2017 will witness the launch of Optane, a new ultra- fast memory technology from Intel and Micron. Enthusiasts expect Optane to pave the way for faster storage on Apple’s MacBooks.
Macworld observes that Apple could take advantage of the new technology and an easy transition is possible as Optane is compatible with the NVMe storage protocol that Apple already uses in some of its MacBooks.
Being 10 times denser than DRAM, Optane offers speeds 1,000 times faster and more durable than common flash storage. Another highlight is its 3D Xpoint technology.
To replace the aging AHCI technology, Apple launched Non-Volatile Memory Express support in its new 12 inch MacBook and enabled it with a software update to OS X last April. AHCI was primarily designed to maximize performance in systems using spinning hard drives. On the other hand, NVMe is optimized for lower latency operations afforded by solid state media, or non volatile-memory.
NVMe reduces latency by 50 percent compared to AHCI. Intel puts latency overhead in SCSI/SAS systems at 6 nanoseconds at 19, 500 cycles, but quotes NVMe at 2.8 nanoseconds at 9, 100 cycles ( PDF link).
All these features will enable NVMe to scale over the next decade and that’s a lifecycle comparable to AHCI, which was introduced in 2004. Apple has been using PCle transport protocol since 2011 and hence they would hopefully roll out support across entire Mac lineup.