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Intel shows off an Optane Memory H20 drive, along with faster 670P SSDs

Intel may be selling its NAND division to storage rival SK Hynix, but the company will nonetheless introduce a newer, faster M.2 670P SSD, along with an updated Optane Memory drive.

Intel is introducing a 670P SSD drive that’s a sequel to its popular, low-priced 660P SSD. Like its predecessor, the 670P will be based on commodity QLC NAND using a new 144 layer design.

The new 670P will feature a next-gen controller and support for Pyrite 2.0 encryption, and is rated for 150 terabytes written per day for every 512GB of capacity. Intel said performance will improve thanks to better dynamic SLC cache, as well.

QLC drives store four bits of data per cell to cram as much data as possible into NAND memory. This increases capacity on the NAND, but tends to lead to sizeable performance hits. To compensate for this, drive makers configure the NAND’s unused capacity as SLC (single-level cell) as cache to improve performance.

Like most drives, the cache is dynamic and increases and decreases depending on the capacity. With the 670P, Intel said it improved this cache size to be about 11 percent larger over the previous 660P and 660P models. An empty 2TB 670P drive, for example, would have 280GB set aside as cache. About 24GB will be static cache that will remain constant no matter the drive’s capacity, and 256GB will be be set aside for dynamic cache. 

In the end, consumers should see higher performance from what has been a relatively low-cost class of SSDs. Intel said it’s selling three capacities in Q1 next year: 2TB, 1TB and 512GB. No prices were announced, but these drives will have to compete on an SSD playing field where there’s an oversupply of NAND.

670p 1 Intel

New Optane Memory H20 Drive

Intel’s other consumer SSD news is a new iteration to its Optane Memory H10 drive. Like its predecessor, the Optane Memory H20 will be built using up to 1TB of QLC NAND and 32GB of Intel’s Optane memory. Optane offers magnitudes lower latency compared to traditional NAND, but can’t match its density or price.

By using Optane memory as superfast tiered storage, Optane Memory drives can make huge dents in such mundane tasks as opening and launching applications and games. With the Optane Memory H20, Intel said it has upgraded the 3D XPoint Media, and has moved to the same newer 144 layer QLC NAND.

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