Next year's MacBooks could get blazingly fast Optane SSDs


MacBooks could witness a major turbo-boost to their storage, as it seems there's a good chance that Intel's Optane SSDs will be nestling in Apple's notebooks before too long.

If you're not familiar with the moniker, Optane is Intel's brand name for 3D Xpoint technology which is set to give a massive boost to system memory and SSDs alike. 3D Xpoint boasts a transistor-less crosspoint architecture which allows for data to be read and written in small sizes far more swiftly and efficiently.

And the good news as far as MacBooks are concerned is that as PC World reports, over at the OCP (Open Compute Project) US Summit which is currently happening in San Jose, it has been revealed that Octane is compatible with NVMe.

Some MacBooks already use NVMe-based drives, and now that we know Octane is compatible with this protocol, it'd be an easy move for Apple to make to include Intel's new SSDs when they emerge, grabbing a major speed boost.

Buzzword bingo

This is far from confirmation, of course, but it's a likely scenario given that Apple always wants to be seen as on the cutting-edge of new technology. It would be a strong selling point for new MacBooks, not to mention a new buzzword Apple could throw around in press releases and product bumph.

The first Optane products to emerge will be superfast SSDs aimed at enthusiast machines – yes, they'll be expensive – and they should be out early next year (last autumn, we were led to believe they'd be unleashed in 2016, but it seems this won't be the case).

So 2017's MacBook refreshes could see Optane – which Intel has billed as the biggest memory breakthrough since NAND flash was introduced – flexing its muscles in Apple's higher-end machines (and probably driving their price up a bit, to boot).

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).