Intel Optane SSD 900P Review: 3D XPoint Unleashed

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Could the Intel Optane SSD 900P be the best SSD of 2018?  See how it compares with these other hard drives that were voted as some of the  Best SSD’s of 2018

The time is finally here. You’ve seen 3D Xpoint for the enterprise in our Intel DC P4800X review , and you’ve seen it as a fast cache for the desktop in our Optane Memory Review . But this is the form you’ve really been waiting for: A bootable 3D […]

The Intel Optane SSD 900P is lightning fast thanks to its new 3D XPoint memory, but it’s also expensive because the cutting-edge technology is in high demand. Intel and Micron developed 3D XPoint memory for more than a decade in a secret project that created the first new productized memory since 1966. The companies still won’t tell us all of the details behind the technology, but outside firms have confirmed it is a form of Phase Change Memory (PCM).

This speedy new memory is designed to fill the performance gap between DRAM and storage, so it crosses into both territorties. 3D XPoint is more expensive than NAND, but it is also faster and provides more endurance. 3D XPoint is slower than DRAM, but it is also cheaper and denser. The best part? Unlike DRAM, it retains data when you remove power, making it a suitable replacement for NAND.

Going into this review, we already knew the Optane SSD 900P would come away as the fastest consumer SSD ever. Intel derived the desktop version from the enterprise-focused DC P4800X, the fastest SSD we’ve tested. The real question was how much Intel would neuter the consumer version to reduce cost and keep data center administrators from adopting the desktop model as their own.

Intel did find a way to keep enterprise customers from scooping up all of these drives: the desktop Optane SSD 900P comes with one-third the endurance of the data center model and loses some enterprise features, such as SMBus. Nevertheless, the desktop Optane SSD 900P matches or exceeds the DC P4800X’s performance specifications, so it promises explosive performance.


Intel’s bringing the Optane SSD to market in 280GB and 480GB capacities. The drives come in two predictable form factors: a PCIe Add-In Card and a 2.5″ U.2 drive with an SFF-8639 connector. Intel will only have four models ready during the initial rollout, the 480GB U.2 will come later in the year. There are two model numbers for the U.2 drives, but we only have the specific numbers for the 280GB drives. One will ship with a standard U.2 cable and the other ships with an M.2 to U.2 adapter.

The 900P’s capacities bookend the 375GB data center DC P4800X. Intel shared a roadmap with us that listed higher capacity enterprise models coming later this year, and even larger drives in 2018. We fully expect the desktop versions to grow in time as well, but Intel hasn’t mentioned any definitive plans for future drives.

The Optane 900P provides up to 2,500 MB/s of sequential read throughput, which is 100 MB/s higher than the enterprise DC P4800X. The sequential write needle pegs at 2,000 MB/s, but you’ll need to work to get there. The Optane SSD 900P really separates itself from the NAND SSD pack when we compare random performance. The desktop drives reach up to 550,000/500,000 read/write IOPS, which is well beyond any desktop SSD.

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