Intel’s Optane SSD 905P is a follow-on to the Intel Optane SSD 900P we reviewed earlier this year. If you read that review, you already know about the ridiculously long claimed lifespan of Intel’s Optane memory. I’m talking petabytes written rather than terabytes regular NAND SSDs claim.

The 905P is also faster than the 900P and beats the pants off of any single M.2 PCIe/NVMe drive in threaded and small file performance. The downside? It’s really, really expensive. 

Design and specs

Before I get to the specs, more on that price. The 960GB PCIe 3.0, x4 add-in card version of the 905P that I tested has a list price of a cool $1,300. The 1TB Samsung 970 Pro, a most worthy drive in its own right, costs less than $400. 

There are other versions of the 905P, namely a lower-capacity 480GB (available on Amazon) and a higher-capacity 1.5GB (list price $2,200), though I couldn’t find the latter online. All three capacities are also available (or will be) in a 2.5-inch form factor with a U.2 interface (formerly known as SFF-8639) with an adapter cable that runs to your m.2 slot. Also announced is a M.2/22110 (22 mm wide, 110 mm long) 380 GB version of the drive that won’t be available until November 2018. 

The 905P uses Intel’s Optane non-volatile memory on board, which in turn uses the NVMe protocol for passing data back and forth with your computer. There’s not a lot we can tell you about Optane, other than it uses the company’s 3D XPoint technology. Intel is mum as to the technical details.

As the 2.5-inch and M.2 Optane drives we’ve tested so far are fast readers, but mediocre (for NVMe) writers, we assume that Intel is using some sort of RAID or other trickery to increase the 905P’s write performance. We tested only the 960GB version, and the performance of the smaller capacities might not be as fast.

There’s a large, finned, black heat sink covering the entire board, as well as blue LED lighting. The drive carries a 5-year warranty, however, that’s voided if used in a “multi-user, multi-CPU, data center environment.” Okay.

intel optane ssd 905 series 4 Intel

This is the rather unusual 2.5-inch version of the 905P. It fits in a regular drive bay, but attaches to an M.2/PCIe port,

Intel has thoughtfully come up with a new way to describe longevity in saying that the 905P is good for 10 full drive writes a day. If that’s 10 writes per day for the five years of the warranty, you’re talking about an endurance rating of around 1.75 PBW or PetaBytes Written, or 1,750 TBW (TeraBytes Written), which has been the normal metric the last few years. 1.75 PBW is probably more data than most users will write in their lifetime. Okay, users that are already adults, anyway…

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