Our grandmother had a toy from her childhood we used to play with. The toy was essentially a tin can about half the size of a soda. Inside was a long cloth-covered spring that would leap out when you unscrewed the top. Like that toy, when the lid starts to open on Intel's unannounced SSDs, the information just leaps out.
We found more details about the upcoming Intel SSD 760p (small p for flash, large P for 3D XPoint) in the form of a datasheet. All capacities will feature a single-sided M.2 2280 form factor. We suspected Intel would be able to build most sizes with the components on one side but were not sure about the 2TB model. The component side of the drive will feature a cooling strip to help remove heat from the controller and spread it to a larger surface. Corsair used a similar strategy that embedded a layer of copper between the product label and the adhesive on the Force MP500.
The biggest news from our datasheet find covers performance. The Intel SSD 760p 128GB that should sell for ~$90 (about the same as a Samsung 850 EVO 120GB) and will virtually wipe SATA off the map for our readers. The drive will match the 100,000 IOPS performance for the best SATA SSDs but give users a 3x improvement in sequential reads. The sequential write speed of up to 650 MB/s is also higher than what SATA can offer.
The performance increases rapidly as we double the flash. The 250GB more than doubles the random performance and gets us near 3,000 / 1,300 MB/s read / write speeds. The three largest models—512GB, 1TB, and 2TB—share the same performance with 3,200 MB/s sequential read, 350,000 read and 280,000 write random IOPS.
The datasheet doesn't show the sequential write performance for the two largest models. Intel may not have built large enough 3D2 die stacks in each package when the document was made, or maybe these drives will ship with 512Gb die. We can only speculate at this point, but we'll know for sure when the products come to market.
You won't have to wait long: We reached out to some of our industry contacts and were told to expect to see drives in early February. (You can even purchase one today Taiwan if you know the right place to look.) We should learn more about the Intel SSD 760p sooner than later.