Hybrid storage technologies continue to march forward. SSHDs from Seagate have been an interesting proposition in recent years, to some weighing up the balance between capacity, performance and cost. Now, with the proliferation of M.2 slots, it is quite common to see desktop and laptop PCs with a smaller fast NAND flash-based storage device and a capacious mechanical HDD installed for its cheaper per-GB pricing. Meanwhile Intel has been touting its 16GB and 32GB Optane cache drives as a better alternative to the NAND in this same combo.
All the above seems to have confused some PC makers, or at least their marketing departments, as last summer it was spotted that Dell and HP were advertising Optane memory, folded into the RAM specs… Now Intel is set to mix things up further with a new M.2 offering which combines its 3D XPoint memory with QLC 3D NAND.
Dubbed Intel Optane Memory H10 with Solid State Storage, it is configured as you might expect from the name. Intel will initially create Intel Optane Memory H10 M.2 2080 form factor sticks in capacities up to 1TB. Just like in previous hybrid solutions, the Intel Optane Memory H10 will come with a smaller section of faster storage (Optane) plus a dollop of the more affordable storage. In this case the more affordable bit will be relatively fast QLC 3D NAND. It is not certain whether the H10's combined storage quota will be seen as a single volume by your PC system or will require some PC software.
The following SKUs are being prepared by Intel for H2 this year. It is expected these drives will appear first in Ultrabooks, all-in-ones, and small-form-factor PCs from Intel partner OEMs. We don't have any pricing details.
- 16GB Optane with 256GB NAND flash
- 32GB Optane with 512GB NAND flash
- 32GB Optane with 1TB NAND flash