Whenever Intel develops a new generation of SSDs based entirely on in-house technology, the result is usually a product that turns heads. Several times, Intel has set a new standard for SSD performance, starting with its original X25-M. Their most recent shake-up of the consumer SSD market was the Intel SSD 750, the first consumer NVMe SSD. Such significant releases don't happen every year, and in the intervening years Intel's competitors always catch up and surpass Intel.

However this year's revolution from Intel will be very hard for the competition to match anytime soon. All of Intel's previous record-setting SSDs have relied on the drive's controller to stand out from the crowd. This time, Intel's advantage comes from the storage medium: its 3D XPoint memory technology, a new nonvolatile memory that offers much higher performance than flash memory.

The Intel Optane SSD 900P

The new Intel Optane SSD 900P is a premium NVMe PCIe SSD offering the highest level of performance, with a moderate capacity. The Optane SSD 900P is intended for high-end desktop systems and workstations with very disk-heavy workloads. The Optane SSD 900P isn't for everyone and won't be displacing any existing products - it exists alone in a new product tier, with prices that are more than twice what the fastest flash memory based SSDs are selling for.

Optane is Intel's brand name for products featuring 3D XPoint memory.  The Intel Optane SSD 900P is actually the third Optane product to be released, but it's the first family member to go after the high end consumer market segment. The Intel Optane Memory M.2 drives released earlier this year have capacities far too small for general-purpose storage use and instead have been marketed for use as a cache device to be paired with a mechanical hard drive. Intel's caching strategy works and can bring a hard drive's responsiveness up to the level of mainstream SSDs, but it has downsides. The Optane Memory caching requires a few extra steps to setup, and the caching software will only run on Intel platforms introduced this year: Kaby Lake or newer.

The Optane SSD DC P4800X is Intel's flagship enterprise SSD, and it is priced accordingly—putting it far out of reach of consumer budgets, and even with a price tag of over $1500 for 375GB it has been quite difficult to acquire. In the enterprise storage market, the P4800X has been highly sought after, but it isn't appropriate for all use cases and is not a threat to the many enterprise SSDs that prioritize capacity over performance and endurance.

The Optane SSD 900P will still cause some sticker shock for consumers expecting prices in line with M.2 PCIe SSDs, but it is acceptable for the kinds of machines that might be packing multiple GPUs or 10+ CPU cores. The Optane SSD 900P probably wouldn't be the only drive in such a system, but it would work well as a blazing fast primary storage device.

Intel Optane SSD 900P Specifications
Capacity 280 GB 480 GB
Controller Intel SLL3D
Memory Intel 128Gb 3D XPoint
Interface PCIe 3.0 x4
Form Factor HHHL Add-in card or
2.5" 15mm U.2
HHHL Add-in card
Sequential Read 2500 MB/s
Sequential Write 2000 MB/s
Random Read IOPS 550k
Random Write IOPS 500k
Power Consumption 8W Read
13W Write
14W Burst
5W Idle
Write Endurance 10 DWPD
Warranty 5 years
Recommended Price $389 ($1.39/GB) $599 ($1.25/GB)

The Intel Optane SSD 900P is initially launching with 280GB and 480GB capacities. Both sizes will be available as PCIe 3.0 x4 half-height half-length add-in cards, and the 280GB model is also available as a 2.5" U.2 drive. Higher capacities may be added later, but Intel isn't promising anything yet. The sequential transfer speeds are nothing special for a NVMe SSD these days—Samsung's 960 PRO can hit much higher read speeds and slightly higher write speeds. The random read and write IOPS are far higher than any consumer SSD has offered before.

Intel's specifications for power consumption show one big reason why the Optane SSD 900P is a desktop-only product. Laptops are not equipped to supply up to 14W to a SSD, and they usually aren't equipped to cool a drive that idles at 5W instead of 50mW. The level of performance offered by the Optane SSD 900P cannot currently fit within the power budget or space constraints of a M.2 card.

The five year warranty Intel offers is typical for a high-end SSD in today's market, but doesn't compare to the 10 year warranty that Samsung's flagship 850 PRO SATA SSD offers. On the other hand, the 10 drive writes per day write endurance rating is far higher than most consumer SSDs get; 0.3 DWPD is more typical.

The Intel Optane SSD 900P starts shipping worldwide today, and here is our review of the 280GB version.

Who is the Optane SSD 900P for?
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  • CajunArson - Friday, October 27, 2017 - link

    I thought you were a reliable AMD koolaid drinker?

    It's funny how you insult these products that you have never used but would never in a million years hurl their $7000 Radeon SSG under the bus... you know, the one that uses a consumer-grade GPU slapped together with a RAID-0 array of cheap consumer-grade NVME drives to supposedly do rendering jobs faster than a regular GPU.
    Reply
  • ddriver - Friday, October 27, 2017 - link

    That only goes to show your thinking skills need a lot of work before they get useful.

    Pardon me for not clapping my hands and cheering at pointless mediocrity. Hopefully some day I will be able to reach that level of excellence ;)

    That's the limited mindset of today. If you applaud AMD's achievements, you have got to be an AMD fanboy, and when that same person criticizes AMD stupidity, it defines all logic, because only fanboys like AMD and fanboys don't criticize their idols, right?
    Reply
  • CajunArson - Friday, October 27, 2017 - link

    Tell ya what, when AMD invents a completely new type of non-volatile storage technology that nobody has ever put on the market before then I promise not to literally ignore the actual facts that are set forth in Anandtech's review of the product to come to some predetermined bigoted conclusion. Reply
  • ddriver - Friday, October 27, 2017 - link

    AMD would probably invest in a lot, had it not been sandbagged by intel's illegal business practices over the course of decades. It was intel violating the cross-license agreement they agreed to first, and after that was no longer possible, they simply bribed the market away from amd.

    And don't me wrong. I do not "love" AMD, I do realize they only slow love for the consumer because they are not in the position intel is, which is a position they would definitely love to be in, and will abuse as much as intel does.

    My only concern about about AMD has to do with the fact that if they do better, intel has to do better too. True that AMD has a better track record, but again, that's only because they weren't in the position to do worse.
    Reply
  • CajunArson - Friday, October 27, 2017 - link

    Yawn, another butthurt "OMG INTEL ILLEGAL" delusional fanboy.

    Fact 1: AMD founder Jerry fried-chicken Sanders took kickbacks from Microsoft to testify *that Microsoft was not a monopoly* in federal court. If Colonel Sanders thinks Microsoft was never a monopoly then you know he never thought Intel could possibly have been a monopoly.

    Fact 2: Your former hero Hector Ruiz ran AMD into the ground while paying himself more than Intel's CEO was earning while conducting insider trading. His contribution was to piss away AMD's ability to fab leading edge silicon while massively overpaying for ATi. Oh, and Bulldozer... yeah that was him too. Funny how Intel must have magically mind-controlled him and the rest of AMD into all those decisions!

    People like you love to blame other people for your own bigotries and personal failings. The last thing you could do is to ever think that your Holy AMD could possibly maybe not be perfect.
    Reply
  • ddriver - Friday, October 27, 2017 - link

    Thanks but my butt is fine, and branding makes a zero difference in my purchase decisions.

    You however are obviously a butthurt intel fanboy who got triggered by the very mention of intel's misdeeds, which are not a conspiracy theory but a PUBLICLY KNOWN FACT.
    Reply
  • eddman - Friday, October 27, 2017 - link

    You are such a proponent of "facts", just like when you said Note 7 was sabotaged by intel and/or western powers to hold back samsung's and/or south korea's advancements without any shred of evidence.

    You simply do not like whatever intel, nvidia, (insert X,Y,Z company I don't approve of) make and try your hardest to dismiss them by pretending you are "criticizing" them and then trying to cover your personal attacks against other posters as "sarcasm" and by coming up with words out of a 14-years old's vocabulary like "hypetane".

    It would've been ok if you actually were a kid but you claim to be an expert of decades in pretty much everything. Very professional.
    Reply
  • ddriver - Friday, October 27, 2017 - link

    OK, you seem to have a problem with exploring eventualities. Do you have a problem with evolution? Or the big bang? Those are after all, just theories, some claim they make sense and have some factual or logical support, but they are essentially still just theories and not facts.

    My bet is you don't. You don't really have a problem with claims that are unsubstantiated by evidence, you only have a problem with those of them that are not endorsed by the status quo.

    Because you are a conformist. Which is also why you have a persistent problem with me, because it annoys you that I stand up to conformity and cultivate individualism. How dare I?

    Speaking about 14 year olds, I am pretty sure that unlike you, a 14 year old would get the joke. Optane - over-hyped -> hypetane. Probably even a 5 year old would. But not you, to you it is absolutely inappropriate for someone to mock the lies of a monopoly. Because you are a conformist. You are obligated to show respect and admiration. And you get triggered when someone does not.
    Reply
  • eddman - Friday, October 27, 2017 - link

    Good job trying to pretend you just said it as a "theory". You mentioned it as an absolute, 100%, undeniable fact without ever using words like "maybe", "could be", "possibly", etc. and belittled anyone who said otherwise.

    As for the "joke", only a kid would come up and use something like that, right there with words like "poser", etc. You are such a professional critic that has to resort to such childish words. At least you finally acknowledged that you simply do all this for mocking purposes.

    Also, changing from the word "sheep" to "conformist". It seems you found a way to hide your insults. Yes, every single person in the world is a "conformist" except you. I'm sure your spamming on anandtech will finally get rid of the evil corporations.
    Reply
  • ddriver - Friday, October 27, 2017 - link

    "you mentioned it as an absolute, 100%, undeniable fact"

    That's your theory. Unless I explicitly said it is "absolute, 100% undeniable fact", it is only your insinuation.

    "You are such a professional critic that has to resort to such childish words"

    Nah, I just don't limit myself, foolishly believing that being "serious" will make me any smarter, you know, like you do. That's dumb, and I don't feel urges to be considered smart by dumb people.

    "It seems you found a way to hide your insults"

    Nah, I just don't like insulting sheep by comparing them to you. Unlike you, a sheep cannot help but be a sheep. Also, you clearly don't know what "spamming" means, and clearly ignorant of what else I do in regard with the "evil corporations" aside from "spamming".

    I am pretty sure if I was spamming or in violating the site rules in any other way, I would have been banned, don't you think? I haven't even gotten warnings, public or private. Let me know, if I am doing something wrong, would ya AT staff?
    Reply

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