Intel launched their first Optane SSD, the SSD DC P4800X enterprise drive last week. And this week they launched an Optane SSD for consumers. A low-capacity M.2 NVMe SSD intended for use as a cache drive for systems using a mechanical hard drive for primary storage.
Intel Optane SSD M.2 Cache Memory
The Intel Optane Memory SSD uses one or two single-die packages of 3D XPoint non-volatile memory to provide capacities of 16GB or 32GB. The controller gets away with a much smaller package than most SSDs (especially PCIe SSD) since it only supports two PCIe 3.0 lanes and does not have an external DRAM interface. Because only two PCIe lanes are used by the drive, it is keyed to support M.2 type B and M slots. This keying is usually used for M.2 SATA SSDs while M.2 PCIe SSDs typically use only the M key position to support four PCIe lanes.
The Optane Memory SSD will not function in a M.2 slot that provides only SATA connectivity. Contrary to some early leaks, the Optane Memory SSD uses the M.2 2280 card size instead of one of the shorter lengths. This makes for one of the least-crowded M.2 PCBs on the market even with all of the components on the top side.
This Optane memory is not intended to replace tradition SSDs as the capacity is too low. Intel intends this to be used as a caching mechanism which will help in crazy fast data access speeds.
This low capacity SSD offer insane Sequential read speeds 1200MB/s and sequential write speeds of 280MB/s. The MSRP for this SSD is known to be around $44 for the 16GB variant and $77 for the 32GB variant.
Intel has given out some specifications of the Optane Memory drive’s performance on its own. Both variants offer the same performance.
Systems with Optane memory will offer compelling performance with faster access to frequent files if this is used as a caching device.