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Intel Optane SSD 900P Review (480GB) – Understanding Disruptive Technology

REPORT ANALYSIS

In examining all that Intel has accomplished with respect to 3D XPoint memory and the Intel Optane SSD 900P, we can see that they have in fact changed direction in the industry by marketing a new flash that can reduce latency significantly through a new form of disk management.  The result is a lack of need for TRIM and garbage collection as 3D XPoint can now erase and store very small amounts of data, rather than using the traditional method of store by page yet erase at block level.  This page/block process results in write amplification which reduces performance and endurance in SSDs significantly.  In comparing the Intel Optane SSD 900P to the Samsung 960Pro M.2 SSD, they both have 5 year warranties yet the Intel claims 21 times longer endurance for relatively the same capacity ssd (480/512).

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Considering performance, the Intel Optane SSD 900P did just what it said it could and then some.  Typical of Intel, specifications for the SSD were just a bit conservative but, for the first time, we can feel confident that the performance expected from the SSD will be there regardless of the workload.  Gone are the days that an SSD maintained listed performance until steady state kicked in and it dropped significantly.  The best representation of this performance that we have seen to date became evident in our PCMark 8 Bandwidth result shown here:

Intel 900P PCMark 8 Extended AB

This graph identifies the best consumer NVMe SSD on the market, yet each falls well below the Intel Optane 900P when they are pushed to the point that that TRIM and garbage collection isn’t possible.  This test took 13 hours and is one of the most trying on any SSD, yet the Intel Optane 900P remained steady at just under 2GB/s while the rest of the sampled SSDs couldn’t maintain above the 600MB/s mark for most of the test.

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Availability and pricing are a concern right now.  A quick check of Amazon shows availability of only the 280GB from a third party and double the manufacturers suggested price.  Add to that the fact that the Optane 900P is only available in the HHHL AIC format right now, and in capacities of 280 and 480GB, and this limits, or hinders the buying decision of many.  As much as I would love to replace my Samsung 960Pro 2TB NVMe SSD in my HP Spectre laptop with a 2TB M.2 version of the Optane 900P, I can guarantee there is a reason that this won’t be happening any time soon.  Remember, eack memory package in this 480GB SSD only contains 16GB of available storage space.  How would that work on a M.2 SSD?  Is it possible the 64GB capacity M.2 Optane is all we will be seeing for awhile?

Lastly, is the Intel Optane 900P the SSD to fit your specific needs?  As much as I can guarantee that there are tens of thousands of PC enthusiasts that will jump for the opportunity to have the biggest and baddest in their new build, it just doesn’t make much sense for the typical home user that doesn’t push their PC whatsoever to go out and upgrade to this SSD.  Looking back at that PCMark 8 result above, this is an enterprise SSD in consumer packaging.  If I were a high-end media guy, I might seriously look at this.  Professional gamer?  Intel sure has made the sale there, at least with the free copy of Star Citizen and the exclusive ship.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Intel Optane SSD 900P NVMe SSD loses points on availability and pricing but that is it.  This SSD is the most powerful SSD we have had in our hands to date and its implementation of 3D XPoint Memory ensures that this is a disruptive technology. There are still so many questions with respect to form factors and capacities to be marketed but, all in all, the Optane 900P is one amazing SSD.  Editor’s Choice!

Check out Intel Optane SSD 900P Pricing at Amazon!
Editors Choice-SSD copy Opt

So the Intel Optane SSD 900P NVMe SSD has been out for about a week now and it is expensive, hard to find and being termed as a disruptive technology by the SSD Gods.  By SSD Gods of course, I refer to 4-5 flash reviewers that have been in the industry since SSDs were introduced and I can draw a direct correlation between their work and how it has changed your lives to a great extent today.  I don't include myself in this group as they are much smarter than I, but I try hard to maintain that 'Coles Notes' atmosphere…

Intel Optane SSD 900P Rating

Intel SSD 900P Build and Packaging
Performance
Ease of Installation
Five Year Warranty
Pricing and Availability

Speed and Endurance!

The Intel SSD 900P NVMe SSD has performance and endurance that we have yet to see in any other SSD.

Check Amazon!
User Rating: 3.45 ( 1 votes)
  • boogerlad

    How is the heatsink cover attached to the card? Is it possible to remove it without removing the heatsink from the pcb?

    • Yes it is simply clicked into place. It is very secure though.

  • hpvd

    awesome! many thanks for this analysis! Especially “REAL WORLD FILE TRANSFER COMPARISON” is great. Have seen this in no other place of optane reviews before. Only thing missing are some words reading boot speed in comparison to other fast but standard ssds (e.g. 960pro)

    • hpvd

      maybe you can also share some words on how does an optane drive feel in real life (workstation usage)?
      Are things faster? E.g. windows file search? looking for windows updates? Sorting folders with 1000 files by date/size/name? Generating previews of images in folders which has not been opened (=cached) before? Virus check?

    • Thank you for the comps. I haven’t had it as a boot drive just yet so cannot comment on startup or general system activity. Look forward to getting to this in the future though…maybe as a follow up.

  • Tyns

    “by marketing a new flash”
    No. It’s a new class of memory, not flash; those who have analysed it say it’s phase change memory (though Intel denies that).

    http://www.techinsights.com/about-techinsights/overview/blog/intel-3D-xpoint-memory-die-removed-from-intel-optane-pcm/

  • lorki

    any news on micron’s Quantx ?

  • Dave Wallace

    The Amazon link failed:

    Your search “intel optane ssd 900p” did not match any products.
    I’m in Oz.

  • Kos.Mos

    Something I haven’t seen on these yet, I know the original Optane Cache was only supported by a few Intel chipsets. Is the 900p compatible with AMD platforms? Not seeing any compatibility documentation anywhere…

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