Coming in 2016: Intel Optane SSDs based on 3D Xpoint memory

IDF — During the opening keynote of the Intel Developer Forum today, Intel announced that it will be shipping SSDs based on its very promising 3D Xpoint memory, co-developed with Micron, which is a replacement for NAND flash. Intel has claimed that 3D Xpoint has 1000x the speed and endurance of existing flash storage.

One question about 3D Xpoint has been when it would reach consumers in products—and in what form. Intel answered that question today when CEO Brian Krzanich announced a new brand for 3D Xpoint-based storage products: Optane. The Optane brand will describe products based on a combination of 3D Xpoint memory, storage controllers, and a software stack from Intel.

Here's the exciting bit: Optane SSDs are coming next year to a variety of markets, from the data center to laptops. That presumably includes form factors like M.2 and perhaps 2.5" SATA drives. In other words, the performance of 3D Xpoint memory should be coming to consumer storage in 2016.

To illustrate the performance benefits of Optane drives, the firm showed off a demo of an Optane SSD running IOMeter next to one of the fastest PCIe SSDs currently available, Intel's DC P3700. The Optane outperformed the P3700 by factors of roughly five to seven, depending on the queue depth of the workload under test.

We don't yet know how much Optane-based drives will cost or anything of that sort, but given the density advantages Intel is claiming for it, it's possible 3D Xpoint storage could reach parity with the cost of NAND fairly soon.

Interestingly, Krzanich introduced Optane by first talking about the need for computer architectures to change from their current, familiar hierarchical setup in order to take advantage of faster memory technologies. He later noted briefly that Optane-branded products will include a series of DIMMs for Xeon server systems based on 3D Xpoint memory. We don't yet have any details about those DIMMs and how exactly they will operate, but I expect they'll be sold for specific applications like "big data" analysis, at least to start.

Comments closed
    • anotherengineer
    • 5 years ago

    ” but given the density advantages Intel is claiming for it, it’s possible 3D Xpoint storage could reach parity with the cost of NAND fairly soon.”

    Even if that is true, we all know you’re going to pay through the nose for higher performance & a small Intel tax on top of that.

    • yaboooo
    • 5 years ago

    So, what size IOPS? What about at higher QD?

      • TheJack
      • 5 years ago

      Can I ask you what your native language is? It has something to do with your user name. Thanks.

    • Peter.Parker
    • 5 years ago

    Optane or not, can I still use its edge to spread the thermal paste on my CPU?

    • Gyromancer
    • 5 years ago

    Hi, I’m President Business… president of the Optane Corporation and the world. Let’s take extra care to follow the instructions, or you’ll be put to sleep.

      • chuckula
      • 5 years ago

      Do you know when the old man will be [i<]Optaning[/i<] one of these things for some benchmarks?

        • Gyromancer
        • 5 years ago

        If I did and I told you, you’d have to be “put to sleep”. 😉

    • TheJack
    • 5 years ago

    Clearly this tech is being advertized as superior to NAND. In every manner of speaking. Meaning NAND will soon become history. Let’s hope the competitors have some aces up their sleeves, otherwise we’ll be at the mercy of Intel once again.
    One question: How about data retention? Are these drives suitable for archiving purposes?

    • ronch
    • 5 years ago

    Will these come inside Radeon-branded SSDs? 🙂

    • ronch
    • 5 years ago

    Well, maybe if my Samsung 840 EVO which I bought in Dec. of 2013 would just last long enough until these wonder thingies drop down in price…

    • ronch
    • 5 years ago

    Licensees, please line up. No jumping the queue please.

    • WhatMeWorry
    • 5 years ago

    I’m confused. The intro says “Intel has claimed that 3D Xpoint has 1000x the speed and endurance of existing flash storage”, but the photo says 5.42X?

    Am I missing something here?

      • kilkennycat
      • 5 years ago

      Trivial, Dr. Watson….

      5.42 Speed x 184.5 Endurance = 1000…………… 🙂 🙂

        • WhatMeWorry
        • 5 years ago

        Thank you Mr. Holmes. May I have some of that opium you’re taking.

      • Waco
      • 5 years ago

      “Speed” in this case being absolute latency of XPoint vs NAND I believe. There’s probably a bit of marketing BS in there about being able to do single-byte writes as well.

      • chuckula
      • 5 years ago

      Yes, the 1000X is talking about the fundamental storage technology at the lowest level, while the “5.42X” is talking about real-world performance of a full-bore storage device in a real-world test scenario.

      For example… saturate the PCIe bus with that 5.42 factor speedup? The rest of the ‘1000x’ performance doesn’t matter. It also doesn’t take into account the parallelism and RAM caches that are used on existing SSDs to mask some of the slowness of the underlying flash.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 5 years ago

    Oh, I get it. IOPS are your emphasis, Octane goes with things that are really fast, so… Optane… … …

    …no. It’s a horrible name. Intel. Can’t you do better? I mean, seriously? You’re like one of the richest tech companies and you don’t have a team of full time namers of things to come up with better branding?

    I’m deeply disappointed. Not Skylake disappointed. I’m Pentium IV disappointed with you. I’m sorry I had to bring out the big guns, but this is tough love.

      • Northtag
      • 5 years ago

      Don’t be too hard on them: when the first Athlons came out, people thought the name sounded like a kind of foot powder. But not so much now.

        • 5150
        • 5 years ago

        Let’s not forget the classic, “Sempr0n”.

      • chuckula
      • 5 years ago

      Nah, this is just a dumb name, not an atrocious name.

      Atrocious would be if they called it Optanium.

        • TheJack
        • 5 years ago

        How would you call it?

          • Mr Bill
          • 5 years ago

          Unoptanium

            • TheJack
            • 5 years ago

            +

    • BlackDove
    • 5 years ago

    Im waiting for this and GP100.

    • Chrispy_
    • 5 years ago

    Would that be an OPZ Optane using the latest Sandporce 2000-series pontrollers?

    • Nevermind
    • 5 years ago

    Optane? That’s horrible. What’s next, Broctune?

    [url<]http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x9yn49_mr-belvedere_shortfilms[/url<]

      • Nevermind
      • 5 years ago

      Geesh, tough crowd of marketing goons.

        • BIF
        • 5 years ago

        It just sounds like they’re running out of ideas. Car companies did. I mean, “Bravada”, seriously? Optane deserves every bit of derision it gets.

          • smilingcrow
          • 5 years ago

          This SSD has a high Optane rating for the enthusiast driver.

        • BlackDove
        • 5 years ago

        Ikr who gives a fuck what they call it? The technology is amazing.

      • uni-mitation
      • 5 years ago

      ^+1

      • Wirko
      • 5 years ago

      Rhymes with Opteron.

        • Nevermind
        • 5 years ago

        You are not a rapper.

      • Mr Bill
      • 5 years ago

      Optane lies near
      the river Willamette
      in Elysium fields
      forever Unobtanium
      by Phenom or Opteron

    • uni-mitation
    • 5 years ago

    Great! Let the beta testers buy the products so they can work any kinks. Let’s see if the hype is deserved. Until then, I will greet every new promising technology and their claims with the proportionate level of skepticism.

      • jihadjoe
      • 5 years ago

      I understand your skepticism, but then again this is Intel we’re talking about. They have a pretty solid track record for execution. The last batch of people who “beta-tested” their storage tech got some of the world’s first SSDs in the X-25M/E and those were pretty sweet!

        • uni-mitation
        • 5 years ago

        A very good point. I was talking more in general with all technology in general and with everything else that you might hear.

        • travbrad
        • 5 years ago

        I’m more skeptical about whether it will actually make any difference for the average consumer. SSDs that are faster in IOmeter don’t usually translate into meaningful performance gains in typical consumer workloads.

    • ForceEdge
    • 5 years ago

    So much for my ssd 750, i guess :/

    /s ? 😛

      • BuckRogers
      • 5 years ago

      That is correct. I was going in on a 750 400GB for my new build, but no longer.
      Since Skylake was revealed today to be a monster for laptops, but Just Good on desktops I’m going with the following in 3Q16-

      AMD Zen (affordable 8C/16’HT’) + 16nm GCN or Pascal (whoever does best in VR, probably the LiquidVR card) + Optane SSD + ultrawide LCD + SteamVR.

        • UberGerbil
        • 5 years ago

        [url<]http://i.imgur.com/9ooK4NT.jpg[/url<]

    • chuckula
    • 5 years ago

    That was the one really interesting news item in an otherwise boring and vague keynote*.

    * The robots were cool but they barely even mentioned the existence of skylake.

      • Shambles
      • 5 years ago

      [quote<]The robots were cool but they barely even mentioned the existence of skylake.[/quote<] Probably because no one else has been mentioning Skylake either.

      • smilingcrow
      • 5 years ago

      Robots aren’t supposed to talk in public about any tech that begins with the word Sky and especially so close to a Terminator movie release.

      • Ninjitsu
      • 5 years ago

      Wasn’t the robot that brought the drink to the CEO running on a Skylake i7?

        • chuckula
        • 5 years ago

        Well no wonder it didn’t move very nicely.
        You really want to run on wheels or maybe treads.

        [Slightly more seriously, a couple of demos did use Skylake parts but it was more about OOH REALSENSE or OOH THAT AUDIO PROCESSING THING FOR CORTANA.]

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This