3D XPoint Finally Arrives For Mainstream UsersIntel has finally launched an Optane SSD for the mainstream market, the Intel Optane SSD 800P. The Intel Optane SSD 800P series is available as M.2 2280 single-sided 'gumsticks' that use the PCIe 3.0 x2 interface. Only two capacities are available, so you get your choice of a 58GB drive for $99 or a 118GB for $199. These won't be large enough to be the sole storage drive in an enthusiast or gamers PC, but they'll make for an ideal boot drive for a Windows 10-base system. The smaller capacities makes the Intel Optane SSD 800P series affordable, but the performance is still solid. Intel rated the 800P series at QD4 with sequential read speeds of up to 1450 MB/s and sequential write speeds of up to 640 MB/s. When it comes to 4K Random Read/Write performance the performance numbers are even more impressive with 250,000 IOPS read and 140,000 IOPS write. Those performance numbers are topped off with a 365 TWB endurance rating or 200GB writes per day for the 118GB drive and both capacities are backed by a 5-year warranty. Power numbers also look good with just 8mW being used at idle (L1.2) and up to 3.74W at load. The Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB and 118GB drives look virtually identical as you can see from the image above. Both have two 3D Xpoint non-volatile memory chips under the label and are controlled by an Intel designed controller. Intel is not ready to divulge specifics on the controller though, so we don't have much to talk about on that front. The back of the Intel Optane 800P SSDs don't have any components on them. The performance on the Intel Optane SSD 800P on the 58GB and 118GB drive were pretty close to being the same. We couldn't find any significant performance difference between the two drives, so we'll be showing the results for the 118GB model to keeps the charts from being overly complicated. Let's take a look at some 800P benchmarks!
The SSD Benchmark Test System & TRIM SupportBefore we look at the numbers, let’s take a brief look at the test system that was used. All testing was done on a fresh install of Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (version 1709 build 16299) and benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running. This means windows defender, windows update, disk fragmentation and everything else that would interfere with testing was disabled. Windows 10 also had the power option set to high performance and we also disabled c-states and Turbo mode on the Intel Core i5-8400 to ensure our numbers are spot on and repeatable. The Intel Z370 platform that we used to test the storage drives was based around the ASUS ROG STRIX Z370-F Gaming motherboard with BIOS 0607 that came out on February 2nd, 2018. We used Intel Chipset Driver v10.1.1.45, Intel Management Engine Interface v126.96.36.1995 and Intel RST v188.8.131.525 drivers. This is important to point out as they include some of the fixes for Meltdown and Spectre design flaws that have recently rocked the PC Market. The Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 16GB 3200MHz memory kit was run with CL15 memory timings and a Samsung SSD 850 PRO 512GB SATA SSD was used as the primary drive.
Intel Z370 Test Bench
|Intel LGA 1151 Test Platform|
|Intel Core i5-8400|
|ASUS STRIX Z370-F Gaming|
|Corsair Vengeange LPX 3200MHz 16GB|
|Samsung 850 PRO 512GB|
|Windows 10 64-Bit|
CrystalDiskInfo 7.5.2 Readout:The readout on CrystalDiskInfo 7.5.2 shows that the Intel Optane SSD 800P Series supports S.M.A.R.T. and nothing else. The drives we received had firmware version K4110410 installed and that is the version that we used for general testing and benchmarking. The overall capacity shows up as 54.7GB on the Intel 800P 58GB and 110 GB on the Intel 800P in Windows 10 version 1709. Please remember that 1GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes. A certain portion of capacity may be used for system file and maintenance use, thus the actual available capacity may differ from the labeled total capacity. Does The Intel Optane SSD 800P Series Support Trim? Most SSDs today support the TRIM command, but we still run a quick test to ensure that the command is being properly passed through to the SSD and being done. A great free utility called TRIMCheck can be run to ensure that TRIM is functioning properly. According to TRIMCheck v0.7, the Intel Optane SSD 800P does not execute the TRIM command correctly and this is okay. The new 3D XPoint memory on these drives performs just as good when they are full as they are empty. That means advanced garbage collection algorithms and TRIM commands are not needed to be used to keep the drive running its best. In fact, we have been told by Intel that it is never necessary to perform a secure erase (sanitary erase) on an Optane drive to restore degraded performance! This is a big advantage for Optane 3D Xpoint based SSDs over NAND Flash based SSDs as they have steady state performance consistency. Let's have a look at the performance!
Anvil Storage Utilities
Anvil Storage Utilities 1.1.0Along with the move to a new platform, we decided to make a change in one of the benchmarks. There's a relatively new benchmark called Anvil Storage Utilities that is in beta but close to production. It's a very powerful tool that measures performance through a variety of tests which can be customized. Since some of the tests more or less duplicate what we get from other benchmarks we use already, we decided to use the IOPS (Input/Output Operations Per Second) testing on 4kb file sizes at a queue depth of 1, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64 and 128. IOPS performance is something SSD makers tout quite a bit but we generally don't do a lot of IOPS testing because frankly a lot of users can't relate to IOPS metrics as well and it tends to be more meaningful to the enterprise/server crowd. Still, it is another performance indicator with relevance and while some drives post good MB/s numbers, their IOPS scores aren't always commensurate which this test will prove out.
Anvil SSD Benchmark with 100% Compression (incompressible data):Benchmark Results: The Anvil SSD Benchmark showed that with 100% compression (incompressible data) the Intel Optane SSD 800P 118GB drive was able to achieve a score of 12,617.93 points. The drive topped out at 1,338 MB/s read and 601 MB/s write speeds when it came to the measured sequential performance test with 4MB file sizes.
Anvil SSD Applications Benchmark at 46% Compression:Benchmark Results: With the compression at 46% to help mimic real world applications better we found the overall score dropped just slightly down to 12,571.66 points. Benchmark Results: The Intel Optane SSD 800P and 900P series have hands down the best 4K Random Read performance. The QD1-QD4 is around 4-5x faster than most SATA III SSDs and PCIe NVMe SSDS. Low queue depth performance is great, but so is higher queue depth performance than you can see from the chart above. No other SSD that we have recently tested on the latest Intel Z370 platform can touch the Intel Optane SSD families on this benchmark. Benchmark Results: When it came to 4K Random Write performance, the Intel Optane SSD 800P 118GB failed to stand out from the other PCIe NVMe drives, but has respectable performance that was faster than the SATA III SSDs. When Intel briefed the storage editors they really hammered home that low queue depth performance was one of the most important performance areas of a drive. Intel had some employees volunteer for having their work PCs monitored and found that over a 10-day period that the queue depth distribution was mostly in the 1-3 range. In fact, they found almost 80% of reads was at QD1 and over 60% of writes were done there as well.
ATTO & CrystalDiskMark
ATTO v3.05ATTO is one of the oldest drive benchmarks still being used today and is still very relevant in the SSD world. ATTO measures transfers across a specific volume length. It measures raw transfer rates for both reads and writes and places the data into graphs that can be very easily interpreted. The test was run with the default runs of 0.5KB through 64MB transfer sizes with the total length being 256MB.
ATTO - Intel Optane 800P 118GB:Benchmark Results: ATTO showed the Intel Optane SSD 800P 118GB PCIe NVMe drive reaching speeds of up to 1458MB/s read and 652 MB/s write in the standard overlapped I/O benchmark. This drive is rated at up to 1450 MB/s max sequential read and 640 MB/s max sequential write at QD4. ATTO defaults testing to queue depth 4, so we managed to beat the rated speeds on our Intel Z370 based test platform. Benchmark Results: Compared to some other SATA III and PCIe NVMe SSDs we can quickly see three PCIe NVMe drives that we tested offer higher performance levels than the SATA drives at most file sizes. The Intel Optane SSD 800P 118GB drive broke free from the pack of SATA III SSDs at the 8KB file size and reached its rated speed at the 32KB file size and held that speed until it reached the 48MB file size. Benchmark Results: The Intel Optane SSD 800P performs just above the SATA III SSDs when it comes to sequential write performance as it tops out at around 650 MB/s. Other M.2 PCIe NVMe drives like the Samsung 960 EVO 250GB we used for testing are able to best the 800P in this benchmark test.
CrystalDiskMark 6.0.0 x64CrystalDiskMark is a small benchmark utility for drives and enables rapid measurement of sequential and random read/write speeds. Note that CDM only supports Native Command Queuing (NCQ) with a queue depth of 32 (as noted) and shows the highest score of five runs.
CystalDiskmark - Intel Optane 800P 118GB:Benchmark Results: The Intel Optane SSD 800P topped out at 1456 MB/s read and 650 MB/s write in the standard sequential write test that is down at QD32. Random 4K QD1 performance was 197 MB/s read and 157 MB/s write. Those 4K random performance numbers improved up to 305 MB/s read and 311 MB/s write at a queue depth of 32. Manually running the Sequential performance test at Q1T1 showed performance of 1165 MB/s read and 588 MB/s write. The sequential QD1 performance on this model is off the cards! Let's look at some other benchmarks!
AS SSD Benchmark
AS-SSD (2.0.6485.19676) Benchmark:We have been running the AS-SSD Benchmark app for over some time now and found that it gives a broad result set. The programmer has worked very hard on this software and continues to make updates often so if you use it, show him some love and send him a donation. There are now three tests that are found within the tool and we'll show the results from all three of them.
AS SSD - Intel Optane 800P 118GB:Benchmark Results: On AS SSD, the Intel Optane SSD 800P 118GB drive had an overall score of 3,309 points with sequential read speeds of 1335.90 MB/s and 611.58MB/s write. The 4K random results were at 152.75 MB/s read and 129.01 MB/s write.
AS SSD Copy - Intel Optane 800P 118GB:Benchmark Results: The copy benchmark test results were ranging from 553 MB/s in the Program to 655 MB/s in the ISO benchmark.
AS SSD Compression - Intel Optane 800P 118GB:Benchmark Results: For this benchmark chart you would ideally want to see a straight line as you don’t want any compression performance loss as the test goes from 0% compressible to 100% compressible data during the benchmark test period. The Intel Optane SSD 800P 118GB had a bit of a bumpy road result, but the dips were all very minor.
Linear Write and Real World File Transfer Testing
AIDA64 Disk BenchmarkWe've had some people ask for AIDA64 linear write tests to be done, so we fired that utility up to see what would happen. When you take a look at extended sustained write performance you'll see that the performance was fairly smooth at the start and then once the drive was almost 30% full the performance dropped. Performance was right around 610-615 MB/s at the start and then dropped to around 540 MB/s for the remainder of the test. The peak write speed seen was 615.6 MB/s with the low being 489.1 MB/s. It took 7 minutes and 11 seconds to completely fill this drive and the average speed was 565.6 MB/s. The performance drop was unexpected, but was likely due to the fact we had another utility open to monitor drive temperatures. We'll go back and re-test at a later date.
Real World File TransferBefore we wrap things up we wanted to see how real-world was when writing a movie folder containing seven 1080P movies over to the SSD. For this test, we are going to simply stress write performance by transferring over a 30.6GB folder of movies off of a PCIe NVMe SSD to the drive being tested to see how performance looks. The Intel Optane SSD 800P 118GB finished this test with a speed of 558.5 MB/s. No where near the blistering 1479 MB/s seen on the Intel Optane SSD 900P 480GB, but still faster than any SATA III SSD. It would be nice to see sequential write speeds a little faster on the 800P series as budget PCIe NVMe drives like the DREVO ARES 256GB drive are able to beat it by a fair bit and cost half the price and have higher storage capacity. The Random Read/Write performance is amazing on the 800P series, but it feels like a normal SATA III SSD when you are moving around large game, movie or audio directories. We'll talk more about that in the conclusion on the next page.
Final Thoughts & ConclusionsThe Intel Optane SSD 800P series offers impressive performance and does not require a custom Windows driver. At first we liked that, but then we found out that you can't change the Windows cache buffer settings for the Intel Optane SSD 800P series, so it might actually benefit from a custom driver down the road. If you like the performance numbers and aren't held up by the small capacities, then you'll likely be impressed and interested in this drive as a boot drive. Our audience will likely be most interested in the larger 118GB model for $199. When it comes to pricing the Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB drive runs $129 ($2.22 per GB) and the 118GB drive fetches $199 ($1.67 per GB). The small capacities and high cost of the components on the Intel Optane SSD 800P series will likely be a bit too much for many enthusiasts. Here is how the pricing looks like for bootable drives between 58GB and 512GB in capacity.
- Intel SSD 600P 256GB - $97.01
- Intel SSD 600P 512GB - $224.49
- Intel SSD 760P 256GB - $122.95
- Intel SSD 760P 512GB - $254.37
- Intel Optane 800P 58GB - $99
- Intel Optane 800P 118GB - $199
- Intel Optane 900P 280GB - $403.96
- Intel Optane 900P 480GB - $644.01