What just happened? The X100 claims to be “the world’s fastest SSD,” and with speeds of 9 GB / s, 2.5 million IOP, and 8 microsecond latency, it’s incredibly fast. But unlike other products claiming similar specifications, the X100 does it without sweat: no active cooling, no unsteady incursions, no huge capacity, no PCIe 4.0 exclusivity, no gigantic size, no strange controllers.
“Micron’s innovative X100 product brings to the data center the disruptive potential of 3D XPoint technology, delivering innovative performance improvements for applications and enabling completely new use cases,” said Sumit Sadana, Executive Vice President. and commercial director of Micron.
Micron partnered for the first time with Intel to create IM Flash in 2005 to develop innovative storage technologies. 3D XPoint, a cross between RAM and NAND, was durable, dense and extremely low latency. Launched in the form of Intel’s Optane SSD, it was unfortunately too expensive, but with the arrival of Micron, XPoint could be more accessible. The prices have not been announced, but let’s face it: the costs could be an underestimate.
Almost the only place where the X100 is missing seems to be in competition. Current PCIe 4.0 SSDs are the fastest drives on the market and have a limit of about 5 GB / s. Although this can be increased with Raid 0 to 15 GB / s, this configuration is too unstable for most applications. The Intel Optane 905P is a closer competitor with a latency of 10 μs, but it is stuck at a quarter of the speed.
Perhaps the closest competitor to the X100 is the Samsung PM1733 and PM1735, which can reach playback speeds of up to 8GB / s. However, write speeds are only 3.8 GB / s and are limited to PCIe 4.0. Intel is not yet compatible with PCIe 4.0, which blocks most of the market. Meanwhile, the X100 is compatible with PCIe 3.0 when it is in an x16 slot, making it a plug and play solution.
Micron has not announced a deadline for launching the X100 and Micron is not a busy company. However, they should not be: if the X100 is as good as it is on paper, it may take a little while before other companies update.
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