Micron debuts wicked fast 3D XPoint SSD, goes toe-toe with Intel Optane

Micron today introduced the X100 – the world’s fastest SSD, it claims. Oh and it’s the company’s first 3D XPoint product, which makes the X100 the world’s first direct competitor to Intel Optane.

The X100 offers up to 2.5 million IOPS – “more than three times faster than today’s competitive SSD offerings,” Micron said today. But in reality there is only one competitor out there – Intel’s DC D4800X, which also uses 3D XPoint media.

Micron X100 video capture. Queue depth of 1 and comp 5 or 6 is probably Intel’s D4800X at 550,000 IOPS.

The X100 has an NVMe interface running across a PCIe Gen 3 x16 lane bus.

Micron X100 3D XPoint drive.

It provides 550,000 random read or write IOPS so Micron’s 3x faster claim is no exaggeration. Micron quotes eight microseconds for X100’s latency. This is two microseconds faster than Intel’s D4800X SSD.

That implies it is using second generation XPoint; the media Intel revealed in its Barlow Pass technology in September.

According to Micron the X100 has more than 9GB/sec bandwidth in read, write and mixed modes. The D4800X does up to 2.7GB/sec when reading and 2.2GB/sec when writing. By this measure the X100 looks eye-wateringly fast.

The nearest SSD is Samsung’s PM1733, which delivers 8GB/sec in AIC format using PCIe gen 4 and TLC 9x layer NAND; 9x meaning 90 to 99 layers. A PCIe Gen 4 X100 should go even faster than 9GB/sec.

Micron doesn’t reveal the X100’s capacity. However, gen 1 XPoint uses a 128Gbit die. Gen 2 XPoint doubles the layer count from gen 1’s 2 to 4. Images of the X100 card show 16 die placements. Assuming a gen 2 die has twice gen 1’s capacity that means the X100 will be a 512GB capacity product (16 x 256Gbit).

In a statement Sumit Sadana, chief business officer, said the X100 delivered “breakthrough performance improvements for applications and enabling entirely new use cases.”

Micron claims the X100 enables two to four times the improvements in end-user experience for various applications in data centres.

Check out Micron’s Youtube promo for the X100.

This looks like a full-length, half-height add-in-card (AIC) format.

It is in limited sampling mode with select customers this quarter. There’s no information on price or availability.

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