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Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review

Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review

3D XPoint Optane M.2 SSDs for mass consumption.

@JonCoulterSSD
Published Thu, Mar 8 2018 11:30 AM CST   |   Updated Thu, Jul 30 2020 4:20 PM CDT
Rating: 97%Manufacturer: Intel

Introduction, Drive Specifications, Pricing & Availability

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VIEW GALLERY - 107 IMAGES

Anyone that has been paying attention has been dazzled by the performance of Intel Optane SSDs. This is because where it matters most, Optane SSDs are delivering 5x more performance than conventional NAND-based SSDs. Optane Storage delivers a new level of system response that once experienced, you will never look at conventional NAND-based SSDs the same way again. There is fast, and then there is Optane fast.

Until today, you were limited to two choices if you wanted to go with Optane storage. You could either go with Optane Memory at up to 32GB and use it as a storage accelerator by putting it in front of a SATA HDD or SATA SSD. Or, you could break the bank and go with the world's fastest SSD, the Intel Optane SSD 900P. There was no middle ground if you wanted the power of Optane storage.

Optane Memory can be utilized as a stand-alone storage device, but at a maximum of 32GB it is a little too small for most people to consider using it for a boot drive. The enthusiast oriented 900P is not only more expensive than the average consumer is willing to spend for a boot drive, it only comes in form-factors that are probably the least popular in the consumer space.

Intel's newest Optane SSD, the Optane SSD 800P is designed to fill the gap between Optane Memory and the high-end workstation/enthusiast oriented Optane SSD 900P. The Intel Optane SSD 800P is intended to be utilized primarily as a boot only drive - meaning this is where your OS will take up residence and where your programs will be installed.

The Intel Optane SSD 800P will be initially offered at two capacity points, 58GB and 118GB. We don't know if Intel plans on releasing larger capacity points, but it's reasonable to assume so. 58GB and 118GB is typically plenty of capacity for a boot drive and programs. In fact, looking at my main work PC which is loaded up with Windows 10 64-bit and a ton of software and documents, I am only using 50GB.

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Now admittedly I do have my hibernation file disabled (which saves space on the drive), because I do not use it, but as you can see, a boot drive really doesn't require much capacity. I can easily get by with the 54.8GB of user addressable capacity that a 58GB Intel Optane 800P offers. And with Optane, performance doesn't slow down one bit when the drive is almost or even completely full like we see happen with NAND-based SSDs.

This follows Intel's line of thinking with the 800P series. Create an Optane SSD with enough capacity for a boot drive and do so with a single sided M.2 design. A perfect Optane powered SSD for the masses. If you want even more capacity and more performance, you can create an RST or VROC RAID array with multiple Optane 800P SSDs provided your hardware supports doing so. In addition to reviewing the 800P as a single drive, we will also explore performance with a 3-drive RST RAID 0 array and a 4-drive Direct to CPU VROC array.

Another feature that Intel built into the 800P is something that was missing from previous Optane SSDs. Low power states. The 800P being a 2-lane SSD makes it power efficient to begin with, but to lower power consumption even further, Intel added in Deep Sleep/L1.2 power state which sips power at just 8mW. This makes the Optane 800P an ideal boot drive for mobile computing and we expect to see it inside of many upcoming OEM offerings.

Before we move on to testing the 800P, let's take a moment and go over the advantages that 3D XPoint memory media has over NAND. What is 3D XPoint memory media and why is it better than NAND? 3D XPoint memory is a joint venture between Intel and Micron (IMFT). The actual IP outside of the memory itself is separate proprietary technology. Intel calls their 3D XPoint technology "Optane". Optane consists of 3D XPoint phase-change memory, Intel memory and storage controllers, Intel interconnect IP and Intel software.

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3D XPoint is superior to NAND because it is much faster and far more enduring. On a cellular level, 3D XPoint creates a new storage tier that falls between DRAM and NAND. 3D XPoint memory is technically 1000x faster than NAND, but current storage interfaces prevent 3D XPoint memory media from being exploited to its full potential. 3D XPoint is also superior to NAND because it has at minimum 10x more endurance.

Sustained performance is another major advantage that 3D XPoint has over NAND. 3D XPoint SSDs run at the same speed whether empty, or full, and under any condition. NAND-based SSDs get slower as they fill with data, and even slower when running sustained workloads. NAND SSDs rely on TRIM and GC (Garbage Collection) to maintain high performance, 3D XPoint SSDs do not.

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To fully understand where performance really matters, you need to be armed with the knowledge that almost all data you use on a daily basis is random in nature. Of that data, a full 75% is random read at queue depths of 1-3. Random read performance at low queue depths is where flash-based SSDs are at their weakest and where performance matters most. The difference between SATA SSDs and flash-based NVMe SSDs when reading random data at low queue depths is minimal at best.

This is why for the most part, you cannot visibly differentiate between a PC that is running an on a flash-based SATA SDD or one running on a flash-based NVMe SSD. They both deliver virtually the same user experience. Optane technology is a game changer for one main reason - Optane cranks out random read performance at low queue depths that can be as much as 5x better than the fastest flash-based NVMe SSDs. Intel calls this giant performance leap "The New Normal". When you use a PC with Optane inside, you know it. You can feel it.

Now, let's get into this review and see for ourselves exactly what the 800P is serving up

Specifications

Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD

Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 03 | TweakTown.com
  • Sustained Sequential Read: up to 1,450 MB/s
  • Sustained Sequential Write: up to 640 MB/s
  • QD4 4K Random Read Speed: up to 250,000 IOPS
  • QD4 4K Random Write Speed: up to 140,000 IOPS
  • Endurance: up to 365 TBW
  • MTBF: 1.6 Million Hours
  • Warranty: 5-Year Limited Warranty

MSRP: 58GB = $129 MSRP: 118GB = $199

Drive Details

Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD

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Intel's Optane SSD 800P packaging is sturdy, compact and attractive.

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The back of the packaging features an image of the enclosed SSD, lists a bit of pertinent information about the enclosed SSD, its warranty and form factor.

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Inside of the colorful packaging, the 800P is protected from damage by a clear plastic clamshell.

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Along with the SSD, Intel includes a printed installation and warranty guide. We assume that the 800P is compatible with Intel's disk migration software and SSD Toolbox both of which are free via download.

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Like all Optane SSDs, the Optane 800P is DRAMless. Optane memory media is fast enough to be used for address tables and to perform ECC functions. The 800P is a single sided design meaning all components are housed on one side of the PCB. Here we see an Intel 2-channel controller and two Optane memory packages.

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This side of the PCB is devoid of components. The copper graphics and lettering are very attractive.

Test System Setup, Drive Properties

Jon's Consumer PCIe SSD Review Test System Specifications

We would like to thank ASRock, Crucial, Intel, Corsair, RamCity, IN WIN, and Seasonic for making our test system possible.

Drive Properties

Intel Optane SSD 800P 118GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD OS Disk 75% Full

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Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD OS Disk 75% Full

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The majority of our testing is performed with the test subject as our boot volume. Our boot volume is 75% full for all OS Disk "C" drive testing to replicate a typical consumer OS volume implementation. We feel that most of you will be utilizing your SSDs for your boot volume and that presenting you with results from an OS volume is more relevant than presenting you with empty secondary volume results.

System settings: Cstates and Speed stepping are both disabled in our systems BIOS. Windows High-Performance power plan is enabled. We are utilizing Windows 10 Pro 64-bit OS (Build 14393) for testing except for our MOP (Maxed-Out Performance) benchmarks where we switch to Windows Server 2008 R2 64-bit.

Benchmark screenshots will be shown 118GB model first followed by the 58GB model.

In choosing our test pool, we selected the fastest flash-based SSDs on the market (regardless of capacity) to take on Intel's Optane SSD 800P

Synthetic Benchmarks - ATTO & Anvil Storage Utilities

ATTO

Version and / or Patch Used: 3.05

ATTO is a timeless benchmark used to provide manufacturers with data used for marketing storage products. When evaluating ATTO performance we focus on the drive's performance curve.

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As expected, both capacities perform almost identically. Full performance is achieved at 8KB transfers.

Sequential Write

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The 800p delivers excellent small-file performance. Better than the 900P. However, sequential write performance is not the 800P's forte.

Sequential Read

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The 800P delivers excellent small-file sequential performance, but again, sequential performance is not where it shines brightest.

Anvil Storage Utilities

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1.0

Anvil's Storage Utilities is a storage benchmark designed to measure the storage performance of SSDs. The Standard Storage Benchmark performs a series of tests; you can run a full test or just the read or write test, or you can run a single test, i.e. 4K QD16. When evaluating performance with Anvils, we focus on total score. When evaluating NVMe SSDs we are typically looking for a minimum total score of over 10K. We place a greater importance on read performance than write performance.

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Scoring

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In terms of total score, the 800P scores less than the contenders from Samsung. However, keep in mind that the 800P is only a 2-Lane SSD. Now if we look at what really matters, the read score, the 800P is laying waste to the flash-based contenders.

(Anvil) Read IOPS through Queue Depth Scale

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Normally we show IOPS at QD32 but the 800P is able to hit max performance at QD8, where as NAND SSDs hit their max at QD64 and higher.

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This graph perfectly illustrates why you need Optane. The 800P is cranking out 5x the random read performance of our flash-based contenders at QD1. Keep in mind that random read performance at QD1 is by far the most important metric in relation to overall system performance.

(Anvil) Write IOPS through Queue Scale

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Random write IOPS at QD32.

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Optane doesn't have much of an advantage over flash when the write workload is pure random on a reasonably fresh SSD. In the case of the 800P, having only 2 lanes puts it at a disadvantage with this testing.

Synthetic Benchmarks - CrystalDiskMark & AS SSD

CrystalDiskMark

Version and / or Patch Used: 3.0 Technical Preview

CrystalDiskMark is disk benchmark software that allows us to benchmark 4K and 4K queue depths with accuracy. Note: Crystal Disk Mark 3.0 Technical Preview was used for these tests since it offers the ability to measure native command queuing at QD4. When evaluating CDM results, we focus on 4K random performance at QD1 and QD4.

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Focusing in on QD1 we see the 800P obliterating the competition. The 800P even manages to deliver even better performance than the 900P at QD1. This is where performance matters most. At QD1 the 800P is delivering 5.2x the performance of our flash-based champion - the 960 EVO 1TB. At QD4, the 800P is delivering 2.9x the performance of the 960 EVO. Absolutely stunning performance coming from a 2-lane SSD.

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Our focus is mainly on QD1 and QD4 random performance. The 800P hangs in there with the best flash-based SSDs despite its 2-lane handicap.

AS SSD

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.8.5611.39791

AS SSD determines the performance of SSDs. The tool contains four synthetic as well as three practice tests. The synthetic tests are to determine the sequential and random read and write performance of the SSD. We evaluate AS SSD performance in terms of overall score. We are looking for a minimum score of 2,000 when evaluating NVMe SSDs

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The 800P doesn't care much for AS SSD's sequential data. We don't know exactly why it chokes on AS SSD's sequential write data, but it may be because it is transferred in blocks larger than 4MB. We only have to look back at our ATTO testing to see what happens to the 800P when sequential blocks exceed 4MB.

This is not a worry at all though, because sequential data is typically read at 128KB by Windows. We will consider this an anomaly. When we get to our RAID testing you will see that this issue disappears. We noticed this same anomaly with AS SSD when testing Optane Memory Modules as a stand-alone device. Even with practically no sequential write adding to the 800P's score, it still delivers a score that is better than most flash-based SSDs.

Benches (OS) - Vantage, PCMark 7, PCMark 8 & SYSmark 2014 SE

Moderate Workload Model

We categorize these tests as indicative of a moderate workload environment.

PCMark Vantage - Hard Disk Tests

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.2.0.0

The reason we like PCMark Vantage is because the recorded traces are played back without system stops. What we see is the raw performance of the drive. This allows us to see a marked difference between scoring that other trace-based benchmarks do not exhibit. An example of a marked difference in scoring on the same drive would be empty vs. filled vs. steady state.

We run Vantage three ways. The first run is with the OS drive 75% full to simulate a lightly used OS volume filled with data to an amount we feel is common for most users. The second run is with the OS volume written into a "Steady State" utilizing SNIA's consumer guidelines.

Steady state testing simulates a drive's performance similar to that of a drive that been subjected to consumer workloads for extensive amounts of time. The third run is a Vantage HDD test with the test drive attached as an empty, lightly used secondary device.

OS Volume 75% Full - Lightly Used

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OS Volume 75% Full - Steady State

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Secondary Volume Empty - FOB

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The important scores to pay attention to are "OS Volume Steady State" and "OS Volume 75% full." These two categories are most important because they are indicative of typical of consumer user states. When a drive is in a steady state, it means garbage collection is running at the same time it's reading/writing.

The previous statement applies to flash-based SSDs, not Optane. Typically, there is a big difference between an empty drive, one that's 75% full/used, and one that's in a steady state. Not so with Optane. Scoring is similar no matter how full and hammered with data it may be.

Steady-state only applies to flash-based SSDs, not Optane. Look at the Intel 750. This is a perfect example of 3D XPoint's superiority over NAND. The 750 leads the pack when empty but with data on the drive, the 800P delivers a score that is roughly 2.5x better.

PCMark 7 - System Storage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.4.0

We will look to Raw System Storage scoring for evaluation because it's done without system stops and, therefore, allows us to see significant scoring differences between drives. When evaluating NVMe SSDs we are looking for a minimum score of 11,000.

OS Volume 75% Full - Lightly Used

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The 800P easily defeats the fastest flash-based SSDs even though it is only a 2-lane SSD.

PCMark 8 - Storage Test

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.7

We use PCMark 8 Storage benchmark to test the performance of SSDs, HDDs, and hybrid drives with traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, and a selection of popular games.

You can test the system drive or any other recognized storage device, including local external drives. Unlike synthetic storage tests, the PCMark 8 Storage benchmark highlights real-world performance differences between storage devices.

OS Volume 75% Full - Lightly Used

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PCMark 8 is the most intensive moderate workload simulation we run. With respect to moderate consumer type workloads, this test is what we consider the best indicator of a drive's performance.

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Storage bandwidth really highlights what the 800P can do in a more discernable way than scoring does. What it does is crush flash-based SSDs with only half the amount of PCIe lanes working for it.

BAPCo SYSmark 2014 SE Application Performance

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.0.0.70

SYSmark 2014 SE is considered the gold standard for testing system performance because it is an application based benchmark. This test gives us the ultimate in real-world results because it utilizes actual applications running on the system, instead of playing back recorded traces. If you want to know what kind of impact a particular SSD will have on your system's overall performance; this test will show you.

Our systems are much more powerful than the calibration system (1000-point baseline) used by BAPCo, so we ran an OCZ TL100 120GB SATA III SSD to establish a comparison point relative to our test systems. We will be running this test going forward and we will add drives to our chart as we test them.

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It is important to keep in mind that with SYSmark 2014 SE a few points are a big deal when comparing one drive to another on the same platform.

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This lineup is a bit different than the others we've used for our test pool to this point. This is because these are the only SSDs we've run on our Z270 storage testing platform. With all other benchmarks, there is very little difference between our Z170 and Z270 platforms. However, with SYSMark there is a marked difference due to increased CPU performance.

10 points is a big deal and the 800P is beating the world's fastest flash-based consumer SSD by up to 26 points in total score and by up to 46 points in responsiveness score. Simply amazing performance coming from the lower capacity 2-lane Optane SSD 800P.

Benchmarks (Secondary) - IOPS, Response & Transfer Rate

Iometer – Maximum IOPS

Version and / or Patch Used: Iometer 2014

We use Iometer to measure high queue depth performance. (No Partition)

Max IOPS Read

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Max IOPS Write

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We test typically NVMe SSDs using eight threads at QD32 (QD256). We do this because we want to see what the drive can generate at its maximum attainable queue depth. With the 800P we found that is does not like queue depths higher than QD128. This BTW is the same performance that can be achieved at QD8 read and QD4 write with the Optane 800P.

Iometer – Disk Response

Version and / or Patch Used: Iometer 2014

We use Iometer to measure disk response times. Disk response times are measured at an industry accepted standard of 4K QD1 for both write and read. Each test runs twice for 30 seconds consecutively, with a 5-second ramp-up before each test. We partition the drive/array as a secondary device for this testing.

Avg. Write Response

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Avg. Read Response

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And there you have it. This is why Optane is the world's most responsive SSD. Look at the 800P's read response. It is 5.6x better than the 960 Pro 2TB which is the world's best performing flash-based consumer SSD.

Compared with Intel's 1.2TB SSD 750, the Optane SSD 800P is delivering 7.5x the random read performance at QD1. Keep in mind that the vast majority of system disk transactions are random read at QD1 which is why this metric is so important to consider.

DiskBench – Transfer Rate

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.6.2.0

We use DiskBench to time a 28.6GB block (9,882 files in 1,247 folders) composed primarily of incompressible sequential and random data as it's transferred from our Toshiba RD400 1TB NVME SSD to our test drive.

We then read from a 6GB zip file that's part of our 28.6GB data block to determine the test drive's read transfer rate. Our system is restarted prior to the read test to clear any cached data, ensuring an accurate test result.

Write Transfer Rate

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Read Transfer Rate

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We recently upgraded our test system to Windows 10 build 14393. With that upgrade, write transfer rates almost doubled. The reason for this, as far as we know, is that CPU power switching modes have been relaxed on this and newer versions of Windows 10. We included the NVMe drives we've tested to date on this build of Windows 10. If you needed a good reason to upgrade to a newer version of Windows 10; this is a good reason.

Here we are hitting the limits if what Optane can do with 2-channels running on two lanes of PCIe. As a boot drive transfers of this nature will be a rare occurrence if they ever happen at all.

Benchmarks (Secondary Volume) - PCMark 8 Extended

Futuremark PCMark 8 Extended

Heavy Workload Model

PCMark 8's consistency test simulates an extended duration heavy workload environment. PCMark 8 has built-in, command line executed storage testing. The PCMark 8 Consistency test measures the performance consistency and the degradation tendency of a storage system.

The Storage test workloads are repeated. Between each repetition, the storage system is bombarded with a usage that causes degraded drive performance. In the first part of the test, the cycle continues until a steady degraded level of performance has been reached. (Steady State)

In the second part, the recovery of the system is tested by allowing the system to idle and measuring the performance after 5-minute long intervals. (Internal drive maintenance: Garbage Collection (GC)) The test reports the performance level at the start, the degraded steady-state, and the recovered state, as well as the number of iterations required to reach the degraded state and the recovered state.

We feel Futuremark's Consistency Test is the best test ever devised to show the true performance of solid state storage in an extended duration heavy workload environment. This test takes on average 13 to 17 hours to complete and writes somewhere between 450GB and 14,000GB of test data depending on the drive. If you want to know what an SSDs steady state performance is going to look like during a heavy workload, this test will show you.

Here's a breakdown of Futuremark's Consistency Test:

Precondition phase:

1. Write to the drive sequentially through up to the reported capacity with random data.

2. Write the drive through a second time (to take care of overprovisioning).

Degradation phase:

1. Run writes of random size between 8*512 and 2048*512 bytes on random offsets for 10 minutes.

2. Run performance test (one pass only).

3. Repeat 1 and 2 for 8 times, and on each pass increase the duration of random writes by 5 minutes.

Steady state phase:

1. Run writes of random size between 8*512 and 2048*512 bytes on random offsets for 50 minutes.

2. Run performance test (one pass only).

3. Repeat 1 and 2 for 5 times.

Recovery phase:

1. Idle for 5 minutes.

2. Run performance test (one pass only).

3. Repeat 1 and 2 for 5 times.

Storage Score, Storage Bandwidth

PCMark 8's Consistency test provides a ton of data output that we use to judge a drive's performance.

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We consider steady state bandwidth (the blue bar) our test that carries the most weight in ranking a drive/arrays heavy workload performance. Performance after Garbage Collection (GC) (the orange and red bars) is what we consider the second most important consideration when ranking a drive's performance.

Unlike NAND, 3D XPoint is unaffected by degrade, steady-state or recovery. It's all the same for Optane. Absolute domination. In a steady-state NAND-based SSDs take a big performance hit. The 800P is delivering bandwidth performance that is 100% better than we are seeing from the best performing NAND challenger.

Again, bear-in-mind the 800P only has a 2-lane PCIe interface and relatively low sequential performance. The results of this test verify for us two things - sequential speed is meaningless for system disk performance, and that 3D XPoint Memory media doesn't have any of the weakness inherent to NAND.

Storage Bandwidth Per Phase

We chart our test subject's storage bandwidth as reported at each of the test's 18 trace iterations. This gives us a good visual perspective of how our test subjects perform as testing progresses. This chart sheds more light on how the drives perform as they progress through the testing phases.

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This chart perfectly illustrates the performance delta between NAND and 3D XPoint. All NAND is relegated to the bottom of the barrel.

Total Access Time (Latency)

We chart the total time the disk is accessed as reported at each of the test's 18 trace iterations. This helps shed some light on how the drive performs at each of the 18 phases of this test.

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Disk Busy Time

Disk Busy Time is how long the disk is busy working. We chart the total time the disk is working as reported at each of the tests 18 trace iterations.

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Data Written

We measure the total amount of random data that our test drive/array is capable of writing during the degradation phases of the consistency test. Pre-conditioning data is not included in the total.

The total combined time that degradation data is written to the drive/array is 470 minutes. This can be very telling. The better a drive/array can process a continuous stream of random data; the more data will be written.

Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 68 | TweakTown.com

Optane SSD 800P digests a continuous stream of random data far better than any consumer flash-based SSD, writing an impressive 13.9 terabytes of random data in in 470 minutes. Pretty incredible when you consider that the 800P is a low capacity 2-lane SSD.

Benchmarks 70/30 Mixed Workload & Sustained Seq. Write

70/30 Mixed Workload Test (Sledgehammer)

Version and / or Patch Used: Iometer 2014

Heavy Workload Model

This test hammers a drive so hard we've dubbed it "Sledgehammer". Our 70/30 Mixed Workload test is designed to simulate a heavy-duty enthusiast/workstation steady-state environment. We feel that a mix of 70% read/30% write, full random 4K transfers best represents this type of user environment. Our test allows us to see the drive descend into and reach a steady state as the test progresses.

Phase one of the test preconditions the drive for 1 hour with 128K sequential writes at QD32. Phase two of the test runs a 70% read/30% write at QD32, full random 4K transfer workload on the drive for 1 hour. We log and chart (phase two) IOPS data at 5-second intervals for 1 hour (720 data points). 60 data points = 5 minutes.

Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 69 | TweakTown.com

What we like about this test is that it reflects reality. Everything lines up, as it should. Consumer drives don't outperform Enterprise-Class SSDs that were designed for enterprise workloads. Consumer drives based on old technology are not outperforming modern Performance-Class SSDs, etc.

More than any other test we've run, this test best illustrates the advantage 3D XPoint memory has over NAND. Unlike NAND, 3D XPoint is unaffected by the state of the drive during a workload. Steady-state pounds the NAND-based contenders, but has no effect whatsoever on Optane.

Sustained Sequential Write

Version and / or Patch Used: Iometer 2014

Heavy Workload Model

We write to the drive for 1 hour with 128K sequential writes at QD32. We log and chart megabytes per second data at 5-second intervals for 1 hour (720 data points). 60 data points = 5 minutes.

Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 70 | TweakTown.com

The Optane SSD 800P is unaffected when the span of the drive is written over and over. It maintains steady consistent performance that is slightly better than factory specs for the entire 1-hour test run.

Intel RST Chipset 3-Drive RAID 0 Array on Z270

So, you want more capacity and better performance from Intel's Intel's Optane SSD 800P? It's easy to accomplish with Intel RST RAID. You can do it with either RAID 0 boot volumes or RAID 0 secondary volumes. We aren't going to bother with a boot volume for this review because we just don't have the time to do so before product launch.

If you intend to create a bootable RAID volume, you will need to enable SATA RAID mode in your system BIOS and inject the latest RST driver into your Windows install. To create a secondary RAID volume, like we did here, you also must set SATA to RAID mode in the system BIOS and install Intel's RST RAID Utility so write-back caching can be enabled. RST RAID is limited by chipset bandwidth which tops out at about 3.6GBs with overhead.

Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 71 | TweakTown.com

This is our 3-drive RST array as we created it. We didn't have time to play around with stripe sizes, so we just went with default 16KB stripes. We enabled write-back caching and disabled buffer-flushing. We also disabled link power management.

Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 72 | TweakTown.com
Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 73 | TweakTown.com
Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 74 | TweakTown.com
Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 75 | TweakTown.com
Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 76 | TweakTown.com
Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 77 | TweakTown.com
Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 78 | TweakTown.com

Almost double the storage bandwidth compared to a single drive on its own.

(4K Random Read)

Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 79 | TweakTown.com

600K random IOPS is hitting the max of the chipset's capabilities.

(4K Random Write)

Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 80 | TweakTown.com

Intel VROC Direct to CPU 4-Drive RAID 0 Array on X299

So, you want more even more capacity, better sequential performance and higher maximum random performance than RST RAID can give you? It's easy to accomplish with Intel VROC Direct to CPU RAID and a VROC capable M.2 Quad Card like the ASRock Ultra Quad M.2 Card. Read our Review HERE. In the consumer space you are limited to using Intel X299 platforms for VROC. Your motherboard must also be capable of bifurcating a 16-lane PCIe slot into 4x4 lanes. You can do it with either RAID 0 boot volumes or RAID 0 secondary volumes.

Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 81 | TweakTown.com

We aren't going to bother with a boot volume for this review because we just don't have the time to do so before product launch. If you intend to create a bootable VROC RAID volume, you will need to inject the latest RSTe driver into your Windows install. To create a secondary Intel 800P VROC volume like we did here, you only need to be sure your PCIe 16x slot with the Ultra Quad M.2 Card is set to 4x4 in the system BIOS, and that you have installed the latest Intel Rapid Storage Technology enterprise (RSTe) driver and utility. We stayed with the default 128 KB stripes because we have determined it to be the best overall performing stripe size.

Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 82 | TweakTown.com
Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 83 | TweakTown.com
Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 84 | TweakTown.com
Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 85 | TweakTown.com
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Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 87 | TweakTown.com
Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 88 | TweakTown.com

(4K Random Read)

Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 89 | TweakTown.com

One Million 4K random IOPS. VROC RAID is not bandwidth limited like RST RAID.

(4K Random Write)

Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 90 | TweakTown.com

Maxed-Out Performance (MOP)

Maxed-Out Performance

This testing is just to see what the drive is capable of in an FOB (Fresh Out of Box) state under optimal conditions. We are utilizing empty volumes running on Windows Server 2008 R2 64-bit, with an alternative NVMe driver for this testing.

Windows Server 2008 R2 MOP

Intel Optane 800P 58GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD

Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 91 | TweakTown.com
Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 92 | TweakTown.com
Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 93 | TweakTown.com

The 4K read here is notable, because it is probably the highest ever achieved on a Windows OS by anyone.

Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 94 | TweakTown.com
Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 95 | TweakTown.com
Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 96 | TweakTown.com
Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 97 | TweakTown.com

Windows Server 2008 R2 MOP

Intel Optane 800P 118GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD

Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 98 | TweakTown.com
Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 99 | TweakTown.com
Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 100 | TweakTown.com
Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 101 | TweakTown.com
Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 102 | TweakTown.com
Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 103 | TweakTown.com
Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 104 | TweakTown.com

Final Thoughts

Intel Optane SSD 800P 58GB & 118GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 405 | TweakTown.com

We believe that Intel accomplished exactly what they set out to do with the Optane SSD 800P - bring Optane to the masses. The Optane SSD 800P is appealing because it is relatively affordable. It is appealing because it is a single sided M.2 design. No need for any data or power cables and you do not need to give up a PCIe slot to run it.

It is appealing for mobile users because it is a low power design. But most of all the Optane SSD 800P is appealing because it will make your system much more responsive than any NAND-based SSD ever will. The Optane SSD 800P has enough capacity for a comfortable boot volume. In our opinion, the Optane SSD 800P checks all the right boxes.

3D XPoint memory media takes all the inherent shortcomings of NAND and tosses them right out the window. No need for garbage collection, no need for TRIM, no need to secure erase to restore factory fresh performance. Additionally, the Optane SSD 800P doesn't slow down at all for any reason. It runs just as fast when empty as it does full. There is no point when running sustained workloads that performance degrades at all. With NAND SSDs when you hit a steady-state while running sustained workloads, performance falls off a cliff.

The Optane SSD 800P is guaranteed to deliver performance that is as good as it is on day one for 5-years or 365 TBW (Terabytes Written) no matter what kind of workload you are running. Just as conventional SSDs are an order of magnitude more reliable than mechanical HDDs, Optane SSDs are an order of magnitude more reliable than their flash-based counterparts. There are two factors that make Optane SSDs so reliable, the media itself and no DRAM cache which could potentially fail.

Speaking of workload performance, when we look back at our charts one thing becomes very apparent and that is the Optane SSD 800P at 58GB and 118GB is much faster than any flash-based consumer SSD at any capacity or price. This is remarkable when you consider that the Optane SSD 800P accomplishes this herculean feat with only two PCIe lanes at its disposal and no DRAM cache.

Our sustained pure 4K random 70% read 30% write workload chart gives us a good visual picture of everything that Optane brings to the table. This brutal workload brings NAND-based SSDs to their knees, yet it has zero impact on Optane. When running our 7030 workload, the 800P is able to deliver 2.5 - 4.5x better performance than the best consumer NAND SSDs.

The importance of random read at low queue depths to overall system performance cannot be overstated. 4K random reads at QD1 make up the majority of disk activity in the consumer space. Optane is revolutionary because it delivers 5-7x the random read performance of the best flash based SSDs at 4K QD1. This is where NAND is at its weakest and where performance matters most. Flash-based SSDs are always stuck at about 50-60 MB/s 4K QD1 random read performance.

This is the reason why SATA SSDs and flash-based NVMe SSDs deliver about the same overall user experience. It is also the reason why sequential performance is highlighted as a selling point for flash-based SSDs. Consumers have been trained to look at sequential performance to determine how well an SSD performs, but they are looking in the wrong place.

Informed consumers know to look at low queue random read performance to determine how fast an SSD really is. Hell, you can RAID a hundred mechanical HDDs together and get 20GB/s sequential performance, but does that mean your system will be responsive? No, it does not.

With an MSRP of around $1.69 per gigabyte the Intel Optane SSD 800P seems expensive. However, the 800P is a small capacity SSD, so total cost is relatively low. When you step back and consider what the 800P brings to the table and how it can transform your system disk user experience, the price doesn't seem bad at all.

You get what you pay for. An ideal setup for most users is an 800P system disk and a high capacity flash-based SSD. Like we demonstrated at the beginning of this review, a system disk doesn't require much capacity. In fact, the 800P is sized just right for typical system disk use.

Because TweakTown tests SSDs with the drive running as our system (OS) disk we are in a relatively unique position to comment on what matters most - actual user experience. As you can imagine, the user experience you get from the Optane SSD 800P is rivaled only by other Optane SSDs. NAND-based SSDs are not in the same class, they cannot deliver the high-level of user experience that Optane does. This will become apparent from the first moment you boot your system with an Intel Optane SSD 800P system disk.

Intel's Optane SSD 800P is TweakTown recommended.

Pros:

  • Best Performing M.2 SSD
  • Best Endurance to Capacity Ratio
  • 5-Year Warranty

Cons:

  • Price (Maybe)
TweakTown award
Performance99%
Quality99%
Features99%
Value90%
Overall97%

The Bottom Line: Intel's Optane SSD 800P is world's best performing consumer M.2 boot disk.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

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Jon became a computer enthusiast when Windows XP launched. He was into water cooling and benching ATI video cards with modded drivers. Jon has been building computers for others for more than 10 years. Jon became a storage enthusiast the day he first booted an Intel X25-M G1 80GB SSD. Look for Jon to bring consumer SSD reviews into the spotlight.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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