SAN JOSE, Calif. — On April 24, Intel will start selling M.2 cards using its 3D XPoint memories as accelerators for PC hard drives. They become the second 3DXP products from Intel following solid-state drives for servers announced earlier this month.
Intel claims the new cards will create more responsive PCs, improving performance across a wide range of tasks. When the cards were announced at CES, one analyst claimed they lack “a clear benefit to the average PC purchaser” and are “likely to appeal only to enthusiasts with an unlimited budget.”
Intel lists the products at $44 for a 16 GByte card and $77 for a 32 GByte version. They use an NVMe 1.1 interface to deliver a typical sequential read latency of six microseconds and 16 microseconds for writes. Intel lists endurance for the cards as 100 GByte writes/day.
More than 130 motherboards are already available that will accept the M.2 cards. Before June OEMs and motherboard makers will start selling products with the cards.
Intel said the cards will boost performance of a wide range of common tasks. The cards work exclusively with Intel’s seventh-generation Core processors and use Intel software to make a hard disk and the M.2 card appear as a single storage volume to an otherwise unmodified Windows 10 PC.
The cards debut as Intel’s rival, Advanced Micro Devices, rolls out its Ryzen 7 x86 processors announced in late February. The new CPUs aim to deliver enthusiast-level PC performance at significantly lower prices.
The Optane cards will give price-insensitive users an alternative to the AMD chips if they want the highest performance available. Whether more high-end users vote to save money or increase performance will be one of the key questions for the PC market in 2017.
Intel says Optane delivers modest gains on many benchmarks but an overall sense of better responsiveness. Click to enlarge. Source: Intel
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