INTEL OPTANE GEN 2

Intel has announced new Optane gen 2 DIMMs for servers. The capacity has not changed but the I/O has been improved. Intel also launched some new SSD products.

The Optane PMEM 200 series DIMMs come in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB capacities and their sequential bandwidth is up to 8.10GB/sec for reads and 3.15GB/sec for writes.

So far no consumer motherboard has been made with a slot for Optane but now that the capacity is adequate the only question is how robust is the read and write as compared to the NAND based flash memory in widespread use.

The Optane PMEM 200 are made with new 4-layer X-Point while the previous version was made with 2 layers. Intel et al have done extensive stacking with NAND flash memory suggesting Optane may see the same layering over time.

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The new data centre D7-P5500 and P5600 SSDs are U.2 format drives, built with 96-layer 3D NAND in TLC cell format using the NVMe interface running across PCIe Gen 4 lanes. The P5500 has a 1 drive write per day endurance while the  P5600 has a 3DWPD rating, making it better suited to heavier write workloads.

Available capacities are 1.92TB, 3.84TB and 7.68TB for the P5500. The P5600 needs to over-provision for extended endurance, and so available capacities come in lower at 1.6TB, 3.2TB and 6.4TB. The P5500 and P5600 deliver 7GB/sec when sequential reading and 4.3GB/sec when writing.

Reliability is rated at 1 sector in 1017 bits read. This is 2 orders better than most consumer storage units. With hard disks and SSD products exceeding 16 TB the need for more robust error detection and correction is obvious.

Intel has a brochure on the new hardware for those who are interested.

Eventually server hardware tends to find its way into consumer hardware 9-12 months down the road. The Intel 665p 2TB is not quite as fast due to the QLC design but not so long ago Intel as selling the same chips on a different format for servers. The improved endurance came from server products issued earlier.

The MSI X570-A PRO has a pair of M.2 slots which means potentially two U.2 drives could be installed. Cables are readily available for desktop users. The day may come when a PC motherboard offers even more M.2 slots to support the U.2 format SSD which currently reach up to 30TB over at Micron.