Intel Officially Launches Optane Memory

Posted by at 11:46 am on March 27, 2017

It is around two years ago when Intel and Micron jointly launched 3D XPoint, last week Intel officially launched the P4800X last week, and this week they are officially launching Optane Memory. We have a slide deck we are allowed to some of the things we can look forward to once the new tech starts hitting devices.

Add some XPoint memory on an M.2 form factor device, leverage Intel’s SRT caching tech, and you get a 16GB or 32GB cache laid over your system’s primary HDD.

To explain whatOptane can do for typical desktop workloads, we need to dig into Queue Depths first. Above are some examples of the typical QD various desktop applications run at. This data is from direct IO trace captures of systems in actual use. So the majority of desktop workloads operate at very low Queue Depths (<= 4), lets see where Optane performance falls relative to other storage technologies:

The ranges tapering off show the percentage of IOs falling at the various Queue Depths, while the green, red, and orange lines ramping up to higher IOPS (right axis) show relative SSD performance at those same Queue Depths. The key to Optane’s performance benefit here is that it can ramp up to full performance at very low QD’s, while the other NAND-based parts require significantly higher parallel requests to achieve full rated performance. This is what will ultimately lead to a much snappier responsiveness for about anything hitting the storage.There is actually a HDD on that chart. It’s the yellow line which almost looks like a send horizontal axis.

Official support requires a 270 series motherboard and Kaby Lake CPU, but it is possible that motherboard makers could backport the required NVMe v1.1 and Intel RST 15.5 requirements into older systems.

The last slide show pyramid there sits an ‘Intel Optane SSD’, which should basically be a consumer version of the P4800X. It is sure to be an incredibly fast SSD, but the price could be greater too.

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