Intel Optane Memory 32GB Review – Faster Than Lightning

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Finally! Optane Memory sitting in our lab! Sure, it’s not the mighty P4800X we remotely tested over the past month, but this is right here, sitting on my desk. It’s shipping, too, meaning it could be sitting on your desk (or more importantly, in your PC) in just a matter of days.

The big deal about Optane is that it uses XPoint Memory, which has fast-as-lightning (faster, actually) response times of less than 10 microseconds. Compare this to the fastest modern NAND flash at ~90 microseconds, and the differences are going to add up fast. What’s wonderful about these response times is that they still hold true even when scaling an Optane product all the way down to just one or two dies of storage capacity. When you consider that managing fewer dies means less work for the controller, we can see latencies fall even further in some cases (as we will see later).

Comments

Daniel Muñoz says:

So with Optane you make Super Fast “Hybrid Drives” (SSHD)

Ugis Putnins says:

I have brand new system kabylake i7. Have empty m.2 slot. Now for primery drive have sata ssd samsung 840 pro or 850 pro. I’m still would like to improve speed performance. The question is if I will put £83 32gb optein memory I will get any improvement? Or I’m better off to put m.2 samsung 960 evo for £110, or 960 pro?

ichinichisan says:

Ugh, I can’t believe this doesn’t work on Pentiums. Given the budget nature of the target market, it seems nuts to spend $55 upgrading from a ($65) hyperthreaded Pentium G4560 to a ($120) Core i3-7100, just to have the right to spend an additional $77 on a cache drive. Better to take that $132 (plus whatever you would have spent on the hard drive!) and buy a SATA SSD with it. (Or a normal hybrid drive.)

Christopher Estep says:

SSDs still have a capacity problem – how much does a 1 TB SSD cost?. I have a 1 TB Windows platter drive (as in Windows, and the programs it runs – is all that is on it); that is now the LOW end of OEM desktops (a lot of portables, and any 2-in-1 or AIO worth its salt, are matching that). Worse, I’m close to filling it up! Between games and larger applications (mostly games), 1 TB will soon be too small, even for portable computers. On top of that, because of the price paid for larger capacities (500GB or above), the platter drive still makes sense at 2 TB or above – a WD Caviar Black platter drive of that size is $100, if not less; while an SSD of HALF that capacity is twice the price, or worse. (Current Amazon pricing is $312.99 for M.2 or $354.99 for non-M.2 – both in US dollars., therefore two – even if you went the M.2 route – if you HAVE two M.2 interfaces – is STILL $630 or worse if you get BOHICA’d by the Sales Tax Monster – *OWTCH*!) SSDs make sense if your capacity requirements are small (such as notebooks; I still unhesitatingly recommend them for notebooks and other uses where speed trumps capacity). However, with the reverse becoming true (especially as games get porkier and porkier), there is STILL a place for Ye Olde Platter Drive – and especially 2TB (or larger); in fact, 3 TB WD Caviar Black is currently $199.99 USD (Amazon again. 4 TB (Supremely Silly Overkill – Platter Drive Division) is all of $5 USD more. I don’t hate SSDs; however, the issue is STILL that tradeoff – speed vs. capacity; and platter drives STILL win that battle.

Raven crow says:

Intel shills give a shit intel product a good review.

Mike Lightsey says:

Love the shirt. Thank you for your service. I am 14 years active, currently LN1

lostn65 says:

Is it better than getting an SSD is the question. $77 for 32GB is expensive and you have to “teach” it how to cache by running the same thing multiple times to boost its speed, each time you do it wasting your time.

The problem with caching is that people’s usage is unpredictable. It can’t leave everything cached, so it needs to predict when you’re going to stop playing one game and start up a different one, and I myself couldn’t predict my own usage behavior.

Jaime Duncan says:

I find the video too long, most of it is just talking about how great the technology is but with no data. I understand that you need to protect access but you could justify the performance by telling that is a first generation system. The write speed, if your graph in 3:56. The read speed is nothing to call about either. You should have faced it against the best Flash-based SSD you can get at the price point. We know that is faster than a spining HD.

Matlockization says:

But you achieve the same with a hybrid HDD. The problem is you can’t use this on old boards so that markets gone. What person in their right mind would use this on a modern board  only to add a shitty HDD ? So you buy a new board with m.2 and optane but can’t afford a SSD ? Better off to just wait for the optane SSD price to come down, its not like we don’t have anything in the mean time.

Eduardo Rafael Benedicto says:

Windows only

Tajl3r says:

let’s talk about how the paint dries out

Scott Baker says:

I “think” I see the market for this. It seems like Dell, HP, etc, for whatever reason don’t like putting SSD’s in their systems. Most pre built systems I’ve looked at (including low to mid range laptops) still come with a hard drive. So why not add this thing and give it some wiz bang marketing name. At least the performance compared to the older hard drive only system would be way better.

Suda Badri says:

Will be pretty sweet for getting a cheap as all in one and making it a snappy machine

MikaHR100 says:

Pure garbage, for 77$ you can get real 250 GB SSD lol.

Krzysztof Wierzbicki says:

Do Linux run on it?

Fire On A Wire says:

It’s not usable on older hardware and anyone with a new Kaby Lake system will almost certainly have an SSD. So who is this product targeted at? OEM’s only it seems.

Dimitris Kepenos says:

Intel Optane is a useless and over priced tech. You could argue that a plain consumer could benefit from this since it manages everything on it self, but the installation (both hardware and software) is very tedious that you need to have some basic knowledge equal to installing an SSD/M.2 and setting it in cache mode. But compared to an SSD application is much harder and costs more, you could buy a top-end 120Gb or a 240Gb SSD and cache a ton more stuff than Optane could. It’s basically a gadget for your PC

Zack Martinolich says:

Would this product be a smart purchase if I have an ssd as my primary drive and a HDD as a secondary drive. Most of my serious programs and games I have on my ssd and more non essential games and files on the HDD. I guess my question is, would this improve the performance of my ssd as well or primarily the HDD?

RGBHeretics says:

For much less money, I can install Primocache and buy another 32GB of memory and end up with an even faster solution. But I guess 5 year old technology is dead now that intel has brought out an inferior solution. For shame PCPer, for shame.

edit: fingers ar drunk

Karl Müller says:

und was 200GB ?

Alfredo Tan says:

Can Optane, significantly, speed up an SSD drive? How would it perform attached to an 850 Evo or a 960 Pro?

other tomperson says:

So for all their bluster, CPUs are still Intel’s primary focus. No one buying a Pentium G4560 for gaming should be buying an SSD — they should put that money towards a better CPU or GPU. This, then, would be an awesome thing to pair with a non-Core Intel CPU, but it doesn’t support them. They are not willing to support people who are still using non-Core CPUs.

Lazaro Rodolfo Siam Rodriguez says:

I have a silly question: I currently have a Samsung 960 Pro 1TB where I have my OS and games, then I have a 6TB, WD Black, my question is would this make any difference at all in the speed of the HDD? I know that the 960 Pro is already freaking fast but I would like my HDD also to be fast. Could anyone explain me? Thanks! By the way, I’m running the 7th generation Intel and a z270 MoBo, so my system is compatible.

Bryant Mitchell says:

I built a sub-$600 kabylake i3 pc a couple of months ago because that’s was my budget. Optane looks like something for me. I can add it to my 3 tb hhd and not have to worry about managing it. Why spend more money than I have to? There are PC builder’s with tight wallets.

Legion495 says:

Are there really people who buy that? I consider “painfully” slow way better if I get the storage plus the usual SSD for an OS works everywhere. Not brand fixed…
This seems so super bad for the consumer from my view. Well except you like being on what one company gives you :/

Robert Jobin says:

what about installing an Optane stick in a system that already has an ssd? i would love to see performance data for that?

Abdrouf says:

this is kinda pointless for new builders, you can get 256GB sdd for the same price to use it as boot drive.
unless you want to save that 77$ for something else

ChaosPotato says:

Really, you might as well buy an SSD :l

Edward Williams says:

Your IOS needs to be installed GUI.

Greg says:

optane will be another tier of memory. many say there is no need because we already have Sram for extreme speed. Dram for density and some speed. SSD’s and Flash for non volatility. and harddrives for large amounts of slow archive storage.  no need for another tier, even though there is a gaping hole between Dram and SSD’s. Optane will have its place..  latency. bit addressable, nonvolatile, transistorless, dense. its design is simple and straight forward. eliminating many clunky tricks needed with out it.

igloo2 says:

This review is terrible and you should feel terrible.

Suda Badri says:

KABY LAKE ONLY HAHAHAHAHAHA

Witnaaay says:

How does this behave when your active data set is larger than the optane cache? Is it vulnerable to cache thrashing? Not many places seem to be testing this situation, and I think its an important piece of the picture.

NumberOfThings says:

These things don’t make a damn bit of difference, totally stupid.

Karl Benson says:

can aptane access my DDR4 ram for cache the same way. ? I have Z270 Maximus IX Formula and 7700k with 750evo and NVME 256GB OCZ M.2 RD.400 plus many assorted Hdd’s

jawbreaker says:

I just do not get it. If you have a 3-4-5 years old PC I just do not see you getting new motherboard just to be able to use optane. More over if you do people are more likely with MB change to go AMD since it offers 2x the cores for half the price. On the other hand if you have new PC you already have SSD and are looking just for massive storage (like me). With this being so small it doe not cover this base too.

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