Lenovo Announces Laptops With 16GB Intel Optane Caching SSDs

Lenovo has announced a line of new ThinkPad laptops. Some models get an Intel Optane SSD, with the new 3D Xpoint memory developed by Intel and Micron. These are 16GB SSDs that Lenovo uses for system acceleration.

The low-capacity Optane SSDs are used as a caching drive, in addition to a regular HDD. That should speed up the operation of the laptops. How the combination of an Optane SSD in combination with a HDD compares to a regular SATA SSD or a fast NVME SSD is not yet clear.

Lenovo is stopping the Intel Optane SSDs in some configurations of the new ThinkPad T470p, L470, L570, T470 and T570, according to AnandTech. Those models with Kaby Lake processors will be on the market from January and February, but it is not known whether this also applies to the versions with Optane SSD.

Probably Lenovo uses the Optane Memory 8000p module. It has not yet been announced, but information about this already came out in October. This module would come in 16GB and 32GB configurations, in m2-2280 and m2-2242 form factor, and use the PCI-e 3.0 x2 bandwidth.

3D Xpoint was developed by Micron and Intel and according to the manufacturers it has the potential to be up to a thousand times faster than nand memory. It must combine the speed of working memory with the storage capacity of flash memory. The reason the early Optane SSDs have low capacity is probably cost. According to Micron, 3D Xpoint is four to five times more expensive than nand.