Intel's Upcoming Ultra-Fast Optane SSD May Come to MacBooks

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Mar 11, 2016.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Last summer, Intel announced 3D Xpoint, a new class of memory labeled as a "major breakthrough in memory process technology." 3D Xpoint is 1,000 times faster and more durable than NAND Flash storage, as well as 10 times denser than the DRAM chips used in computers.
    Intel has promised that the first 3D Xpoint (pronounced "crosspoint") product will be coming in early 2016 in the form of its Optane solid state drives, which may be of interest to Apple. According to Macworld, 3D Xpoint is compatible with NVM Express (NVMe), an SSD protocol that offers improved latency and performance over the older AHCI protocol.


    Apple's Retina MacBooks already use NVMe technology, and it's likely Skylake Macs set to be released across 2016 will also support NVMe. With NVMe compatibility built into 3D Xpoint, Apple could adopt Intel's Optane solid state drives for super fast performance speeds that significantly outpace what's possible with current SSDs. As Macworld points out, Apple is often an early adopter of emerging technology, having been the first company to implement Thunderbolt and chip technology from Intel.

    While Intel is planning to make its Optane SSDs available in 2016, the technology is unlikely to see widespread adoption right away. 3D Xpoint storage solutions will likely exist alongside NAND Flash options until prices become affordable enough for use in mass-produced products. Intel is also working on Optane memory DIMMs.

    If Apple does choose to use Intel's Optane SSDs in future Macs, it could be some time before Optane-equipped machines are available. Upgraded Macs that are expected in 2016 will likely continue to use NAND Flash, but as mentioned previously, speed improvements could come in the form of wider NVMe adoption.

    Skylake chips appropriate for many of Apple's Macs are currently available or will be available in the near future, so we may begin seeing the the first Mac upgrades in the next few months, perhaps at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

    Article Link: Intel's Upcoming Ultra-Fast Optane SSD May Come to MacBooks
  2. gpat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 1, 2011
    Except for iMacs, which will continue to use 5400rpm HDDs.
  3. FSMBP macrumors 68020


    Jan 22, 2009
    This is one of those things that just sounds insanely awesome. Hopefully it will be standard in all Macs...Or at least SSD be standard in all Macs.
  4. CFreymarc Suspended

    Sep 4, 2009
    This is how the old school magnetic core memory used to work. Just a dozen or so order of magnitude less in size and power. Run Linux on this a "core dump" now is back to where it came from originally.
  5. pushingrobot macrumors member


    Dec 11, 2014
    Don't worry, I hear Apple is working with Intel to develop a 5400rpm Xpoint.
  6. HangmanSwingset macrumors 6502


    Feb 28, 2011
    Everett, WA
    Kinda pathetic saying the iPhone 6s uses a custom NVMe interface.
  7. KALLT macrumors 601

    Sep 23, 2008
    Knowing Apple, it is probably going to be a pricey upgrade option.
  8. H2SO4 macrumors 68040

    Nov 4, 2008
    Na. They’ll upgrade to 16GB of flash.
  9. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    It will be at least a few years, more likely ~2020-2022, before 3D XPoint and similar technologies are affordable for consumer storage. Intel and Micron will have a short-term monopoly on the technology, meaning that there is absolutely no reason for them to price it low since enterprise customers will gladly pay several dollars per gigabyte for it. It's likely that Apple also wants another supplier before adopting a new memory technology to avoid any supply issues.
  10. Andres Cantu, Mar 11, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016

    Andres Cantu macrumors 68020

    Andres Cantu

    May 31, 2015
    Rio Grande Valley in South Texas
    Don't forget about the Mac minis! ;)
  11. allpar macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2002
    Isn't it already early 2016?

    Think I will hold off on an upgrade...
  12. JohnApples macrumors 65816

    Mar 7, 2014
    "Stop being cheap!!"
    "Apple doesn't owe you anything!"
    "If you want better storage, simply pay more."

  13. crsh1976 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2011
    I expect these new Xpoint drives to be insanely expensive at first and not very mainstream-friendly - and be available only for workstations.

    How about making them available on the next Mac Pro tho?
  14. hfletcher macrumors 6502


    Oct 10, 2008
    I'm pretty sure it's the PCIe interface that makes the current-gen SSD's faster than the SATA ones, not the NVMe protocol. AHCI SSD's over PCIe are pretty much just as fast as the ones with NVMe with sequential read/writes (though admittedly, it is slightly slower at other tasks).
  15. Gudi macrumors 68020


    May 3, 2013
    Berlin, Berlin
    I still can't believe that Skylake's Thunderbolt 3 will only support DisplayPort 1.2 and can't run an external Retina display. That's what I need to overcome my 12-inch screen space anxiety, unless Apple makes me a 14-inch MacBook.
  16. gsmornot macrumors 68020


    Sep 29, 2014
    ...or open the door for 7200RPM to be an option.
  17. Deasnutz macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2011
    Wow, just wild speculation or do you have a source? If true, that would be awesome, but likely add $799 to the config. Don't ask how I came to that number, it's not important.
  18. mithion macrumors member

    Mar 1, 2016
    This technology sounds promising but I can't believe something that such a huge leap in performance over current storage technology will come cheaply. They may come out with hardware this year, but it will be a few more years before it becomes affordable enough to be a viable upgrade.

    As it it, a quality SSD is already pretty fast. What is there to gain unless you routinely copy terabyte sized files. I'd rather Apple focus on graphics performance. Probably the weakest point in any Mac computer these days.
  19. Mac Fly (film) macrumors 65816

    Mac Fly (film)

    Feb 12, 2006
    In real world use how faster would a MacBook Air HD be?
  20. soupcan macrumors 6502a


    Nov 21, 2014
    Fun fact: iPhone 6S and 6S Plus also have an NVMe controller designed in-house by Apple, so this could also be implemented into future iPhones (and iPads for that matter).
  21. deaglecat macrumors 6502

    Mar 9, 2012

    Thats crazy. Like saying buy a Ferrari with a 1 litre engine or pay extra for the V12.

    Apple kit - certainly desktops and I include the mini should not be offered with 5400rpm spinning disks.
  22. pat500000, Mar 11, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016

    pat500000 macrumors 603


    Jun 3, 2015
    EDIT: Don't you hate when a company introduce some "high and mighty" products...but never actually see in current products...or will you see in 2 generation or later in apple products?
  23. JohnApples macrumors 65816

    Mar 7, 2014
    I agree. Paying top dollar and getting some of the lowest end specs, with additional premiums required for higher decent specs, is ridiculous. But people will still buy 'em up regardless of what they include.
  24. jonnysods macrumors 601


    Sep 20, 2006
    There & Back Again
    Man, I'll never go back to a spinny HDD. Flash is the bomb. And if it gets faster and better performing than it is now? I'm all in!!

    Please update those rMBPs though Apple!

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