Intel today announced the availability of the long-awaited Optane DIMM, bringing XPoint 3D memory to the DDR4 memory bus. Known modules under the codename Apache Pass will be labeled as Optan DC Persistent Memory, to contrast with the Optane DC SSD, and not to be confused with consumer-oriented Optane Memory SSD caching.
The new Optan DC Memory Module will initially be available in three capacities: 128GB, 256GB and 512GB per module. This implies that they may still be based on the same 128Gb 3D XPoint memory used in all other Optane products so far. This module is compatible with standard DDR4 DIMM pins and will be supported by next generation Intel Xeon server platform.
Memory Module Persistent Optan DC Intel is currently showing off having heatspreaders that include interesting bits, but they seem to display ten XPoint 3D memory packs. This indicates that the 512GB module has a raw 640GB capacity and the DIMM Optith DC Persistent Memory has twice the overhead error correction module ECC DRAM.
Memory Module Persistent Optan DC is currently taking samples and will be shipped for revenue later this year, but only for certain customers. The wide availability is planned for 2019. In a similar strategy to how Intel brings Optane SSD to the market, Intel will offer remote access to systems equipped with Optan DC Persistent Memory so developers can prepare their software to take full advantage of new memory. Intel is currently taking applications for access to this program. The preview system will feature 192GB of DRAM and 1TB of Optane Persistent Memory, plus SATA and NVMe SSD. The preview program will run from June to August. Participants will be required to keep their findings confidential until Intel gives permission for publication.
Intel did not officially disclose whether it would be possible to mix and match DRAM and Optane Persistent Memory on the same memory control channel, but the 192GB DRAM capacity for the development preview system shows that they are equipped with 16GB DIMM DRAM on every memory channel. Also not disclosed in today's briefing: power consumption, clock speed, special resistance ratings, and whether the Optane DC Persistent Memory will be supported across Xeon product lines or only on certain SKUs. Intel vaguely promises that Optane DIMMs will operate for a normal lifetime of DIMMs, but we do not know what assumptions Intel made about the workload.
Intel has laid the groundwork for application-level application persistent memory for years through its open source Persistent Memory Development Kit (PMDK) project, known to date as an NVM Library. The project implements SNIA NVM Programming Model, an industry standard for abstract interfaces between applications and operating systems that provide access to ongoing memory. The current PMDK project includes libraries to support multiple usage models, such as transactional object storage or log storage. These libraries are built on the existing DAX capabilities in Windows and Linux for direct memory-mapped access to files that reside on persistent memory devices.
Increased Resilience of Optane SSD
The company's existing Optane SSD DC P4800X was originally launched with a write write-down of 30 write write-per-day (DWPD) drives over three years, and when it hit wide availability, Intel extended it to 30 DWPD for five years. Intel is now preparing to introduce a new Optane SSD with a 60 DWPD rating, still based on first generation XPoint memory. Another endurance rating upgrade is not very surprising: Intel has collected real-world reliability information about their XPointer 3D memory and they are under pressure from competition like Samsung Z-NAND which also offers 30 DWPD with conventional flash-based. memory.