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

Extreme performance at an extreme price


Intel Optane 900p 280GB & 480GB

You may be familiar with this Intel Optane 900p because it is clearly the consumer-focused brother of the Optane DC 4800X that we have tested before. The specified performance is therefore very similar to that of the Optane DC 4800X; only the write speed is slightly lower.  It is available as a 2.5" drive with a U.2 connector or as a PCI Express 3.0 x4 form factor. We tested both of these for the 280GB version; for the 480GB model we only tested only the PCI-E card.

As mentioned earlier in this article, the Optane 900p uses a more luxurious SLL3D controller than the one found on the 800p. In this case, seven channels are used to communicate with the existing memory chips; in the case of the 480GB model, this is done with five 3D XPoint-dies per channel. The 280GB model has three per channel. Thus, with the 900p 280GB we see a number of empty spaces on the pcb, while with the 480GB variant some positions contain two Optane chips stacked on top of each other.

Intel Optane 900p 480GB (HHHL) Intel Optane 900p 480GB (HHHL)

No advanced power failure protection is required due to the lack of dram-cache in combination with the other characteristics of 3D XPoint. Furthermore, the enormous guaranteed lifetime of 5 to 9 petabyte of write commandos is something that stands out as it is a lot more than what other high-end SSDs have.

Intel does apply serious overprovisioning in order to achieve this. Each 3D XPoint-die is 128 gigabit, or 16GB. A quick calculation shows that the Optane 900p 280GB with its 21 dies has a total capacity of 336GB. Due to the nature of the memory, there is no need for anything like an slc-cache, which leads us to suspect that the overprovisioning is being used for error correction and to replace any broken memory cells.

Intel Optane 900p 280GB (U.2) Intel Optane 900p 280GB (U.2)

Intel has implemented hardware-based 256-bit encryption, but the Optane 900p is not compatible with eDrive or Opal 2.0. As we stated before, it is available in two form factors, namely as a plug-in card with pci-express interface and as a 2.5" drive with U.2. However, that standard seems to follow sata-express as the next forgotten storage standard, as we hardly find such connectors on the latest generations of motherboards. If you are considering to purchase one of these the PCI-E version seems to be the best option.

Intel also showed the Optane 905p at Computex, an SSD that is technically very similar to the 900p but will also be available as an m.2 module for the first time. For this purpose, the controller is physically smaller, because the 900p simply does not fit in in an m.2 slot. There will also be a 960GB version of the 905p as a PCI-E card, but the Optane 905p will not offer the same capacities and form factors as the 900p. Of course we will do our best to test an Optane 905p as soon as possible.

Product nameOptane 900p 280GB (HHHL)Optane 900p 280GB (U.2)Optane 900p 480GB (HHHL)
DetailsProduct infoProduct infoProduct info
Quoted capacity280 GB280 GB480 GB
InterfacePCI-Express 3.0 x4PCI-Express 3.0 x4PCI-Express 3.0 x4
SSD controllerIntel SLL3DIntel SLL3DIntel SLL3D
Measured capacity260.83 GB260.83 GB447.13 GB
Native Command Queuing
TRIM support
4K native mode
Flash chip brandIntelIntelIntel
Transistor size flash chips20 nm20 nm20 nm
Warranty5 year(s)5 year(s)5 year(s)
Total Bytes Written / TBW5110 TB5110 TB8760 TB
NAS hard disk
Read (sequentially)2500 MB/s2500 MB/s2500 MB/s
Write (sequentially)2000 MB/s2000 MB/s2000 MB/s
Read (4k random)550000 IOps550000 IOps550000 IOps
Write (4k random)500000 IOps500000 IOps500000 IOps
Physical properties
Form factorPCIe x4 add-in card2.5 inchPCIe x4 add-in card
Height56 mm14.8 mm56 mm
Weight241 gram144 gram241 gram
Encryption / security
Self encrypting drive (SED)
TCG Opal 2.0 compatible
Microsoft eDrive compatible
Protection against power loss
Encryption256 bit AES256 bit AES256 bit AES

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