Intel finally soothes the PC gamer crowd with high-capacity SSDs

After releasing two products for the data center based on its new “3D” Optane-branded memory technology  earlier this year, Intel has now turned to the mainstream market to serve up its new tech to PC gamers. Called the Optane SSD 900P series, the new family consists of two add-in PCI Express-based cards, and a 2.5-inch model that connects to the U.2 port on your PC’s motherboard. All three are available now.

The big deal with Intel’s new Optane technology is that it blends two types of memory together to create one super-fast, high-capacity solution, incorporating volatile and non-volatile memory. Volatile memory is another term for system memory (DRAM) that’s extremely fast but doesn’t retain information when a PC is turned off, nor does it have a high storage capacity. Meanwhile, non-volatile memory (NAND) used in solid state drives isn’t as fast, but is capable of storing data, and provides a high capacity.

Intel’s Optane technology is based on a “3D” crisscross design called XPoint (cross point) that stacks memory layers vertically like a skyscraper for faster access. Every layer includes dozens of columns, each comprised of a single memory cell, its selector, and perpendicular wires mounted above and below to access the memory cell. To modify the memory cell, this design applies voltage changes instead of relying on “bulky” transistors.

Because there are no transistors, Optane technology uses the extra physical space to cram in more storage capacity than your typical system memory stick. But at present you’re still not going to see the same storage capacity found on hard drives due to cost. Intel’s new U.2-based model only serves up 280GB of storage capacity while its two add-in cards provide 280GB and 480GB.

Here are the specifications:

900P Add-In Card 900P U.2 Drive
Max Sequential Read: 2,500MB/s 2,500MB/s
Max Sequential Write: 2,000MB/s 2,000MB/s
Max Random Read: 550,000 IOPS 550,000 IOPS
Max Random Write: 500,000 IOPS 500,000 IOPS
Storage Capacity: 280GB / 480GB 280GB
Connection Type: PCI Express U.2 connector (SFF-8639)
Interface: PCI Express NVMe 3.0 x4 PCI Express NVMe 3.0 x4
Form Factor: Half-Height Half-Length card 2.5-inch drive
Hardware Encryption: AES 256-bit AES 256-bit
Price: $389 / $699 $389

What we have to note here is that you’re not getting DRAM speeds with these three Optane-branded storage devices. System memory can push more than 12,000MB/s in read speeds and more than 11,000MB/s in write speeds. We’ve also seen PCI Express-based M.2 SSDs come close to the sequential read numbers shown above in our laptop and stand-alone SSD reviews, but the write numbers in the specifications are impressively high.


But Optane drives have an extremely low latency, and that’s important. They use PCI Express lanes that have direct access to the processor and system memory, which are faster than lanes used by traditional hard drives and solid state disks. That means faster data transfers to and from the storage device.

Available now, the add-in card costs $389 (280GB) and $699 (480GB), and the U.2-based model costs $389. Intel also provides Optane-based “cache sticks” to speed up your hard drive in 16GB and 32GB capacities.

Product Review

It's not the sharpest tool, but the Surface Go does it all for $400

Microsoft has launched the $400 Surface Go to take on both the iPad and Chromebooks, all without compromising its core focus on productivity. Does it work as both a tablet and a PC?

Does Qualcomm's latest laptop processor hold up against Intel's Core i5?

Qualcomm has been nipping at Intel's mobile CPU heels for years and now it might finally have overtaken it. To find out whether it's new SoC can hold its own in mid-range computing, we pitted the Snapdragon 8cx vs. Core i5.

Check out the best Green Monday deals for those last-minute gifts

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, but that doesn't mean you've missed your chance of finding a great deal. We're talking about Green Monday, of course, and it falls on December 10.

Snatch Apple’s 2017 15-inch MacBook Pro for up to $1,200 off at B&H

The latest deal at B&H is offering up 2017 15-inch Apple MacBook Pros, in space gray and silver, with Intel Core i7 quad-core CPUs, 16GB of RAM, and AMD Radeon Pro 560 GPUs with up to 2TB of SSD storage.

Turn your Raspberry Pi into a Steam streaming hub with Valve’s Steam Link app

Valve's Steam Link app is now fully supported by Raspberry PI hardware, meaning that just about anyone with a few dollars to spare can build their own Steam streaming box in a matter of minutes.

Amazon takes $300 off Intel Core i7 Surface Pro 6 in latest sale

If you're looking for savings on the Surface Pro 6, Amazon is the place to shop. It currently is discounting the Intel Core i7 variant of Microsoft's latest 2-in-1 by $300, though no Type Cover is included.

Latest Facebook bug exposed up to 6.8 million users’ private photos

An API bug recently left an impact on Facebook users. Though the issue has since been fixed, some of the apps on the platform had a wrongful access to consumers photos for 12 days between September 13 and September 25. 

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.

Our favorite Chrome themes add some much-needed pizzazz to your boring browser

Sometimes you just want Chrome to show a little personality and ditch the grayscale for something a little more lively. Lucky for you, we've sorted through the Chrome Web Store to find best Chrome themes available.

Don't keep typing the same thing -- learn to copy and paste with these shortcuts!

Looking for useful Windows keyboard shortcuts? The most common are the cut, copy, paste and undo shortcuts compatible with all kinds of tasks. They can save you an awful lot of time if you learn how to use them.

You can now get a Surface Laptop 2 for $800 at the Microsoft Store

Along with deals on other variants, starting configurations of Microsoft's Surface Laptop 2 are now going for $800 online at its retail store, cutting $200 from its usual $1,000 starting price. 

Need a monitor for professional photo-editing? These are the very best

Looking for the best monitor for photo editing? You'll need to factor in brightness, color accuracy, color gamut support and more. Fortunately, we've rounded up the best ones for you, to help you make an educated purchase.

HDR monitors are beginning to have an impact. Here are the best you can buy

HDR isn't the most common of PC monitor features and is often charged at a premium, but the list of available options is growing. These are the best HDR monitors you can buy right now.

You’ll soon be able to scribble all over PDFs on your Chromebook

Chrome OS users may soon be able to doodle all over their PDF documents with the possible addition of a new feature in Chrome OS' PDF viewer. The annotation feature is expected to allow users to hand draw or write over their documents.