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Optane could be HD’s swan song

by on28 March 2017

Intel thinks it can pull in the numbers

Intel’s Optane Memory is headed to be one of the most disappointing bits of tech in the world of storage.

Intel wants Optane-based gear to provide a breath of life to the dying HD industry which is suffering from a bad case of Flash SSD memory.

Yesterday it announced its first consumer Optane-based devices – A 16GB model for $44 and a 32GB Optane Memory device for $77. Both can manage read speeds of 1.2GBps and writes of 280MBps.

But the problem is that they are meant to be used primarily as cache drives for a traditional hard drive. This is far away from what was expected when Chipzilla and Micron touted the tech two years ago.

The non-volatile memory promised “1,000X” the performance of today’s NAND-based SSDs with far higher density and lower cost than DRAM.

Some even thought that if the tech worked like that you would not need RAM and a hard drive.

While the tech is not bad and can find a niche it is not the blistering game-changer we had been promised. Instead we have a better version of the Smart Response Technology which is easier to use and not so prone to pairing problems. Intel Optane Memory keeps parts of the OS on the drive to speed up performance. This means if you want to pull the hard drive from the system, you’ll have to unpair it first.

The current Intel Optane Memory implementation is also limited to a single hard drive. If you run two hard drives, the second one will see no caching improvement. Very much like SRT, Intel Optane Memory increases responsiveness overall. Of course, anything is an improvement over a hard drive.

The other issue is the price difference is not that hot. You can get a 128GB SATA SSD for about 60 euro so why bother?

Intel thinks punters want capacity for their photos and videos and use PC configurations with a hard drive. SSD’s are not popular among newbies who like to fill up their boot drive with porn or cat pictures while leaving the secondary drive empty. But Intel might have trouble explaining its Optane to such types anyway. If they don't get SSDs then they are not going to understand Optane. 

Last modified on 28 March 2017
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