In July of 2015, Intel announced a revolutionary new memory it called 3D XPoint.
Intel called it a breakthrough in memory technology and would offer unparalleled performance and endurance.
Today, the first drive to feature 3D XPoint is here and it is called the Optane SSD DC P4800X. It is an enterprise SSD designed specially for use in data centers.
To that end, the Optane SSD DC P4800X boasts impressive random read and write performance. According to Intel, the typical read and write latency for this drive is under 10 microseconds. This compares very favorably to the fastest NAND SSDs today, which have latencies in the tens of microseconds.
In addition, the Optane SSD DC P4800X can manage a staggering 550,000 read IOPs and 500,000 write IOPs at low queue depths of around 16.
The low latency of the Optane SSD DC P4800X also means that it is more suited for paging purposes than traditional NAND-based SSDs. Using something Intel calls Memory Drive Technology, the Optane SSD can be used with traditional DRAM to create a pool of volatile memory for memory intensive workloads.
However, the most impressive thing about Intel's new Optane SSD DC P4800X drive is its endurance. Unlike NAND memory, writes to 3D XPoint memory are non-destructive. As a result, Intel says their new drive is good for up to 30 total drive writes per day, which should be good news for data center administrators.
This means that for a 375GB drive and a 3-year long warranty, the Optane SSD DC P4800X would have a rated endurance of 12.3PB. This is significantly more than any NAND-based SSD.
The Intel Optane SSD DC P4800X is currently only available in 375GB and will be offered as a PCIe add-in card or a U.2 drive. It will be priced at US$1,520.
Intel plans to launch larger capacity models with 750GB and 1.5TB later this year.