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Intel Optane SSD DC P5800X Review: The Fastest SSD Ever Made

The fastest just got faster

Intel Optane SSD DC P5800X
Editor's Choice
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Comparison Products

Today, we put the 800GB Intel Optane SSD DC P5800X up against some of the best consumer SSDs on the market. We include the Samsung 980 Pro, WD Black SN850, and Corsair MP600 Pro with Phison’s E18 NVMe controller, as well as a few top competing PCIe 3.0 SSDs, too. These include the SK hynix Gold P31, Samsung 970 EVO Plus, Crucial P5, and a 1.5TB Optane SSD 905P

Game Scene Loading - Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy XIV Shadowbringers is a free real-world game benchmark that easily and accurately compares game load times without the inaccuracy of using a stopwatch.

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With their near-instant response times, Optane SSDs lead the pack. While the 905P was over a second faster than the WD_Black SN850, the P5800X loaded the level the fastest. Loading all the levels in under 10 seconds on average, the P5800X is the undisputed champ in this comparison.

Transfer Rates – DiskBench

We use the DiskBench storage benchmarking tool to test file transfer performance with a custom dataset. We copy a 50GB dataset including 31,227 files of various types, like pictures, PDFs, and videos to a new folder and then follow-up with a reading test of a newly-written 6.5GB zip file.

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With roughly a 400MBps lead over the WD Black SN850 and 500MBps lead over the Samsung 980 Pro, large and complex file copies go quickly when you’re using Intel’s DC 5800X. It delivered not only the fastest copy result we have seen - twice as fast as the 905P - but also the fastest read performance thus far.

Trace Testing – PCMark 10 Storage Test

PCMark 10 is a trace-based benchmark that uses a wide-ranging set of real-world traces from popular applications and everyday tasks to measure the performance of storage devices. The quick benchmark is more relatable to those who use their PCs for leisure or basic office work, while the full benchmark relates more to power users.

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Based on the PCMark 10 results, the Intel Optane SSD DC 5800X is in a league of its own in terms of user responsiveness. It delivers almost twice the score of the closest competitor in both the Quick and Full System Drive benchmarks, that closest competitor being the 905P.

The P8500X is a low latency monster that not only can handle enterprise and data center workloads, but also excel in delivering snappy performance when tasked with simple everyday use by a single user.

Synthetic Testing - ATTO / CrystalDiskMark

ATTO and CrystalDiskMark (CDM) are free and easy-to-use storage benchmarking tools that SSD vendors commonly use to assign performance specifications to their products. Both of these tools give us insight into how each device handles different file sizes.

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The P5800X leads at small block sizes, but the WD Black SN850 takes lead after files sizes reach 128KB. We see a similar trend in the write workload, too. The P5800X delivers the fastest overall sequential performance in the group, though it isn't the fastest at QD1 write tests with 1MB blocks.  

Measuring just 0.009ms, the 5800X’s random read speed is four to five times faster than both the Samsung 980 Pro and WD_Black SN850. Furthermore, random performance peaks at 1.56/1.34 million random read/write IOPS when loaded up with enough threads on our Rocket Lake test bench.

Sustained Write Performance and Cache Recovery

Official write specifications are only part of the performance picture. Most SSDs implement a write cache, which is a fast area of (usually) pseudo-SLC programmed flash that absorbs incoming data.  Sustained write speeds can suffer tremendously once the workload spills outside of the cache and into the "native" TLC or QLC flash. We use iometer to hammer the SSD with sequential writes for 15 minutes to measure both the size of the write cache and performance after the cache is saturated. We also monitor cache recovery via multiple idle rounds.

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One of the main benefits of the Optane P5800X is that it is a byte-addressable device, meaning it doesn't need to perform garbage collection like flash-based SSDs. There's also no need for a cache. This enables incredible sustained performance, and unlike regular SSDs, that applies even until the drive is filled with data. Our 800GB sample wrote 5.5 TB of data at an average speed of 6.1 GBps within a 15 min span; that's roughly seven times its own capacity without any performance degradation.

Power Consumption and Temperature

We use the Quarch HD Programmable Power Module to gain a deeper understanding of power characteristics. Idle power consumption is an important aspect to consider, especially if you're looking for a laptop upgrade. Some SSDs can consume watts of power at idle while better-suited ones sip just milliwatts. Average workload power consumption and max consumption are two other aspects of power consumption, but performance-per-watt is more important. A drive might consume more power during any given workload, but accomplishing a task faster allows the drive to drop into an idle state more quickly, ultimately saving energy.

We also monitor the drive’s temperature via the S.M.A.R.T. data and an IR thermometer to see when (or if) thermal throttling kicks in and how it impacts performance. Bear in mind that results will vary based on the workload and ambient air temperature.

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The 800GB DC P5800X is more than twice as power-efficient as the 1.5TB Optane SSD 905P but lags the other top-performing PCIe 4.0 competitors. In addition, the P5800X has high idle power consumption and sucks over 15W under load. 

Even though it sucks down roughly 3.3W of power at idle, the large form factor and fins on the enclosure keep temps cool under standard consumer workloads without the need for forced airflow. However, Intel still recommends airflow when using these SSDs, especially the larger 1.6 TB model. At idle, our sample measured roughly 35C without airflow in a 24C environment. 

After filling with multiple simultaneous file transfers while simultaneously running the Crystal Disk Mark benchmark on the SSD, the P5800X peaked at only 61C. We didn't observe any throttling, even after writing more than twice the capacity of the drive. However, the U.2 form factor has greater thermal mass, so it doesn't cool down as quickly as the much smaller M.2 alternatives. 

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