Intel is taking Optane to the next level with its SSD P5800X, which it bills as the fastest SSD in the world. The next-gen Optane SSD leverages the PCIe 4.0 interface, second-gen Optane media, and a new SSD controller to deliver truly astounding performance and endurance specifications.
Compared to the first-gen Optane DC P4800X, Intel says the 5800X offers an impressive 3X performance improvement in random read/write workloads, peaking at 1.5 million 4K random IOPS, and 3X more sequential performance at a peak of 7.2 GB/s.
The drive also delivers up to 4.6 million IOPS in random 512B workloads (useful for certain types of caching workloads) and up to 1.8 million IOPS in mixed workloads.
Additionally, the drive offers up to 67% more write endurance than the first-gen P4800X, and now peaks at a staggering 100 drive writes per day (DWPD). That also makes it the most endurant SSD on the market. For perspective, there are very few 'regular' NAND-based SSDs that offer even 10DWPD of endurance, meaning the P5800X is truly in a class of its own.
If Intel follows its standard practice, we should see consumer variants of these SSDs come to market, let's see what performance looks like.
The drive leverages Intel's second-gen Optane media, which comes with two decks/layers instead of one, and a new PCIe 4.0 x4 SSD controller that allows the company to finally break the shackles of the PCIe 3.0 interface.
Intel isn't sharing the finer-grained technical specifications behind the P5800X's new PCIe 4.0 SSD controller. Still, we know that the drives will come in the tried-and-true U.2 form factor in capacities of 400GB, 800GB, 1.6TB, and 3.2TB, marking a healthy capacity increase that is more than twice the storage of the previous-gen DC P4800X.
Just like any other Optane-powered drive, the exotic underlying 3D XPoint technology provides far more speed and endurance than any NAND-based SSD, delivering a level of performance that lands between flash SSDs and system memory. The drives are also designed to offer a superior quality of service (QoS) over competing NAND-based SSDs, meaning performance consistency is a key focus area. Intel's first-gen P4800X had already established itself as the most consistent SSD on the market, but Intel says the P5800X extends that with up to a 40% better QoS in 4K random read workloads.
Perhaps one of the most valuable aspects of an Optane SSD is its ability to deliver tremendously consistent performance even while it is under heavy load. As outlined in the slide above, the P5800X reaches new heights with more than 8 GB/s of throughput while under heavy load, easily outclassing all NAND-based SSDs on this logarithmic scale and also notching a substantial lead over its previous-gen counterpart. Intel claims the drive can deliver less than 66us of 99.999th percentile latency, which is a massive step forward over the first-gen DC P4800X, not to mention standard SSDs.
The Optane Memory P5800X can even outstrip what we typically classify as the throughput limit of the PCIe 4.0 bus. That comes as a byproduct of the drive's ability to leverage PCIe's bi-directional interface. By saturating both sides of the interface at full line-rate read and write performance, the drive delivers even higher performance during mixed workloads. We can see that ability in the 70/30 read/write workload outlined above where the SSD peaked at 2 million IOPS. This allows the drive to deliver 3.7x more performance than the previous-gen model in mixed random workloads.
Intel hasn't released pricing information yet, but the company says the drives are already shipping to OEM companies. Naturally, as a standards-based NVMe block-addressable device, these SSDs will also be compatible with AMD's EPYC processors.
On the other end of the performance spectrum, Intel also announced new QLC SSDs today, along with its plans to debut 5-bit-per-cell PLC flash, a first, in the near future. You can read about that here.