Asus Zen­screen Go MB16AP

In­tel ups Op­tane’s ante once again

APC Australia - - Contents - Jeremy Laird

Déjà vu all over again? Yup, it’s an­other Op­tane drive from In­tel. It’s an in­trigu­ing con­tra­dic­tion that Op­tane has us at one and the same time wondering how on earth the com­pany can put out yet an­other spin on its Op­tane prod­uct line so soon, and also con­sid­er­ing whether, with this par­tic­u­lar drive, Op­tane is fi­nally go­ing to ab­so­lutely, un­am­bigu­ously de­liver on its im­mense hy­po­thet­i­cal prom­ise.

En­ter the In­tel Op­tane 905p. As the name sug­gests, it’s a re­fresh of the 900p pre­mium con­sumer prod­uct. That makes it ei­ther a sec­ond or third-gen­er­a­tion 3D Xpoint tech­nol­ogy im­ple­men­ta­tion, depend­ing on how you look at it. What­ever, as the tech ma­tures, ex­pec­ta­tions harden. A lit­tle lee­way is in­evitable for a rad­i­cal new tech­nol­ogy, but Op­tane has been around long enough that we’d like to be able to say it’s just darned fast, as op­posed to point­ing your at­ten­tion at the low la­tency and hope you don’t no­tice the patchy band­width. The prob­lem, of course, is that the un­der­ly­ing 3D Xpoint chips re­main first gen­er­a­tion.

But never mind, what’s new with the 905p? It’s been around for a few months in 480GB and 960GB vari­ants, but this huge 1.5TB ver­sion is very much the lat­est thing. Broadly, it’s a re­fine­ment of the ex­ist­ing 900p se­ries, rather than a rad­i­cal de­par­ture. There’s a mod­er­ately revised sev­en­chan­nel con­troller and firmware, still of In­tel’s own mak­ing, and the speeds and feeds are slightly up on the 900p. So, reads are now claimed to peak at 2.6GB/s, with writes at 2.2GB/s. Sim­i­larly, the IOPS rat­ings have crept up to 575K and 500K re­spec­tively for reads and writes.

The very lat­est flash drives can match or beat all those num­bers, of course, and some­times by a large mar­gin. Sam­sung’s 970 Pro is good for up to 3.5TB/s of se­quen­tial reads. Any­way, by the num­bers, the new 1.5TB 905p per­forms pretty much in line with ex­pec­ta­tions when it comes to se­quen­tial through­put, which means it’s fast, but not electrifying.

Of more in­ter­est are the 4K num­bers. Here the 905p puts in an ex­tremely strong 4K read per­for­mance of 123MB/s. That’s roughly twice as fast as the Sam­sung 970 Pro. On the other hand, the Sam­sung is about 70 per­cent faster for 4K writes. In our real-world in­ter­nal file copy test, it’s neck and neck, with both do­ing it in 29 sec­onds, which works out at slightly over 1GB/s of through­put. Im­pres­sively, the 905p will keep that rate up seem­ing in­def­i­nitely. We filled the drive up prior to test­ing, and it main­tained that per­for­mance for all 1.5TB.

You could ar­gue that sim­ple se­quen­tial tests don’t give much in­sight into real-world per­for­mance. In that sce­nario, the 905p’s neatly sym­met­ri­cal 4K per­for­mance and in­ter­nal file copy en­durance show its true real-world strengths. Ran­dom read per­for­mance is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant to the end user ex­pe­ri­ence, and it’s where the 905p is strong­est. So, the num­bers still aren’t all there, but, sub­jec­tively, there prob­a­bly isn’t a drive that will make your PC feel faster than the 905p.


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