Hardcore Hardware: Intel DC P3608 NVME SSD

IDG.TV | Oct 6, 2015

This week on Hardcore Hardware, we look at Intel's RAIDed SSD that pushes 5GBps read speeds.

Remember how you cried tears of joy over an SSD pushing 2.5 gigabytes per second of data just six months ago? Well break out your hankie, because I’m about to show you a drive that’s TWICE as fast.

Meet Intel’s DC P3608 NVMe , an SSD that shames the fastest SSD that came out just six months ago. In this case, Intel’s wickedly fast 750 SSD gets ousted Game of Thrones style by its new sibling.

But wait, you’re saying Gordon, NOTHING doubles in performance in just six months. So how did Intel do the impossible?

Easy. If one is good, two is better. Intel essentially took two of its Intel 750 NVME drives and combined them into a single PCIe SSD drive using RAID.

With this much performance, Intel even had to double the bandwidth from a x4 PCIe Gen 3 connector to a x8 PCIe Gen 3 connector.

This drive is so fast, in fact, Intel more than doubled the cooling fins on the P3608 to keep it cool. I expect pretty soon we’ll be running FANS on our SSDs.

To use the drive, insert it into an available slot with enough bandwidth behind it. For this much hardware, an older Haswell won’t hack it. You’ll need a pricier Haswell-E box or a new Skylake machine. Install your drivers and set up your RAID, and you’re ready to go. Unfortunately, as it’s a RAIDed NVME drive, you can’t boot directly to it.

How fast is it? I’ve tested it close to Intel’s rated speed of 5GB/s reads and 2GB writes. That’s almost 10 times faster than the fastest SATA SSD.

So what’s the catch? The price. The 1.6TB P3608 will set you back $3,500. And the grand master 4TB version? Seven thou. Yes, Seven thousand dollars. So, no, it ain’t for everyone.

But what’s really cool to dream about how fast and how far we’ve come in just six months. Believe it or not, in a year or three this kind of performance will be available to us at prices that won’t have you doing a spit take.
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