Intel released its Optane solid state drive in January, but the memory capacity was limited to just 32 GB. However, it has now unveiled Optane SSDs that have a much higher memory capacity.

The chipmaker took the wraps off the Optane SSD DC P4800X series, as well as the Optane SSD DC P4800X series with Intel Memory Drive technology, on March 19. The company dubs them the most responsive SSDs for data centers.

"Deployed as blazing fast storage or caching tier, Intel Optane SSD DC P4800X breaks the confines of traditional storage to significantly increase scale per server and accelerate applications. When deployed as extended memory, this drive expands the system memory pool, creating bigger, more cost-effective memory to gain higher quality insights," shared the company.

New Optane SSD Series

The first variant of the highly anticipated SSD series is the DC P4800X, which has 375 GB of storage capacity. It will retail for $1,520 from March 19, but has limited availability. The second half of the year will see the SSD become available widely.

A 750 GB PCI-Express or PCI-E model is anticipated to make its way to enterprise users by Q2 2017. Based on reports, Q2 will also see the arrival of a 375 GB model, which has the U.2 form factor. Moreover, a 1.5 TB PCI-E card — along with 750 GB and 1.5 TB U.2 sticks — will hit the market in Q2 2017.

Due to the Optane SSD's compatibility with the PCI-E or NVMe and U.2 slots, these drives are expected to run on some of AMD's 32 core Naples processors.


Intel will supposedly also ship DRAM modules along with the SSD from 2018. However, the company has shied away from revealing when exactly these modules would hit the shelves.

The Optane series has been touted as the superfast replacement to the older generation of SSDs. Intel has previously stated that these drives would be nearly eight times faster than the ordinary SSDs available in the market.

Intel, along with Micron, has developed a new technology dubbed 3D Xpoint. This technology has been housed in the Optane line of products. The technology stores data by using the resistance of cells.

The P4800X features low latency and possesses sequential transfer capabilities of 2,400 MBps for reading and 2,000 MBps for writing. Thanks to the low latencies, the P4800X is able to withstand high input and output loads.

P4800X vs. P3700

The P3700 was the fastest flash drive, in the context of random reading and writing data, from Intel prior to the arrival of the Optane series. Therefore, the P4800X was pitted against the three-year old SSD by Intel in a benchmark test.

It was observed that in sequential tasks, the older-gen SSD performed better than the P4800X. However, when the data was recorded from a standard 4K block, it was revealed that the Optane was five to eight times faster than the P3700.

Due to these test results, critics have commented that while the Optane technology shows promise, it lacks the polish found in present flash SSDs.

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