Intel excites enthusiasts with new Optane SSD, bores everyone else

Optane just sounds fast, doesn't it? It also sounds expensive.
Optane just sounds fast, doesn’t it? It also sounds expensive. Credit: Intel.

For the PC enthusiasts out there who do intensive modeling, video processing/rendering or competitive gaming, Intel’s recent announcement of their first PC/workstation-ready Optane SSD is kind of a big deal. For everyone else, though, the price of the 900P series drive is likely to only rile your indifference; at $1.25 to $1.39 per gigabyte, the drive is up to three times the price of a standard SSD.

If you do happen to fall into the enthusiast camp, and have some cash to burn, the drive is expected to provide exceptional performance for certain niche uses. With read/write speeds of 2.5/2 GB/s, it can move files around at speeds up to four times that of standard SSD. The drive is also said to be particularly robust, able to handle heavy usage with “22 times more endurance than other drives.”

This is all very impressive, but keep in mind with storage capacities of just 280 and 480 GB, you probably won’t be able to store a good-sized Steam library, or more than a just few hours of 4k HD video. Naturally, the Optane drive is meant to be paired with a larger, but slower HDD or SSD that can be used for longer-term storage, etc.

Nonetheless, Intel is clearly pushing the idea that the 900P is ideal for the gaming enthusiast, going as far as to team up with Roberts Space Industries, developer of the upcoming Star Citizen massively multi-player game. Lead developer and CEO Chris Roberts said that the game would be optimized to take advantage of the drive’s enhanced capabilities.

Although the price is still far too rich for my blood, it’s encouraging how quickly storage technology is advancing, even as processing power comes ever-closer to challenging Moore’s Law. Heck, in just a few years we may have drives capable of storing hundreds of terabytes. That’s slightly less boring.

 

Intel is really pushing this Star Citizen thing. No doubt more games will make use of this technology in the near future, however. Credit: Intel.


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