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Intel Optane Memory 32GB Review

The major fly in the ointment with the Optane Memory module is the official restrictions it currently comes with, which will be a limiting factor on its use. It only supports Kaby Lake processors and then only Core i7, i5 and i3 parts. There’s no current support for the latest Celeron and Pentium CPUs and when it comes to chipsets it’s the 200 series or nothing for mainstream boards and HM175, QM175 or CM238 for mobiles. Oh yes, and Windows 10 64-bit only.

There is no doubt that when the Optane Memory module is used as a cache drive with a normal spinning disk the performance gains are impressive. But here’s the conundrum – because it currently only works on a Kaby Lake-based system, you have to ask how many people have bought a Kaby Lake motherboard and a 7th generation CPU and then paired that package with a HDD boot drive rather than a SSD.

Where it probably makes more sense at the present time is a tool for system builders and OEMs. By combining the Optane Memory module with a high capacity HDD, it allows competitively-priced PC builds with fast, high-capacity storage without the costs associated with adding a very large capacity SSD to the feature list.

As a stand-alone drive, while it may not be really big enough to use as a main drive, it’s a tantalising glimpse of the power of the 3D XPoint technology, making the prospect of large capacity drives using the technology very enticing.

The quoted endurance for the 32GB module is 185.5TB which works out around 100GB/day and Intel back the Optane Memory module with a 5 year warranty.

We found the 32GB Optane Memory module for £85.99 (inc VAT) on Overclockers UK HERE 

Discuss on our Facebook page HERE.

Pros

  • Very fast read performance.
  • Adds massive performance improvements to a standard hard disk.

Cons

  • CPU and chipset restrictions.
  • Write performance as a stand-alone drive is disappointing.

KitGuru says: Because of its hardware restrictions, the Intel Optane Memory module will only appeal to a narrow market in the consumer space. It makes more sense as a tool for OEMs and system builders but above all, it’s a glimpse of the huge potential of Intel’s 3D XPoint technology.

Rating: 8.0.

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  • jt AJ

    LMAO testing 4k results at QD32.. wtf. common kitguru, on page 4, optane module is to accelerate 4k at low QD. tell me that a consumer would run 32 parallel things at once. i understand its not good to be biased and show the bad side, the other side is also true its not good to not test what the thing is intentionally made for, which is to accelerate low QD in 4k vs SSDs

  • Nomen Est Omen

    FFS, Intel was working on this for ages. From a consumer point of view Optane is useless (the enterprise drive which predated this made perfect sense). Honestly, I just don’t understand why PCIe x 2, why 32GB max – there’s plenty enough room on that board for at least 128GB. My gran (and her dog) already have a 512 or a 1TB boot drive. Consumers just don’t notice QD performance. And I’m about to buy an AMD in September. Consumer products that could have been used in various ways, but cannot, make me wander whether Baldrick was cunningly involved in development.

  • ET3D

    The problem with tests of disk caching is that they tend not to reflect real world usage, which is what consumers would care about. I’ve seen it with SSHD, which tends to show speedups over HDD, but when you have them in a real PC that runs tons of stuff at startup, has lots of software and games and media installed, it doesn’t really seem to provide much benefit.

    So the question is, how well does Optane work on an “old” system compared to an SSD for system plus HDD for media/games and compared to just the HDD without caching? That’s what I’d like to know.