Discussion Community Questions: Do you use Intel Optane?

Mar 22, 2019
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I literally installed a 32GB module last night to compliment my 4TB WD Black HDD. Initial testing took read speeds from a max of 180MB/s to 1.31GB/s.. Game load times in the 15 minutes of testing showed much less issues with streaming of game assets in Farcry 5 and Assassin's Creed Origins. There were a lot less dropped frames as loading was much quicker.

I'll have a better idea over the next week at the improvement, but for $58 for a 32GB module, I'm already impressed and can't wait to see that benefit.
 
Mar 22, 2019
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No, I just purchased an XPG SX8200 pro 1TB and have 2 older 500 gig SATA SSD's striped to handle most of my gaming needs. With SSD prices so low right now I don't see any advantage to Optane.
 

Barty1884

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Moderator
No.

With the prices of SSDs continuing to fall, the viability of a glorified cache drive just doesn't appeal to me.
The idea is solid.... but the benefits were predominantly aimed at the budget space. A 1TB HDD + a 16GB Optane cache puts you in the ~$80 range.
At this point, budget 1TB SSD's can be had for <$100....
 

shane.sattler

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Aug 31, 2017
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There was no way to justify the price of Optane when NVMe SSD prices are so much lower and the performance is about the same.
 

Giroro

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Jan 22, 2015
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I wanted optane when it was new, but that was under the assumption Intel would continue developing the cache drives until they became a viable product.
But instead it's been what, 2 years without any improvement to the cache drives or significant drop in price?
Intel helps Micron develop the most exciting memory technology in decades, but now it seems like they are deliberately trying to kill it off so they can crank out slow low-write QLC flash in cheap drives with a warrenty on-par with an incandescent light bulb. What is the point of all that investment if they don't use make full use of that technological advantage?

Plus, the practice of marketing Optane as if it is expanded RAM when it in no way operates in any way that resembles system memory is incredibly misleading to me. It's not some magical 3rd tier of memory either. Cache drives are storage, full stop. The old low-end 16GB optane drive isn't even particularly fast compared to modern SSDs.
It very much rubbed me the wrong way when In the Optane AMA, Intel revealed that they are actually encouraging the shady and misleading practice of marketing low-end computers with 4GB RAM and a 16 GB optane SSD as having "20GB memory".
 
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Mar 22, 2019
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Intel revealed that they are actually encouraging the shady and misleading practice of marketing low-end computers with 4GB RAM and a 16 GB optane SSD as having "20GB memory".
So, when I looked at the driver control page, it did imply that I have "64gb" of ram. I've got 32GB + the 32GB from the Optane.. Very misleading.
 

Darth Sicaedus

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Jun 30, 2009
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I bought a 64GB M10. I have been using it about a month and a half with a 2TB WD Black. Computer boots noticeably faster and most programs that I have installed on it, launch immediately. It almost feels like I have a 2TB boot SSD.
 

Achaios

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Q: What do you think of the Intel Optane product line?

A: CBA

Q: Do have any Optane products in your system at the moment?

A: No

Q: Do you plans to use Optane in your next build?

A: As it doesn't make a difference in gaming, the answer is "no". Next upgrade, which will be Intel 10nm and PCI express 4.0 or 5.0, will probably see me hang on to my Samsung 840 500 GB and my 6TB HDD raid 1.
 

Barty1884

Titan
Moderator
I bought a 64GB M10. I have been using it about a month and a half with a 2TB WD Black. Computer boots noticeably faster and most programs that I have installed on it, launch immediately. It almost feels like I have a 2TB boot SSD.
Was the 64GB Optane not >$100 though? Between that + the cost of a WD Black, you could actually have a 2TB boot SSD (of an NVMe flavor...)
https://pcpartpicker.com/product/7MQG3C/intel-660p-series-2tb-m2-2280-solid-state-drive-ssdpeknw020t8x1

It's just a cost aspect where Optane falls down, IMO.
 

Darth Sicaedus

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Was the 64GB Optane not >$100 though? Between that + the cost of a WD Black, you could actually have a 2TB boot SSD (of an NVMe flavor...)
https://pcpartpicker.com/product/7MQG3C/intel-660p-series-2tb-m2-2280-solid-state-drive-ssdpeknw020t8x1

It's just a cost aspect where Optane falls down, IMO.
It's true and I agree about the price, it was a splurge for testing really. I was curious. What can you do. I may use it as a boot drive in a mini PC that I plan to use as a Minecraft server in the near future. It won't got to waste.
 

computerjoe314

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Jan 2, 2019
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No.

With the prices of SSDs continuing to fall, the viability of a glorified cache drive just doesn't appeal to me.
The idea is solid.... but the benefits were predominantly aimed at the budget space. A 1TB HDD + a 16GB Optane cache puts you in the ~$80 range.
At this point, budget 1TB SSD's can be had for <$100....
Same...
 
I've had these available for some time at work and can't give them away. Personally I would never buy one they are too expensive for what you get. I looked into them when I was ugrading my SSD to a 250GB. When I saw the cost for what you get it was a no brainier to say no Optane.
 

mac_angel

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I'm still reading the article, but one thing I don't understand is, why do you need to have all your Steam library downloaded at once? I have a large library as well, and I'm willing to bet you have a decent enough Internet speed. What's wrong with just installing a few that you play at a time? I only have a 1st gen Samsung m.2, 512GB. I only play one game at a time, but generally have a few loaded at a time too. Any time I want to play something new, I uninstall what I'm done, and download the next one.
 

EPharma

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My father-in-law wanted an inexpensive laptop last Christmas. We got an Acer Swift 3 with 15" FHD screen, 8th generation i5 with 4 cores, 8 G memory, 16G Optane + 1TB 5400 rpm HDD for $400. This machine boots up Windows 10 between 15 to 18 seconds consistently. It is responsive most of the time just like my main computer which is a Dell 8700 i7 with SSD boot drive and 2 TB HDD.

I am quite amazed by the difference a 16G Optane drive made to a 5400 rpm HDD. The lowly Acer actually boot up Windows 10 faster than my wife's 2018 Macbook Pro when booting up Mojave.

For non-technical folks, I think a low end, high capacity HDD + Optane will be more practical than low capacity SSDs, especially in laptops.
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
My father-in-law wanted an inexpensive laptop last Christmas. We got an Acer Swift 3 with 15" FHD screen, 8th generation i5 with 4 cores, 8 G memory, 16G Optane + 1TB 5400 rpm HDD for $400. This machine boots up Windows 10 between 15 to 18 seconds consistently. It is responsive most of the time just like my main computer which is a Dell 8700 i7 with SSD boot drive and 2 TB HDD.

I am quite amazed by the difference a 16G Optane drive made to a 5400 rpm HDD. The lowly Acer actually boot up Windows 10 faster than my wife's 2018 Macbook Pro when booting up Mojave.

For non-technical folks, I think a low end, high capacity HDD + Optane will be more practical than low capacity SSDs, especially in laptops.
"boot time" is but one, rather unimportant, indicator.
The Optane cache is fast, for only that data that lives in the cache. It can't be predictive, and know that you want to open some random file or other data. That happens at slow 5400 HDD speed.
An SSD is fast across the whole drive space.
1TB SSD can be had for just over $100. 16GB Optane ($33) + 1TB HDD ($50) isn't much cheaper.
 
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Loadedaxe

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Currently no. I did try a 16gb one when they first came out but the performance was no better than what I was currently using, a ssd for windows/programs and a large data drive for files. I may take another look at one since the price has come down.
 

tmehrl

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Aug 16, 2017
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Like many gaming enthusiast the question for me is still SATA SSD vs nvme SSD?
For a new build I would consider an small Optane boot drive and 1TB SATA SSD if the Optane drive made a noticeable improvement (which many had posted that it does not).
The conventional wisdom seems to be that Optane + SSD = marginal benefit, but Optane + HardDrive is almost equal to SATA SSD.
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Like many gaming enthusiast the question for me is still SATA SSD vs nvme SSD?
For a new build I would consider an small Optane boot drive and 1TB SATA SSD if the Optane drive made a noticeable improvement (which many had posted that it does not).
The conventional wisdom seems to be that Optane + SSD = marginal benefit, but Optane + HardDrive is almost equal to SATA SSD.
And given ever dropping SSD prices...
1TB SATA SSD is very close $$ to Optane module + 1TB HDD.
 
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Johnny5

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Feb 28, 2016
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I'm still reading the article, but one thing I don't understand is, why do you need to have all your Steam library downloaded at once? I have a large library as well, and I'm willing to bet you have a decent enough Internet speed. What's wrong with just installing a few that you play at a time?
Bragging rights. Sometimes I like to play a random game from years ago. Honestly, I don’t even know anymore. Who am I? Why do I game? There’s got to be a better way!
 

daglesj

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I got a 16GB Optane for £19 on Amazon about a year ago. I tested it. Used it as a Pagefile drive in my GFs rig till we got her a 500GB 970.

Now it sits in the junk pile.
 
Mar 23, 2019
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I got the 32gb version for $40 last year to supplement my OEM 1Tb mechanical 5200rpm 2.5in HD. It significantly decrease Windows and common app load time. Its not exactly a plug and play device and a pain in the butt to configure in order to work, you need at least 7th Generation or newer Intel CPU to work. It only work with mechanical hard drive and not already installed SSD. I wanted to keep my 1tb storage space and a 256gb or 512gb SSD is not enough space for my laptop. It does a good job mimicking the performance of a SATA SSD and serve as a temporary fill in until M.2 SSD prices go way down.
 
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For non-technical folks, I think a low end, high capacity HDD + Optane will be more practical than low capacity SSDs, especially in laptops.
The problem comes down to cost. That 16GB Optane cache costs around $33 (at least for consumer pricing). Add to that the cost of the 1TB drive, and you're looking at spending close to $80 for that partially-cached 1TB hard drive with unpredictable performance. Sure, the laptop manufacturer probably gets better bulk pricing on these things, but some 500GB SSDs can be had for as little as $50 now, and would provide better performance overall, along with superior impact resistance and reduced power use, which are worth considering for a laptop. Or, for one who needs the capacity for bulk storage, keep the hard drive in the system, but add a 250GB boot SSD for about the same cost, providing better performance for everything installed to the SSD, and 25% more storage in total, albeit with the need to sort things between two drives. Or, to avoid that, just go the 1TB SSD route, which start at around $100, which is somewhat more, but again, provides better overall performance. It probably won't be long before even that price difference evaporates though.

SSD prices have been dropping recently, while the price of Optane has largely stagnated, making the value less attractive than when these cache drives first came out. Over the last two years, the prices of these Optane drives have only dropped by 20-25%, while the prices of SSDs have dropped by around 65-70%. While a 16GB optane cache may have been priced similar to a 120GB SSD then, you can now get an SSD with double that capacity for the same price. And when you figure in the cost of a 1TB hard drive, which have also stagnated, the pricing of SSDs becomes even more favorable.

What's wrong with just installing a few that you play at a time?
Another option would be to send those extra games over to the hard drive when not being played, and then back to the SSD when you start playing them again. Steam includes the option to move games between libraries on different drives, and doing that should be quicker than re-downloading. Or just play them from the hard drive if load times aren't too bad. If it's a game that's not played often, the files are likely to not be in the Optane cache anyway, especially for the lower-capacity units.

And while the article compares the 118GB Optane 800p for $175 against a 512GB 970 Pro for $160, an even better comparison would be against the cheaper, higher capacity SSDs, like Intel's own 1TB 660p NVME drive for just $115. As far as game load times are concerned, anything faster than that will make an imperceptable difference, so when you can get double the capacity for around 30% less than a 970 Pro, that option makes a lot more sense.
 

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