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IDF 2015 | Intel and Micron announce Optane SSDs coming 2016

Intel and Micron announce Optane SSDs coming 2016
Intel and Micron announce Optane SSDs coming 2016
Optane is Intel's "revolutionary" storage solution that differs significantly from existing mechanical and solid-state drives.

IDF 2015 isn't just all about Skylake as Intel apparently had another trick up its sleeve.

During the first keynote of the day, Intel took a brief few minutes to introduce the Optane SSD based on new 3D Xpoint memory technology co-developed with Micron. Its method of storage is different from both magnetic platters of hard drive disks and NAND flash of solid-state drives. As Intel notes, this is the world's first completely new storage technology since the introduction of NAND 25 years ago.

At its principle core, the non-volatile technology works via a 3-dimensional lattice of wires arranged in what they call a Crosspoint Structure. Each crosspoint contains a switch that is physically altered to represent 0 or 1. Because of the new way this data is written and retrieved, Intel promises up to 1000x the performance and reliability of NAND flash and up to 10x the density of DRAM.

To prove a point, Intel ran a live demo comparing IOPS between a DC P3700 series SSD and an Optane prototype. The Optane drive consistently scores over 5x the performance of the Intel SSD (~80K vs. ~400K IOPS) and is roughly comparable to enterprise-class PCIe SSDs.

The first Optane drives will be available for servers before scaling down to notebooks and DIMMs in 2016. Assuming affordable price ranges and high capacities, the 3D Xpoint technology has the potential to revolutionize storage in consumer electronics. It's likely that we'll hear more about Optane-equipped devices early next year, so let's hope that the promises keep up.


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Allen Ngo, 2015-08-19 (Update: 2015-08-19)