At least two retailers from the US on Friday have started to take pre-orders on Intel’s Optane DC Persistent Memory modules and therefore had to reveal their prices. Today they only offered 128 GB and 256 GB modules, possibly indicating that the range-topping 512 GB Optane is set to ship a bit later.

The main purpose of Intel’s Optane DC Persistent Memory modules is to bring higher memory capacities closer to the CPU at a fraction of DRAM cost. Even with recent drops of DDR4 prices, high-capacity RDIMMs and LRDIMMs (i.e., 128 GB or 256 GB) cost thousands of US Dollars. Meanwhile, Intel’s 3D XPoint memory used for Optane-branded products is cheaper to make than DRAM, but offers a high performance and a strong endurance, so in many cases using Optane DC Persistent Memory instead of DDR4 makes sense for memory-intensive applications.

Without any surprises, Intel’s Optane DC modules are priced in accordance with their market positioning: well above regular SSDs, but well below DDR4 RDIMMs/LRDIMMs of the same capacity. Depending on the retailer, the Optane DC 128 GB costs $842 - $893, whereas the Intel Optane DC 256 GB is priced at $2668 - $2850. Keep in mind that these are not official MSRPs of Intel (which will likely keep its RCPs confidential as they will depend on multiple factors), but prices at which certain retailers may sell them.

Pre-Order Prices of Optane DC Persistent Memory Modules
Optane DC Persistent Memory 128 GB $893
$6.97 per GB
$6.57 per GB
Optane DC Persistent Memory 256 GB $2,850
$11.13 per GB
$10.42 per GB
Optane DC Persistent Memory 512 GB ? ?

Unfortunately, neither of the retailers that started to take pre-orders on Intel’s Optane DC Persistent Memory revealed their ETA. Intel’s official position is that actual systems that use the modules will be available in June, so it looks like the chip giant is about to start shipments of its Optane DIMMs to interested parties.

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Source: (1, 2), (1, 2) (via Momomo_US/Twitter)

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  • Flunk - Saturday, April 6, 2019 - link

    Server tech is expensive.
  • name99 - Sunday, April 28, 2019 - link

    Remember the good old days when one of the Optane bullet points was
    - cheaper than DRAM

    Ah, good times.
    The 128GB price pretty much exactly matches DRAM today (4x32GB) is also about $890.

    In retrospect, we should have expected this when the marketing slides went from

    Notice how "cheaper" and "lower power" have been replaced by "improved memory capacity"...
    Which is more or less true --- but also, to some extent, reflects a deliberate choice by Intel not to allow the support of more DRAM as pure DRAM, even in some sort of alternative slower configuration.

    So what's the ACTUAL win right now?
    - cheaper if you just want capacity. No.
    - lower power? Unclear the exact numbers, but doesn't seem to be less than DRAM. Probably depend on your exact usage patterns (read heavy is lower power, write heavy is higher power) than equivalent DRAM
    - lower spatial volume? Yes, but not dramatically so. My guess is that alternative models (think something like densely populated DIMMs of stacked DRAM dies, with a controller that remapped the standard JEDEC commands to route on the DIMM) would have bee a feasible alternative. (We don't need HBM levels of sophistication bcs we're not competing with DRAM, but with Optane performance)

    What you DO get are
    + it works in Intel servers, and the alternatives do not. (Unless someone decides to build something like I suggested; and even then Intel may not support it.) So if you NEED that much random access memory attached to your chip, it's the only game in town.
    + it's persistent. It remains unclear to me the value of this. Intel seems to be trying hard to push both stories, that it's super cool if you need persistence; but hey, it's also super cool if you just need more RAM. I honestly don't know which fraction of the market will use persistence, and which considers it more of a hassle (it is, after all, one more security attack surface that has to treated as such).

    It's certainly POSSIBLE that n years from now the price will drop a lot more than DRAM, and/or that the capacity in the same spatial volume will rise a lot more than DRAM. But I think anyone who believes Intel's promises in this respect right now is taking one heck of a gamble.

    It will be interesting to see if a company like IBM fires back in disgust with a solution like I'm suggesting, a way to allow chips to see a much larger (and slightly slower) pool of RAM than is available through straight JEDEC, and at essentially Optane prices.
  • CharonPDX - Friday, April 5, 2019 - link

    So, assuming the 512 GB module is exactly double the 256 GB module (*EXTREMELY* doubtful) that would be an eye-watering $33,000+ for the platform-maximum 3 TB per CPU.
  • Ian Cutress - Friday, April 5, 2019 - link

    2 TB of 128GB LRDIMMs will set you back around $64k. So by that logic, Optane gives you 1.5x the capacity for about half the price.
  • IntelUser2000 - Friday, April 5, 2019 - link

    Pre-order prices are always higher than MSRP, and it decreases to MSRP until launch date.

    The 128GB version in particular is similar in GB to the P4800X when you include the Memory Drive feature.

    Considering the much better endurance, along with advantages that come in a DIMM form factor, I think for most cases it can replace the P4800X completely. Which is what it should do as the technology doesn't fit so well as an SSD.
  • IntelUser2000 - Friday, April 5, 2019 - link

    I meant to say
    "The 128GB version in particular is similar in price per GB to the P4800X when you include the Memory Drive feature."
  • Kevin G - Saturday, April 6, 2019 - link

    The thing about an Optane SSD is that it should be able to exceed the capacities found in the DIMM format and be relatively cross platform. So conceptually Intel could make an 8 TB PCIe form factor card given the proper NVMe controller. Such a product does make sense on the technical side. I do think the cross platform nature of NVMe is a reason why Intel isn't pushing capacity for their data center Optane SSD's as they can be used by AMD Epyc and IBM POWER platforms. Intel's move here is more of a business politics decision than lack of a niche for their product.
  • IntelUser2000 - Saturday, April 6, 2019 - link

    I don't think so. The P4800X at 1.5TB is already very, very expensive. At 8TB, it would cost $30-40K.

    There's also the thing where only 128Gbit(16GB) dies are being manufactured. You can stack multiple of them in a package, but as of now the largest they have is 8 per stack, so 128GB per IC.

    They said their goal is using QLC to offer capacious storage, and Optane to offer new capabilities and performance levels. Rob Crooke, the guy leading the storage group also said Optane will be progressively higher performance, and NAND higher capacities and lower costs.
  • tuxRoller - Monday, April 8, 2019 - link

    The issue is that nvme itself has more overhead (~500ns, iirc) than 3dxp has latency (variable, but appears to always be less than 500ns).
  • IntelUser2000 - Monday, April 8, 2019 - link

    500ns? Think 10x that. It's 5us or more.

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