Intel Optane 905P review

Insane in the membrane

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Our Verdict

The Intel Optane 905P SSD is an extremely fast drive, especially when it comes to random reads and writes. However, it is also on the pricey side with competing products selling for less than half.

For

  • Fast for random read/writes
  • Good looking

Against

  • Expensive than competitors
  • Dimensions won't allow laptop installations

Although there are tons of really good Solid State Drives available at affordable prices, when it comes to the hardcore enthusiast, Intel's Optane line-up is always part of that conversation.

Over the years, Intel has proven itself to the consumer that demands the best, and its latest Optane 905P series does little to deter from that. It's one of the fastest drives that we've tested to date, with random read rated at 575,000 IOPS and random write rated at 555,000 IOPs. Compared to it's predecessor, the Optane 905P hits 25,000 IOPs higher in random reads and 50,000 greater IOPs in random write.

As with its predecessor, the Intel Optane 905P drives come in two variants: a PCie expansion card (that now features built-in RGB lighting) and a more traditional 2.5-inch model. The 905P series also comes in larger capacities of up to 960GB, double that of the largest 480GB Intel Optane 900P.

The PCI-e version only comes in an 960GB capacity for $1,119 while the 2.5-inch drive version rocks 480GB of storage space and costs $599, which is the one Intel sent us for testing.

Design

The Intel Optane 905P SSD not only performs like an enthusiast's drive, it also looks the part. Measuring 15mm thick, it's not going to win any awards for being the thinnest drive on the world and there are not many laptops you'd be able to fit this drive into. This drive is one that you want to show off, and screams to be installed in a DIY desktop setup.

Covered by a black heatsink all across whose design looks like it's been ripped off from some sort of torture chamber, the Optane 905P will definitely please the gamer that wants to build a killer looking system.

The power/SATA connector at the back is one large connector instead of two connectors usually found on traditional SATA drives. This new connector isn't commonplace yet, so Intel packages a cable in the box that lets you connect the data part to an M.2 port on your motherboard while the power connected can be plugged to the standard SATA power connector from your power supply.

Usage and Performance

We installed the Intel Optane 905 Pro SSD in the Zotac MBOX EN-1060 which is a tiny little computer with high-end specs. We connected the Optane 905P to the M.2 port, and plugged in an external power for the drive as these small boxes don't have any extra power connectors. 

We configured the Optane 905 as a secondary drive, with Windows 10 running off a WD Green SSD. We installed the latest drivers found on Intel's website which were 4.0.0.1007 dated 27th of April 2018. For benchmarking, we used Crystal Disk Mark 64-bit.

Intel is claiming 2,600MB/s sequential read and 2,200MB/s sequential write speeds on this drive and those read speeds might not sound overly impressive compared to the Samsung 970 Evo and WD Black NVMe SSDs.  Despite this, the Optane 905 is a fast drive, especially when it comes to random performance over sequential.

Verdict

Those results are slightly higher than Intel's claimed speeds of sequential reads and writes. What's more impressive is the random read and write rates, which is what makes this drive very impressive.

The drive, as tested, costs about US$599 which is certainly on the higher side of what SSDs go for- the WD Black NVMe goes for $219 for 500GB and the Samsung 970 Evo is about the same. Both these drives also offer phenomenal performance at less than half the price of the Intel Optane 905P making it hard for us to recommend this to anyone other than the hardcore enthusiast.