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Intel Optane H10 offers the best of 3D Xpoint and QLC NAND on one M.2 package

Intel Optane H10 storage is slated to be available in notebooks from major OEMs. (Source: Intel)
Intel Optane H10 storage is slated to be available in notebooks from major OEMs. (Source: Intel)
Intel detailed some of the technical specifications and performance numbers of its latest Optane H10 storage that combines 3D Xpoint and QLC NAND flash onto a single M.2 drive. The Optane H10 requires the latest Intel 8th gen U-series processor and Rapid Storage Technology drivers. It is slated to be available with major notebook OEMs starting Q2 2019.
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Intel first talked about its Optane Memory H10 with QLC NAND back in January. Codenamed 'Teton Glacier', Optane H10 combined 3D Xpoint and QLC NAND storage on a single M.2 2280 stick. Today, Intel offered a deep dive into the technology and how it benefits PCs especially, laptops.

Optane for 3D NAND

While we've seen Optane being helpful in accelerating HDDs and even SATA SSDs. The Optane H10 is perhaps the first to accelerate an NVMe drive. Basically, the H10 PCB consists of two zones — one part has the Optane memory and controller while the other houses the QLC 3D NAND media and its controller. The QLC NAND is essentially a miniaturized Intel 660p SSD.

(Source: Intel)
(Source: Intel)
(Source: Intel)
(Source: Intel)

Optane H10 Specifications

The Optane H10 is available in three capacity tiers — 16 GB Optane + 256 GB storage, 32 GB Optane + 512 GB storage, and 32 GB Optane + 1 TB storage. The Optane H10 requires a PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slot and works only with 8th generation Intel Core U series processors and an Intel 300-series PCH. Support for upcoming platforms is being planned. 

Data transfer and caching is controlled by Intel Rapid Storage Technology (RST) drivers v17.2 or higher, which are required to use the Optane H10. We'll have to see whether RST enables seeing this as one composite disk or as two individual drives. This also brings up the question of whether lane bifurcation is needed between the Optane and storage controllers. Gauging from the relatively lower read/write speeds when compared with top-end Samsung NVMe SSDs, it does look like some of the PCIe bandwidth is taken up by 3D Xpoint. We'll update this article if we receive an update from Intel in this regard.

Intel says that Optane H10 can offer an endurance up to 300 TBW with sequential read speeds up to 2400 MBps and write speeds up to 1800 MBps. The drive is rated for 32K/30K read/write 4KB random QD1 IOPS and 55K/55K read/write 4KB random QD2 IOPS. Intel also offers a 5-year warranty for the Optane H10.

(Source: Intel)
(Source: Intel)

Performance

Intel showed off some performance metrics from their in-house testing of the Optane H10. Intel is positioning the H10 for all kinds of workloads including office productivity, content creation, and gaming. Of course, the best results would be seen in operations that involve high read/writes to the disk such as when using the drive as a scratch disk for Photoshop or Premiere.

According to Intel, Optane H10 allows most applications to operate between QD1 to QD2. Compared to traditional NVMe or SATA SSDs, Optane H10 allows for higher IOPS right in the QD1 to QD2 range and can achieve optimal QD distribution whereas the NVMe, for example, is shown to have optimal distribution only after QD10. Theoretically, this should result in extremely low latency, which is the benefit of Optane after all. However, it needs to be evaluated what difference it makes to practical use. The Optane H10 also showed good % read sweeps in random 4KB burst QD1 tests implying that the drive can sustain higher IOPS compared to other Intel SSDs.

(Source: Intel)
(Source: Intel)
(Source: Intel)
(Source: Intel)

Availability

Intel says notebooks with built-in Intel Optane H10 would be available from OEMs such as Dell, HP, and Asus in Q2 2019 with other OEMs and retailers coming soon. Unlike other Optane variants, it seems like the Optane H10 is restricted to notebooks powered by 8th gen U-series processors at the moment. Optane H10 aims to provide the best of low application launch times of 3D Xpoint and fast read/write speeds of QLC NAND on a single M.2 drive. While this is great for space constrained ultrabooks with just a single M.2 drive, desktop PCs also stand to gain well with this technology.

(Source: Intel)
(Source: Intel)
(Source: Intel)
(Source: Intel)

Source(s)

Intel Press Brief

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Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam - Managing Editor - 1429 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2012
Though a cell and molecular biologist by training, I have been drawn towards computers from a very young age ever since I got my first PC in 1998. My passion for technology grew quite exponentially with the times, and it has been an incredible experience from being a much solicited source for tech advice and troubleshooting among family and friends to joining Notebookcheck in 2017 as a professional tech journalist. Now, I am a Lead Editor at Notebookcheck covering news and reviews encompassing a wide gamut of the technology landscape for Indian and global audiences. When I am not hunting for the next big story or taking complex measurements for reviews, you can find me unwinding to a nice read, listening to some soulful music, or trying out a new game.
contact me via: @Geeky_Vaidy
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 04 > Intel Optane H10 offers the best of 3D Xpoint and QLC NAND on one M.2 package
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2019-04-10 (Update: 2019-04-10)