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Micron Finally Rolls 3D XPoint SSD: X100 Billed as 'World's Fastest' with 2.5 Million IOPS and 9 GBps

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Micron announced its X100 SSD today, which its bills as the world's fastest SSD with 9GB/s of sequential performance in both read, write, and mixed workloads, and up to 2.5 million random IOPS. 

Micron touts the new PCIE 3.0 x16 device as delivering an impressive 8 microseconds of latency, which is faster than Intel's claimed 10 microseconds of latency from its Optane SSDs. The SSD is also notably faster at sequential and random performance than any of Intel's competing Optane devices.

Intel and Micron co-developed the revolutionary 3D XPoint storage media, which blends "DRAM-like" performance with a much lower price point and persistence (data remains on the storage device after power is removed). After the initial announcement in 2015, Intel went on to develop a wide range of 3D XPoint-powered devices, branded Optane, that encompass both storage and memory devices

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(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Micron initially announced QuantX, a series of high-performance SSDs that promised to upend the enterprise storage market, in 2016, but those drives never made it to market. In the interim, Micron and Intel have parted ways on joint 3D XPoint development, leaving Micron with no vehicle to sell it own 3D XPoint-infused devices on the open market. 

That changes today with the debut of Micron's X100 SSD. Here are the product highlights:

  • High-performance local storage - offers up to 2.5 million input/output operations per second (IOPs), more than three times faster than today’s competitive SSD offerings
  • Industry’s highest bandwidth - has more than 9GB/s bandwidth in read, write and mixed modes and is up to three times faster than today’s competitive NAND offerings
  • Ultralow latency - provides consistent read-write latency that is 11 times better than NAND SSDs
  • Application acceleration - enables two to four times the improvements in end-user experience for various applications with prevalent data center workloads
  • High-performance in small size storage - eliminates the need for overprovisioning storage for performance
  • Ease of adoption - because the Micron X100 SSD uses the standard NVMe interface, requires no changes to software to receive the full benefits of the product

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The back of the card reveals 16 emplacements for 3D XPoint packages, but it isn't clear if the SSD uses the first generation of the memory, or the soon-to-arrive second generation. 

We also see the X100 has an auxiliary 8-pin power connector, which means this drive will consume quite a bit of power. The cooling solution is passive and designed to take advantage of the linear airflow in servers. Micron isn't sharing specifics of its controller, though we are told it is a proprietary design. 

Unfortunately, Micron's X100 series is aimed at the data center for now, meaning we won't see an equivalent for the desktop market in the near term. However, with Micron now finally making headway on its own 3D XPoint-infused SSDs, we hope that will change in the future. Micron says it is sampling the drives to early customers now, but hasn't shared information about the various capacity points or pricing. 

Paul Alcorn

Paul Alcorn is the Deputy Managing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage and enterprise hardware.