Intel's New M.2 Optane Memory H10 SSDs: Optane Paired With QLC Flash

Intel's speedy Optane storage products just received a face-lift with a new Optane Memory H10 model that boosts overall storage capacity by pairing the speedy 3D XPoint memory with a dollop of QLC flash. That means there will soon be Optane-powered SSDs that reach up to 1TB of capacity. 

The new drives use the fast Optane storage to accelerate frequently-accessed data held on the more spacious QLC flash, meaning these M.2 drives will come in one slim package with higher capacities than the previous-gen M.2 Intel SSD 800p.

The 800p SSDs only come in capacities of 58GB and 118GB and are significantly more expensive than typical flash-based SSDs. Intel's new H10 drives will still command a premium due to the pricey Optane memory, but the less-expensive QLC flash will significantly reduce the price-per-GB.


Optane SSD 800p
Optane Memory H10 (QLC - Optane)
Capacity
58 / 118 GB
1TB - 32GB / 512GB - 32GB / 256GB - 16GB

The new Optane Memory H10 drives include two models with either 1TB or 512GB of QLC flash paired with 32GB of Optane memory. Intel also has a low-capacity model that combines 256GB of QLC storage with 16GB of Optane memory.

Most enthusiasts use the smaller Optane SSD 800p drives to hold their operating system while storing bulk data, like games, pictures, and videos, on a secondary drive. That tactic isn't as effective in the notebook space, largely because most lightweight devices don't come with connections for secondary drive. The new drives will certainly open up new opportunities for notebook users.

Intel's press release says the new drives will debut in Q2 onboard OEM systems from Dell, Lenovo, HP, Acer, Asus, and others. The company hasn't released pricing or retail availability yet, but given the unique design these SSDs might require specialized PCIe support that would require specific optimizations at the platform level. That means they may not come to retail at all, instead only coming in systems from OEMs.

Intel also didn't release performance specifications, pricing, or retail availability. We'll learn more here at CES 2019 later in the day during the official unveil and update this article as necessary.

10 comments
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  • AnimeMania
    They should slap that inside a 4 to 8 TB hard drive and sell the whole thing.
  • Giroro
    QLC? Gross.

    I feel bad for the engineers who spent over a decade developing a revolutionary fast and durable new storage technology, only to see it utterly wasted on caching the cheapest, slowest, least reliable flash memory ever mass produced.

    I hate the SSD industry's race to the bottom. Especially since exciting developments in speed and longevity like Optane are doomed to die on the vine as companies increase production on drives with shorter warranties than physical-wear and tear spinning disks.
  • William_X89
    Agreeing with Giroro on this one, wasting good tech on sub-par flash memory. I won't go lower than TLC.