17 PCI-Express SSDs round-up: the fastest SSDs

NVMe tested in many different flavours


What about NAND alternatives?

Aside from NAND, the technology on which nearly every SSD is based, some manufacturers are working on completely new ways of solid state data storage. One of these is 3D XPoint, a joint venture of Intel and Micron. The intention is to create a middle ground between NAND and DRAM, with a new technology that combines faster response times and more IOps with non-volatility and a superior write capacity. 

A potential advantage is that 3D XPoint offers an extremely high amount of IOps at a low queue depth, but what the practical advantage of this is, remains to be seen. An altogether Optane-SSD for consumers is not yet available. However, you can already purchase caching-SSDs with 3D XPoint-memory. 

That it is an interesting new technology cannot be disputed, but there is reason enough to be skeptical about the actual usefulness of Optane. At the moment we see clear diminishing returns as storage becomes faster and faster. In practice this means that the speed of storage is usually no longer the bottleneck. 

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