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

By: Jon Coulter | SSDs in Storage | Posted: Mar 8, 2018 5:30 pm
TweakTown Rating: 97%Manufacturer: Intel

Final Thoughts

 

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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)

Product Summary Breakdown

TweakTown award
Performance99%
Quality99%
Features99%
Value90%
Overall TweakTown Rating97%

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

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