The Intel Optane SSD 800p (58GB & 118GB) Review: Almost The Right Sizeby Billy Tallis on March 8, 2018 5:15 PM EST
AnandTech Storage Bench - The Destroyer
The Destroyer is an extremely long test replicating the access patterns of very IO-intensive desktop usage. A detailed breakdown can be found in this article. Like real-world usage, the drives do get the occasional break that allows for some background garbage collection and flushing caches, but those idle times are limited to 25ms so that it doesn't take all week to run the test. These AnandTech Storage Bench (ATSB) tests do not involve running the actual applications that generated the workloads, so the scores are relatively insensitive to changes in CPU performance and RAM from our new testbed, but the jump to a newer version of Windows and the newer storage drivers can have an impact.
We quantify performance on this test by reporting the drive's average data throughput, the average latency of the I/O operations, and the total energy used by the drive over the course of the test.
The average data rates from the Intel Optane SSD 800p on The Destroyer are comparable to some of the faster flash-based SSDs we've tested, but the 800p isn't as fast as the Samsung 960 PRO. Intel's VROC clearly doesn't help performance on this kind of test, and instead it just adds overhead.
The average and 99th percentile latency scores of the Optane SSD 800p on The Destroyer are good, but don't beat the best flash-based SSDs and are far higher than the Optane 900p. Intel VROC seems to improve latency some even though it was detrimental to the average data rate.
The average read latency of the 800p is more than twice as high as that of the 900p, and is higher than the Samsung 960 PRO. VROC RAID-0 adds a few more microseconds of read latency. The average write latency of the 800p is far worse than the 900p or high-end flash based SSDs, but VROC greatly improves the write latencies and the four-drive RAID-0 is comparable to the Optane SSD 900p.
Intel's VROC helps significantly with the 99th percentile read and write latencies, taking the 800p from not quite high-end to beating a single 900p.
The energy usage of the Optane SSD 800p over the course of The Destroyer is far lower than that of any flash-based SSD. The 800p completes the test fairly quickly, and unlike the 900p it keeps power consumption reasonably low throughout the test. The low-end flash based SSDs can take more than twice as long to complete the test while drawing more power than the 800p.
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Hurr Durr - Thursday, March 8, 2018 - linkHypetane!
iter - Thursday, March 8, 2018 - linkoptane = hypetane
x-point = xtra-pointless
It keeps getting worse and worse instead of getting better. The next x-point iteration may slip below nand even in the few strong points of the technology.
Also, it doesn't seem that enterprise is very interested in intel's offering, seeing how they struggle to cram the product in market niches where it is xtra-pointless, I'd go on a limb and assume that's not because of love for consumers or skipping on them fat enterprise product margins.
Also, it seems that intel gave very misleading information not only in terms of performance, but also regarding the origin of the technology. The official story is its development began in 2012 as a joint venture between intel and micron.
That however is not true, x-point can be traced back to a now erased from history company named Unity Semiconductors, which was flogging the tech back in 2009 under the CMOx moniker.
Courtesy of archive.org, there is still some trace of that, along with several PDFs explaining the operational principle of what intel has been highly secretive about:
All in all, the secrecy might have to do with intel's inability to deliver on the highly ambitious expectations of the actual designers of the tech. It is nowhere near the 200% better than nand density, in fact it seems at the current manufacturing node it won't be possible to make more than 256 gb in m2 form factor, which is 8 times less than mlc nand or 24 times less than what was projected in 2009. Performance is not all that stellar too, a tad lower than what slc was capable at back in 2012, thank the gods nobody makes slc anymore, so there's a ray of sun to make xtra-pointless hypetane look good on paper.
chrnochime - Thursday, March 8, 2018 - linkRambus renamed it to ReRAM according to this article in 2015, so it would seem the tech lived on through Rambus after the aquisition of Unity Semi.
But I'm not sure if it's the exact same tech as Intel's.
iter - Thursday, March 8, 2018 - linkCheck the PDFs, what little intel posted about it is all there. They may have licensed the tech from rambus. It is not like rambus does anything other than patent milking anyway.
iter - Thursday, March 8, 2018 - link"Coincidentally", rambus bought unity in 2012, exactly when intel allegedly started developing...
MDD1963 - Friday, March 23, 2018 - linkNot everyone remembers a few sticks of RAMBUS RDIMMS for some Pentium 3 boards costing $500-$600 a stick back in '99-'00....; and being outperformed by DDR. Nice job, RAMBUS!
tommo1982 - Thursday, March 8, 2018 - linkAm I reading it right? Was Cross-point memory supposed to be cheaper than NAND?
WinterCharm - Thursday, March 8, 2018 - linkYes. But I guess we won't see that for a while.
Latency and power consumption are great... but speed and capacity leave a lot to be desired. When MacBook Pros have NVME drives capable of 3.2 GB/s (yes gigabytes) at a 2TB capacity... Optane is far behind.
There are some advantages, but I expect that Intel will need to do a lot more work before these are cheaper, faster, and have higher capacity.
Reflex - Friday, March 9, 2018 - linkThat said, latency is what users notice. Max speed is a rarely encountered scenario in most user workloads.
iter - Saturday, March 10, 2018 - linkNo human notices microseconds. Delay becomes noticeable at about 10-20 msec, depending on the individual's reflexes, becomes annoying at about 50 msecs, and becomes detrimental at 200+.
10 mseconds is 10000 microseconds. Hypetane improves things in the double digit microseconds range. Humans cannot notice that, not today, not in a million years.