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Mar 20, 2017 08:45 AM EDT

Intel Releases The Optane SSD DC P4800X, A New SSD Technology That is 1,000 Times Faster Than Present Day SSDs

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Intel's new Solid-State Drive (SSD) storage technology Optane was developed in collaboration with Micron. The new technology touted to be 1,000 faster than NAND used in present day SSD's, is powered by Intel's 3D XPoint technology.

Intel announced today its first official Optane-branded product employing its 3D XPoint memory called Intel Optane SSD DC P4800X. The new revolutionary class of non-volatile memory is a 375GB SSD on a PCIe card. ArsTechnica reported that the new storage medium is available in limited availability starting today, for $1520, with stocks slated for broader availability in the second half of the year.

A 750GB PCIe model is slated for release in the second quarter, along with a 375GB model in the U.2 form factor. The second half of the year is targeted for the release of its 1.5TB PCIe card, alongside a 750GB and 1.5TB U.2 stick. No price points were available for the coming Optane models as of yet.

The Intel Optane SSD DC P4800X is a drive, which is meant for the PCIe or the NVMe slots in servers, though the initial offering only has 375GB of space, its low latency with a 2GB/s throughput means it can be used either as a memory cache or as storage. A PC user who demands high speed and snappy responsiveness while maintaining high capacities makes this a dream device.

Aside from its speed and capacity, Intel also promises the new Optane SSD DC P4800X, provides higher endurance than a typical SSD. Accordingly, the inaugural Optane can endure strains normally associated with RAM. Its lifespan is expected to last at high a writing range of 12.3 petabytes worth of data, according to Engadget.

Intel claims that the new Optane drives will accelerate existing applications automatically, consuming roughly 12-14 watts of power under heavy loads. The power requirement to run Optane SSD DC P4800X is relatively lower than current high-end NAND solutions.

It is not expected to see the Intel Optane for mainstream use this early, although it would theoretically be possible for use by consumers with 200-series motherboards coupled with Kaby Lake CPUs. For now, the Optane SSD DC P4800X is targeted for use in data centers.

Intel asserts that the Optane SSD DC P4800X is not designed for long sequential read and write sessions, although Optane SSD DC P4800X can work well alongside traditional high-end NAND drives. Another reason why it would not be hitting mainstream use, for now, is its prohibitive price. Optane will not be viable for mainstream PCs until prices fall much, much lower.

Even though the Intel Optane SSD DC P4800X is designed for enterprise solutions, it is expected from Intel to bring its Optane drive technology to consumers in the not so distant near future, perhaps within a one year timeframe.

Furthermore, a range of companies including Lenovo, Nutanix and Dell Technologies have already made assertions that their companies will come out with hardware based on the Optane.

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