Intel adds PCIe 4.0 support to Optane SSDs

Intel is adding PCIe 4.0 support to its gen 2 Optane SSDs.

This was revealed in a tweet by Frank Ober, a data centre solutions architect at Intel, and first reported by Storage Newsletter.

Optane is Intel’s 3D XPoint storage-class or persistent memory. It is bit-addressable, like DRAM, near DRAM in speed, and more expensive than slower, block-addressable NAND.

Current Intel Optane SSD 905p and M15 products have a PCIe v3.0 interface and use first generation Optane, Intel’s 3D XPoint memory media. Intel announced second generation Optane technology in September last year. This new version is some 50 per cent faster than gen 1.

The PCIe 4.0 interface specifies a 16Gbit/s data link speed with up to 16 links or lanes, delivering 64GB/sec, double PCIe gen 3’s 32GB/sec maximum.

Combining gen 2 Optane with PCIe 4.0 will increase data access speed nicely. It should enable Optane SSDs to at match and probably exceed the speed of Gigabyte’s PCIe 4 Aorus SSD ,which streams data at up to 5GB/sec.

Intel’s gen 1 Optane M15 gumstick drive tops out at  just 2GB/sec. A gen 2 Optane M15 with PCIe 4.0 support may well beat the Gigabyte drive.