Intel plans to launch a new line of solid state storage devices under the Intel Optane brand in 2016. They’ll be the first solid state drives to use 3D Xpoint technology, which is said to offer up to 1,000 times the speed, 1,000 times the durability, and 10 times the density of current solutions.
3D Xpoint is a new type of non-volatile storage, which means that unlike DRAM, it can retain data without any power. This makes it more like the NAND flash storage used in today’s solid state drives. But it offers speeds that are closer to what you’d expect from DRAM than NAND (although DRAM is still faster).
What does that mean in terms of real-world performance? At the Intel Developer Forum keynote in San Francisco, Intel showed off a demo of a PC with an early version of an upcoming Intel Optane drive.
It was about 5 to 7 times as fast as an Intel P3700 series solid state disk using NAND flash storage, depending on the test. And this is just an early sample.
Intel says the first Optane chips will be “a new line of high-endurance, high-performance Intel SSDs” that will be available for a wide range of devices including services, desktops, and portable computers. It will be available both as a PCIe SSD and as a DIMM for use with Intel Xeon-powered products.