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Intel Optane-branded solid-state drive for data centers spotted in leaked specs

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Intel's Optane-branded products aim to speed up PCs by merging the speed of system memory and the storage capabilities of NAND memory.

The first Optane-branded product released by Intel may be a solid-state drive for data centers. The news arrives by way of leaked specifications for the P4800X Series SSD stuffed onto a PCI Express add-in card. It will have a 375GB capacity, promising the read/write performance of standard system memory (DRAM) and the storage capabilities of NAND flash technology.

That’s the big selling point of Optane products: The merging of the two DRAM and NAND technologies. Optane is based on 3D XPoint technology jointly developed by Micron and Intel, which stacks memory cells vertically rather than horizontally, like standard SSDs and flash drives. This enables more storage capacity and better performance due to 3D XPoint’s vertically designed checkerboard design.

Here are some of the specs for the unannounced Optane SSD:

Sequential read speed: Up to 2,400MB per second
Sequential write speed: Up to 2,000MB per second
Random 4KB IOPS read speed: Up to 550K per second
Random 4KB IOPS write speed: Up to 500K per second
Latency (typical) Read/Write: <10 microseconds
Security: AES 256-bit encryption supported
Mean Time Between Failures: 1,000,000 hours
Endurance Rating: 30 drive writes per day
12.3 petabytes written
Form Factor: PCIs 3.0 x4 half-height, half-length, low profile
Operating system support: Windows Server 2016 / 2012 R2
Windows 8.1 / 10
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.7 / 7.0 / 7.1 / 7.3
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP4 / 12 SP1
UEFI 2.3.1

Intel’s Optane products will reportedly have excellent performance with a queue depth of one. A queue depth is essentially the number of commands that the SSD’s controller queues at the same time. Typically, tests show that the performance of an SSD is rather poor when only one command is queued in the controller whereas performance greatly improves when 32 commands are queued. That huge performance gap supposedly isn’t the case with Intel’s Optane drives.

Intel first revealed its Optane products during the CES 2017 technology show in January. They were in the form of sticks that connect to an M.2 slot on a PC’s motherboard. Offering 16GB and 32GB capacities, they aim to speed up PCs with hard drives installed by putting the most-used files on the speedier Optane drive to provide SSD-like performance.

More: Intel’s 48-thread, 24-core Xeon superchip will cost nearly $9,000

The two Optane products on display at CES falls under the company’s Optane Memory group for storage caching in HDD-based systems. The leaked P4800X Series drive falls under its Optane SSD umbrella providing drives with more than 120GB of storage capacity. Optane will also include DRAM products that are crammed into PCs just like memory sticks.

We reached out to Intel for further comment about the leaked Optane SSD specs, but just like the company’s recent eighth-generation Core processor tease it dangled in front of Twitter users, Intel is remaining tight-lipped about the leaked Optane drive specs. Bribing Intel didn’t help us gain additional information either.

On a mainstream level, the take from all of this Optane talk is that systems will get a huge performance boost from these 3D XPoint-based products. We expect to hear more from Intel in the coming weeks.