Intel delivers blazing fast SSD DC P3608 NVMe drives to data centers

The new SSDs offer impressive maximum read speeds of up to 5GB/s for enterprises that demand maximum performance.

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Earlier this week, Samsung announced new SSD drives for consumers making use of the Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) interface, and now Intel has launched NVMe drives that will provide data centers with blazing speeds.

The Intel SSD DC P3608 series comes in 1.6TB, 3.2TB, and 4TB capacities, but the news is about throughput rather than size. The NVMe interface works with PCI Express (in this case, PCIe 3.0 x8) to deliver superior transfer speeds compared to the SATA interface, and it also delivers enhancements like power-loss management, enhanced endurance (such as a rating of nearly 22 petabytes of data written for the 4TB model), and error correction code that enterprises customers will appreciate.

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The SSD DC P3608 splits its capacity evenly to the two included controllers to take advantage of the controller architecture's ability to transfer data in parallel, which boost speeds and results in lower CPU utilization, according to Intel. The company says using the drives with certain of its Xeon processors will automatically place the two "lanes" of storage in a RAID 0 array.

This all results in whopping sequential read speeds of 4.5GB/s to 5GB/s and sequential write speeds between 2GB/s and 3GB/s, along with 4K random read IOPS of 850,000 and 4K random write IOPS of between 50,000 and 150,000, depending on the capacity (with the 1.6TB topping out as the fastest). The speeds are borne out by the first round of review testing, with HotHardware finding that "[t]he 1.6TB model we tested put up the highest number of random IOPS scores we have seen to date" and The SSD Review saying that the drive is "the fastest SSD we have tested to date."

In comparison, Samsung's SM1715 enterprise-grade NVMe SSDs max out at 3GB/s reads and 2.2GB/s writes, while Intel's SSD 750 family of consumer NVMe drives top out at 2.4GB/s reads and 1.2GB/s writes.

As you might expect, the cost for these new drives is far higher than consumer-based SSDs, though the pricing is competitive for enterprise purchasers: $3,509 for the 1.6TB drive, $7,009 for the 3.2TB edition, and $8,759 for the 4TB version. But Intel is banking on the fact that performance bottlenecks and data loss can cost a lot more than that.