Intel Optane 800p & 900p review: 3D XPoint for the regular consumer!

Extreme performance at an extreme price

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Introduction

Earlier this year we tested the first enterprise-SSD from the Intel Optane series which uses the all-new 3D XPoint memory. That SSD broke almost all speed records, but was still extremely expensive. With the Optane 800p and 900p, Intel wants to bring this new technology to regular consumers too, at a much more affordable price.


If you are shopping for a high-end SSD, you will soon end up at a model with nvme. Although that protocol allows for much higher performance in scenarios with long queues and many threads, the same nand-memory chips are still used for those SSDs. This flash memory has barely gotten any faster over the years, because manufacturers primarily focused on reducing production costs and increasing (or maintaining) sustainability.

Intel Optane 900p 480GB (HHHL)
The Intel Optane 900p is the consumer version of the Optane DC P4800X..

Intel and Micron's 3D XPoint memory is a radical turnaround in that respect, because for the first time in years we are dealing with a truly new type of memory. According to the manufacturers, 3D XPoint should be seen as a layer between regular storage and your random access memory, but the fact is that, especially for tasks with less 'depth', it allows for much higher speeds than conventional flash memory-based SSDs.

The Optane DC P4800X still costs more than 266 pence per gigabyte, or more than 1772 pounds / 2000 euros for the 750GB model. Unless you have won the lottery it is far out of reach for the regular consumer; popular sata-SSDs only cost 22 pence per gigabyte and even something like a Samsung 970 Evo still costs less than 35 pence per gigabyte.

Intel Optane 800p 120GB
The Intel 800p is available in capacities of 60 and 120 GB.

In order to get Optane into the living room – at least the living room of the hardware enthusiast - Intel has introduced two more expensive series, namely the Optane 800p in capacities of 60 and 120 GB and the 900p in 280 and 480 GB. Unfortunately we did not receive them from the manufacturer, but luckily Megekko.nl was willing to lend us the new Optanes- many thanks! We have tested them extensively with our newly introduced test method and in this review you will read our findings.

  • Intel Optane 800p
  • Intel Optane 900p

In short

The Intel Optane 800p is a semi-affordable SSD with 3D XPoint memory. Unfortunately because of its lower price you do not get the maximum performance. Bear in mind that the capacities are also too limited to use it as a true SSD replacement.

  • Still very expensive when compared with regular SSDs
  • Write performance is a lot lower than with the more expensive models
  • Limited capacities make the usability limited
  • Very high read speeds
  • Relatively affordable

In short

The Intel Optane 900p is the consumer version of the previously tested data centre Optane, but in our tests it is often even faster. The performance is very high and does not go down during heavy loads - this is definitely the future of the SSD. However, for the time being you do have to pay a serious premium for that future.

  • Still very expensive when compared with regular SSDs
  • Relatively high power consumption
  • Only available as PCI-E card or U.2-SSD
  • Sublime performance
  • Very fast, even at low queue-depths
  • Very consistent, no degradation during long term load
  • High guaranteed lifetime

Many thanks to Megekko.nl for making these SSDs available.


Also read these hard disk/ssd articles on Hardware.Info

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