Intel’s latest memory technology named Optane 800P uses recently developed 3D XPoint (pronounced “cross-point”) technology to deliver incredible speed. This new memory tech uses a type of non-volatile memory (NVM) and is now being touted as a potential SSD killer (SSD, otherwise known as solid-state drive).
In a recent Instagram ad campaign targeted specifically at photographers and retouchers, we watch a dapperly dressed Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons describe how insanely fast the company’s new memory technology is. The ad depicts a live runway fashion show where Parsons is watching from the sidelines.
Parsons narrates and claims that if we wanted to, we could shoot, process thousands of photos, and share them online with the world, all before the show ended. During the ad, a photographer uses an unmarked Phase One medium format camera to capture the models coming down the catwalk. The ad leads us to believe that said medium format images could be processed to Capture One instantly thanks to this new technology.
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Runway fashion shows typically only last between 7-20 mins, therefore shooting and processing thousands of photos in that short time is a bold claim. While this may be slightly exaggerated and sensational in my opinion, it’s nonetheless exciting.
The ad later cuts to the retoucher’s computer as the photographer’s photos appear instantaneously on the screen, where they are rendered and then processed and shared, in what seems like seconds. The ending includes text stating “Intel Optane Memory Responds 2X faster (compared to current SSD options).”
Today, most entry and pro-level DSLR/Mirrorless cameras range between 24-50 megapixels, while medium format cameras and some pro-level DSLRs such as Canon 5Ds are well beyond, pushing 50-100+ megapixels. As our cameras demand more and more from the computing side of our technology setup, these speeds are music to my ears.
On a more definitive note, the speed tests performed by Alex Cranz of Gizmodo demonstrate the performance differences between a Sandisk x400 SSD and the new Optane 800P. The company’s new memory is the clear winner in almost every category, but even more so when it comes to the more complicated tests, such as processing images using Adobe Photoshop, Premiere Pro, as well as 4k video.
To get this performance boost right out the gate, however, be prepared to shell out some serious dough. As of this writing, Optane comes in only two sizes: 58gb for $130 or 118gb for $200 USD.
This is hardly practical for most photographers and retouchers, at least for now. Like all new technology, given time and as the demand grows, we should expect to see Optane prices come down, with larger capacities and more options, in the years to come.
Hopefully sooner rather than later!