Intel’s new Optane SSD 900P Series is a solid state drive for desktop computers that the company says is up to 4 times faster than most other SSDs on the market, while offering up to 22 times more endurance.
Those features won’t come cheap though: an Optane SSD 900P with 280GB of storage will set you back $389, while a 480GB model is priced at $599.
The new solid state drives are based on 3D Xpoint technology, which was originally pitched a new type of non-volatile storage that could bridge the gap between traditional RAM and storage. In real-world performance, Intel’s Optane SSDs aren’t really competitive with RAM, so they’re unlikely to replace DRAM or SDRAM any time soon. But early reviews of the new Optane SSD 900P show huge read/write speed gains over NAND solid state storage.
Intel has been developing Optane/3D Xpoint solutions for a few years, but this is the first real SSD that can replace a hard drive or solid state drive in consumer desktop computers.
Previously Intel has released a high-end SSD for use in data centers and entry-level “Optane Memory” products that are essentially 16GB or 32GB cache drives that work in conjunction with a larger (and cheaper) hard drive to speed up PC performance.
Intel is unveiling the new storage at a gaming event in Germany, which gives you an idea of the type of machines Intel expects these SSDs to be used in: expensive gaming rigs (or workstation PCs).
But technologies that are initially aimed at high-end PCs have a habit of eventually trickling down to mass market products, so in a few years it’s possible we could see affordable 3D Xpoint storage in more affordable computers.