Intel shrinks Optane 905P SSDs into the M.2 form factor

Intel spent most of its stage time at Computex promising limited-edition-mainstream and high-end chips that would cross the arbitrary 5-GHz border before the end of the year. The company's latest addition to its 3D XPoint Optane 905P family has a more concrete release date, though. The new 380-GB Optane 905P SSD is less capacious than its forebears, but it fits into the compact M.2 form factor.

Optane 905P shoppers can currently choose between a 2.5", 480-GB model with a U.2 interface or a larger, more capacious 960 GB model that slides into a PCIe 3.0 x4 slot. The new 380-GB addition gives up 100 GB of capacity compared to the U.2 version in order to fit into an M.2 slot. Intel didn't say which M.2 form factor the new 905P uses, but Tom's Hardware says the new drive needs a king-size M.2-22110 slot rather than the common M.2-2280 slot found on the lion's share of motherboards. This requirement precludes the use of the M.2 slot in most laptops and many motherboards, though the power consumption of the drive alone might preclude mobile use anyway.

Intel didn't provide power figures for the new 380 GB model, but the 480-GB unit uses 3.3 W at idle and 12.8 W when active. The larger 960-GB PCIe card draws 6 W at idle and 16.4 W when cranking away. We'd imagine the M.2 version will use less power than the 480 GB drive, but it'll likely need more juice than the vast majority of SSDs. Even high-end NVMe drives still can't provide the low-queue-depth performance or the endurance specs of the current Optane 905P models, so as always, buyers need to choose their priorities.

The blue silicon giant didn't make any specific promises about the performance, pricing, or availability of the M.2 380 GB version of the Optane 905P SSD. We'd expect the drive to be a bit less expensive and maybe slower than the 480 GB model. For the record, that version sells for about $620.

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