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Intel’s new Optane SSDs are superfast and can even work as extra RAM

Intel’s new Optane SSDs are superfast and can even work as extra RAM

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Intel’s new Optane SSDs are finally coming to regular PCs with the Optane SSD 900P. They’re superfast, with Intel claiming sequential read speeds up to 2,500 MB/s and sequential write speeds at up to 2,000 MB/s, via ZDNet.

If you haven’t been keeping up with all the latest and greatest in solid-state hard drive technology, Optane is Intel’s branding for products that use the company’s 3D XPoint memory, which it claims offers denser storage than DRAM, while still being dramatically faster than a traditional NAND SSD. In other words: it’s trying to bridge the gap between the high-speed but low-capacity flash memory your computer uses for RAM and the high-capacity but relatively low speed memory used in SSDs.

Intel says that its Optane chips are so fast they can actually complement the RAM already in your computer for a single, giant pool of memory, and at a dramatically lower cost than, say, buying a couple hundred gigabytes of DRAM (which would be technically faster than Intel’s combined approach, even if it would also be almost obscenely expensive).

Intel released smaller M.2 Optane Memory sticks in 16GB and 32GB capacities earlier this year, designed to complement an existing hard drive and offer SSD-like speeds on older platforms. But for a full 3D XPoint-powered SSD, the offerings until now were limited to the Optane DC P4800X, a $1,520 SSD designed primarily for server and enterprise use, not speeding up your gaming PC.

The Optane SSD 900P will be available in two storage capacities: a $389 280GB model (that is available in either U.2 or HHL form factors), and a $599 480GB version (which only comes in HHL).