Intel paves way for 3D XPoint SSDs and memory to work on AMD PCs

The SSDs and DIMMs will work with standard storage and memory interfaces

Intel's lightning-fast Optane SSDs and memory won't be limited to PCs featuring the company's own chips, but could work with PCs based on AMD processors as well.

Intel wants to make adoption of Optane easy for makers of PCs and servers regardless of the chips they use, said Rob Crooke, senior vice president and general manager of the company's Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group, in an interview. 

Optane is a brand name for a new class of storage and memory that could make PCs significantly faster. It is based on a technology called 3D XPoint, which Intel claims can be 10 times faster than flash storage and DRAM.

Facebook and Intel tested Optane SSD prototypes in servers and found that data throughput increased by three times, allowing for faster movement of data between the storage device and CPU, the companies said at the Flash Memory Summit in Santa Clara, California, on Tuesday.

In a way, Intel is designing Optane to be backward-compatible with industry-standard interfaces so drives and memory can be plugged into existing slots. It's similar to the way the first SSDs were fit into slower SATA slots meant for hard drives, Crooke said. While that continues, SSDs that support the NVMe protocol -- a storage protocol based on PCI Express -- are being slotted into faster PCI Express 3.0 slots.

Optane's benefits will be clearly felt in gaming and server applications, Crooke said. For example, a particular game level can be pre-loaded on an SSD so users don't have to wait for chapters to load as they advance. The gaming experience will be "amazingly fast," Crooke said.

The first Optane SSDs will first be available at the end of the year for servers and high-end desktops. Some BIOS, engineering and validation work may be needed, but the goal is for Optane to work across PCs and servers. If a PC board supports NVMe then Optane may work with it, Crooke said.

Optane could be attractive to enthusiasts who buy or build gaming PCs with AMD's upcoming Zen chip, which will first be targeted at gamers. Some gaming PC motherboards for AMD processors that support NVMe are already available from companies like MSI and Gigabyte.

Similarly, Intel is building 3D XPoint memory to be compatible with an advanced DDR4 technology, which is based on an industry-standard interface. Intel has said it will ship memory DIMMs next year, but it has not specified an exact timeframe.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?