Intel benchmarks 3D XPoint Optane at IDF Shenzhen

Posted on Friday, Apr 15 2016 @ 11:57 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
Over the last couple of months it's been very quiet about Intel's 3D XPoint memory technology. The chip giant first showcased the technology in July 2015 and now the company gave a new demonstration at its IDF event in Shenzhen, China. 3D XPoint is a form of phase change memory that promises speeds closer to that of DRAM, and with the capability to address data at the byte level, unlike flash which transfers in pages (~8KB) and erases in blocks (~6MB).

PC Perspective reports the demo was rather lackluster. The Intel Optane SSD was defnitely fast, with transfer speeds coming close to 2GB/s, but that's pretty much in-line with what Intel's P3700 SSD has to offer.
It is great to see XPoint / Optane technology being demonstrated again, but as far as demos go, this was not the best / fairest example that Intel could have put together. First of all, the 'NAND SSD' they are using is a Thunderbolt 3 connected external, which was clearly bottlenecked badly somewhere else in the chain (when was the last time you saw a 6 Gbit SATA SSD limited to only 283 MB/s?). Also, using SATA for the NAND example while using PCIe x4 NVMe for the Optane example seems a bit extreme to me.
Intel Optane performance

Besides better performance, Optane also promises much better durability than flash. It's unknown when we'll see the first Optane disks in the consumer market.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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