Intel’s 2nd-gen Optane Memory M15 upgrades storage performance speeds

Buried among 10th-gen Core laptop CPU news, Intel unexpectedly dropped an update to its Optane Memory platform that ups storage performance, but doesn’t increase capacity.

Intel describes Optane Memory M15 as a 2nd-generation version of the original Optane Memory M10 released last year. Optane Memory exists mostly as a caching-style technology that helps speed up the responsiveness of your most commonly accessed files on larger hard drives and SSDs. It’s not intended for use as a primary drive.

The Optane Memory M15 adds more performance and an overdue update to the x4 PCIe gen 3 interface. The original Optane Memory M10 was unexpectedly limited to two lanes of PCIe gen 3.

Intel said the new Optane Memory M15 will reach sequential read speeds of 2,000 MBps, with writes hitting 900MBps. The original Optane Memory M10 was rated at 1,450MBps reads and 640MBps writes. But the area that Optane Memory excels at is getting even better too. Intel says the new M15 will hit 450,000 random reads and 220,000 random writes. Compare that to the M10’s 250K random reads and 140K random writes.

Bottom line: this should be a noticeable upgrade, although it almost appears that the 2nd-gen device’s biggest gains come simply from the increase in PCIe lanes.

The new Optane Memory M15 carries a 5-year warranty and is rated to write 365 terabytes of data over its life span. Intel said the capacity the drive will be 16GB, 32GB, 64GB. Pricing and availability of the drive was not announced at launch, though Intel says it will launch sometime in the third quarter.

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