"This is something many people thought was impossible," exclaimed Intel Senior Vice President Rob Crooke.
During an invite-only press conference, Crooke along with Micron CEO Mark Durcan revealed a radically new class of storage and memory architecture called 3D XPoint (pronounced "Cross Point"). To say this is a game-changer would be the understatement of the year.
Get this: 3D XPoint is 1000 times faster than NAND, boasts 1000x the endurance of NAND, and is 10 times more dense than conventional memory.
Consider that existing NAND flash storage is 1000 times faster than traditional mechanical hard drives. We’ll give you a minute to process that. This actually puts 3D XPoint memory about on par with DRAM speeds, only its non-volatile.
Optane Memory is designed to accelerate the storage subsystem on compatible machines, to improve transfer speeds, and reduce latency.
It is among the first products to leverage 3D XPoint memory technology that was co-developed by Intel and Micron, offering many of the same properties as NAND flash memory, but with higher endurance and certain performance characteristics that are similar to DRAM.
The SSD can be paired to the boot drive in a system, regardless of the capacity or drive type, though Optane Memory will most commonly be linked to slower hard drives.
Optane Memory is used as a high-speed repository, as usage patterns on the hard drive are monitored and the most frequently accessed bits of data are copied from the boot drive to the Optane SSD.
Since the SSD is used as a cache, it is not presented to the end-user as a separate volume and works transparently in the background.
Paired with an inexpensive SATA hard drive, general system performance is more in line with an NVMe SSD.
In benchmark testing, Intel Optane Memory delivers a dramatic lift in overall system performance.
Boot times, application load time, file searches, and overall system responsiveness are improved significantly.
Setting up Intel Optane Memory is also quick and easy with "set it and forget it" type of solution.
Optane Memory modules will hit retail this week in 16GB and 32GB capacities, at $44 and $77, respectively.