Intel publicly announced that it is discontinuing its Optane-only solid state drives for the consumer market. Surprisingly, the company explains that those drives aren’t going to have Optane expansion, signalling that Optane-only products are on the way out.
Intel has discontinued all M10, 800P, 900P, and 905P SSDs, reflecting the entirety of the Optane SSD family for desktops. Intel’s 900P and 905P discontinuation notice states:
“Intel will not provide a new large capacity Optane Memory SSD as a transition product for the client market segment. Intel will focus on the new Optane Memory H20 with Solid State Storage for the client market segment.”.
The discontinuation notices for the M10 and 800P series are also sent to refer the use of the Optane Memory H20 drives by customers. Intel has released new H20 drives with Optane memory on board. The caching drives aren’t nearly as fast as Optane-only drives (they are not even in the same league) and their aim is to be used inside of laptops and OEM markets.
Also, half of its old-generation drives were discontinued within a month.
All model orders will end by February 26, 2021. In late 2017, Intel revealed their latest Enterprise Wafer 3D NAND, “3D XPoint”. On April 18, 2016, Intel updated their second-generation Optane product line with their latest generation product that they called as second-generation Optane. Right now, it doesn’t appear that the second-gen Optane is heading to market desktops.
The discontinuation of drives include all drivers of the desktop PC. And here’s a list of drives that stopped operations:
Optane Memory 900P, 905P, 1.5TB, and 960GB by AIC.
Optane Memory of U.2 512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 3TB.
Intel Optane Memory 905P M.2 – 380GB.
Optane memory M.2 – 16, 32 or 64 GB.
Optane Memory 800P – M.2 – 118GB.
After completing a deal, Intel can drop its NAND business but manage its Optane Memory and IP business. This is in accordance with the above consideration that the underlying advanced 3D XPoint memory technology is jointly developed by Intel and Micron which makes an exclusive product for the high-margin business market.
Intel’s decision to cut its NAND ties has evidently increased the reach of the Optane brand. Intel presently purchases volatile memory from Micron, and does not generate it in large quantities.
Intel’s Optane Memory chips are some of the world’s fastest SSDs, reducing the cost and performance of NAND-based SSDs – excluding speed. As we often see, ‘cheap and good enough’ appears to prevail in the industry, and thus TLC SSDs, combined with ‘good enough’ performance for most customers, relegated Intel’s Optane drives to the niche market for the enthusiast or workstation market.
With the death of 3D XPoint drives, it appears that Intel will remain entirely committed to its enterprise-class Optane drives.
There is a small possibility that Intel has future Optane drives in the pipeline for customers and is preparing these drives for public release, but the change by Intel will be unusual. Intel has a reputation for launching new products as soon as possible. We’ve contacted Intel.