Intel’s prototyping PCIe 4.0 Optane SSDs, and customers are probably testing them with EPYC

Intel's prototyping PCIe 4.0 Optane SSDs, and customers are probably testing them with EPYC

Intel’s prototyping PCIe 4.0 Optane SSDs, and customers are probably testing them with EPYC

Intel’s Frank Ober has revealed the existence of PCIe 4.0 compliant Optane SSDs, revealing some vital information about Intel’s “Alder Stream” SSD, which utilises the company’s 2nd Generation XPoint/Optane memory. 

Ober’s Twitter conversation was first spotted by Tom’s Hardware, revealing not just Intel’s PCIe 4.0 storage capabilities, but the fact that the company already has PCIe 4.0 storage devices in the wild. One of these SSDs have been sampled to a Linux developer, and more are likely available to other potential customers. 

When looking at Intel’s product stack, one thing is clear, that Intel doesn’t support PCIe 4.0 on its current-generation desktop and server components. This means that it is likely that these Intel-made SSDs are being tested on AMD’s EPYC series processors, which isn’t a good look for the world’s largest CPU manufacturer. While Intel may have some PCIe 4.0 compliant devices in-house, it is unlikely that this hardware is available outside of Intel, leaving 2nd Gen Optane testers to use AMD processors to have a look at Intel’s PCIe 4.0 support. 

Intel’s Optane memory is designed to sit somewhere between DRAM and NAND in terms of latency and performance, offering incredible performance levels at low queue depths and pricing that’s more cost-effective the DRAM. With Intel’s 2nd Generation Optane memory, the performance of this new memory type is due to be further improved. These improvements are likely why Intel is looking into PCIe 4.0 support, though this support highlights Intel’s inability to support PCIe 4.0 before its rival.  

At this time, it is unclear when Intel will support PCIe 4.0 on its consumer and server-grade processors, giving customers little choice but to use AMD processors whenever PCIe 4.0 support is a dealbreaker. As it stands, AMD has a big advantage in terms of I/O throughput. 

Intel's prototyping PCIe 4.0 Optane SSDs, and customers are probably testing them with EPYC  

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