Intel hasn't officially announced it yet, but a refresh of their flagship consumer SSD is on the way. The Intel Optane SSD 905P will feature slightly improved performance and power consumption compared to the Optane SSD 900P, and will be available in higher capacities than Intel's current consumer Optane products.

Over the past week, several sightings have pointed toward an imminent announcement of the 905P. Several third-party product listings have appeared on Newegg and Amazon. A few ASRock motherboard product pages include diagrams indicating that their M.2 slots are "Intel Optane 905P Ready"— a rather meaningless statement since Optane SSDs are standard NVMe drives the same as any flash-based drive. Finally, an official Intel product brief for the 905P has been located on their website. This product brief covers a 960GB add-in card and 480GB 2.5" U.2 drive. The existing Optane SSD 900P is available as a 280GB add-in card or U.2 drive and a 480GB add-in card, so the new 905P models don't appear to replace any of the existing 900P models. Late last year there were signs that Intel was going to release 960GB and 1.5TB models of the 900P, but they never went up for sale.

The new Optane SSD 905P appears to be a fairly minor refinement of the 900P. Performance specs have improved by 5-10% across the board. We do not think this new SSD is using second-generation 3D XPoint memory yet. Instead, the improvements likely stem from the SSD controller and firmware. Earlier this year we spotted an updated Optane SSD controller on Intel's new Optane SSD DC P4801X enterprise M.2 SSD. The original SLL3D Optane SSD controller used for the 900P and enterprise P4800X was too large to fit on a 22mm-wide M.2 card, so a repackaging was necessary and a new stepping of the controller die is likely. The P4801X and (we presume) the 905P still feature the same basic 7-channel controller architecture, but Intel has spent another year working on performance.

Intel Optane SSD Specifications
Product Optane SSD 905P Optane SSD 900P
Capacity 960GB 480GB 480 GB 280 GB
Controller Intel SLM58? Intel SLL3D
Memory Intel 3D XPoint Intel 128Gb 3D XPoint
Interface PCIe 3.0 x4 PCIe 3.0 x4
Form Factor HHHL Add-in card 2.5" 15mm U.2 HHHL Add-in card HHHL Add-in card or
2.5" 15mm U.2
Sequential Read 2600 MB/s 2500 MB/s
Sequential Write 2200 MB/s 2000 MB/s
Random Read IOPS 575k IOPS 550k
Random Write IOPS 550k IOPS 500k
Average Power Consumption Read 10.7 W 7.6 W 8 W
Write 14.8 W 12.4 W 13 W
Burst Power Consumption Read 11.2 W 7.7 W 14 W
Write 16.4 W 12.8 W
Idle Power 6.0 W 3.3 W 5 W
Operating Temperature 0°C–85°C 0°C–70°C
Write Endurance 10 DWPD 10 DWPD
Warranty 5 years 5 years
Recommended Price ? $599 ($1.25/GB) $389 ($1.39/GB)

The power consumption ratings of the 480GB 905P are a bit below that of the 480GB 900P, and the upper limit of the operating temperature range has been raised from 70 to 85 degrees C. These both suggest that these new 905P models are using the updated controller that's intended to enable M.2 versions. No official specs have been found for the M.2 version of the 905P, but it is most likely going to feature lower capacities more in line with the existing 900P models, and will probably need to be a double-sided M.2 card in order to fully populate all 7 channels of the SSD controller—the enterprise M.2 P4801X is both double-sided and 110mm long for the base 375GB capacity.

Intel Optane Product Lineup
Capacity Consumer Products Enterprise Products
16 GB Optane Memory (M.2)
$27.99 ($1.75/GB)
32 GB Optane Memory (M.2)
$58.94 ($1.84/GB)
58 GB 800P (M.2)
$111.48 ($1.92/GB)
118 GB 800P (M.2)
$198.10 ($1.68/GB)
280 GB 900P (AIC, U.2)
$339.99 ($1.21/GB)
375 GB   P4800X (AIC, U.2)
P4801X (M.2 22110)
480 GB 900P (AIC)
$549.00 ($1.14/GB)
905P (U.2)
750 GB   P4800X (AIC, U.2)
960 GB 905P (AIC)  
1.5 TB   P4800X (AIC, U.2)

 (Entries in bold have not been officially launched by Intel but their existence has been confirmed by Intel. Planned release dates are unknown.)

In addition to the above products, a new generation of low-capacity Optane Memory cache drives is on the way. The Optane Memory M10 is already listed by at least one third-party seller on both Amazon and Newegg, and Intel has indicated they will be providing review samples soon. The M10 is expected to be a more mobile-oriented update or replacement for the initial Optane Memory, incorporating the idle power management that the Optane SSD 800P introduced. The Optane Memory M10 is expected to add a 64GB capacity option and may include a shorter M.2 card than the M.2 2280 size used for the existing Optane Memory and Optane SSD 800P.

To complement the cache-oriented drives, Intel has updated their Optane Memory caching software for Windows. The Optane Memory functionality built in to their RST version 16 drivers released in February added the ability to cache a drive other than the Windows boot volume. This functionality is available both for 300-series chipsets supporting Cannon Lake and Coffee Lake processors, and for the existing 200-series Kaby Lake platforms that supported the original Optane Memory. No motherboard firmware update is required to use the data drive acceleration mode of the new Optane Memory drivers.

Sources: Reddit posts, ASRock, Intel

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  • MajGenRelativity - Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - link

    I hope that the 905P can bring prices down. It's probably wistful thinking, but it would be nice. I'd like to pick one up at the beginning of next year, and prices will definitely be impacting if I can squeeze it in, or drop it in favor of other key upgrades.
  • Flunk - Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - link

    I was just about to say the same thing. Considering how the Samsung 970 EVO performs and assuming the 970 Pro will perform at least a little better, they have a lot of competition from lower-cost but nearly as high performing NAND flash drives.

    I don't think many are willing to pay more than double for the performance difference, especially considering those fast NAND-based drives are essentially so fast that they significantly outstrip the performance needs of current desktop applications (possible exception being video editing).
  • CheapSushi - Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - link

    For tasks like video editing, definitely go with NAND based NVMe, since it's usually better at sustained, sequential, high queue-depth work. But there simply is no real match at what 90% of the computer is doing at low queue depths, latency & ramp up, endurance, not losing performance due to how filled up it is, etc wise that Optane offers; when a NAND NVMe does get close, it's purely because of the RAM on the NAND drive.
  • PhrogChief - Wednesday, May 2, 2018 - link

    3d xpoint was supposed to be the future. It's been a SLOW rollout to say the least. Hope Intel gets it's groove back soon with all their missteps lately.
  • zepi - Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - link

    I wonder how these compare with something like fusion-io cards. I suppose that is the real competitor for these.
  • MajGenRelativity - Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - link

    Admittedly, I only did some brief poking around for fusion-io, which means my knowledge on it is limited. However, it seems like striping I/O across a wide number of NAND dies. Optane was designed to be lower latency, not necessarily high sequential access speeds. I might be wrong, but I don't think it's quite right as a competitor to fusion-io
  • CheapSushi - Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - link

    The two things special about the Fusion-IO was that it doesn't actually have a controller on it the same way most drives do now; it's run by the CPU and that it uses SLC NAND with less RAM being the crutch. Relying on the CPU more in many cases actually makes the whole thing worse performance wise. It's not a competitor for it at this point. Z-NAND, from Samsung is the real competitor since also SLC based (using MLC/TLC like SLC) and special sauce with their excellent controllers; closer to performance but cheaper.
  • Drazick - Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - link

    I'm happy to see support for U.2 (2.5").
    Those M.2 based cards impose too many drawbacks for Desktop Computer.
    They are targeting laptops.

    For desktop we need something much less thermally limited and U.2 seems to be better.
  • Death666Angel - Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - link

    It really depends, doesn't it. I don't think my regular workload will run into thermal limits with M.2 cards. And I appreciate the tideness of it, not having data and power cables cluttering up my SFF system (mATX, but still small). Remember, NUC style PCs can still be called desktop and they are a much different beast to workstation class dual socket machines.
  • Drazick - Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - link

    Well, Let me rephrase it. M.2 is the right compromise for small form factors.
    For large form factors, not limited by space, we better have a more thermal robust option.

    U.2 seems good and I'd like to see more drives in that format.

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