highest density 32-layer 3D NAND". Intel reckons these will be attractive products to those intending to preserve legacy infrastructure.
Also at Techgage.
Intel and Micron will produce more 3D XPoint non-volatile memory/storage:
Intel appears confident in the future of its 3D Xpoint media and the Optane products that incorporate it. The company announced today that it's finished an expansion of the facilities at IM Flash in Lehi, Utah (a joint Intel-Micron Technologies venture) that will allow it to produce more of its high-speed, low-latency non-volatile memory. Given the introduction of the Optane SSD 900P series of drives for consumers and the increasing capacities of Optane data-center SSDs, along with the existing Optane Memory line of storage-caching accelerators, Intel will likely have no problem finding homes for the chips it produces with this additional capacity.
The facility also produces 3D NAND.