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Thread: Intel Optane Memory support comes to Pentium and Celeron

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    Intel Optane Memory support comes to Pentium and Celeron

    But it must be an 8th gen processor and your system must be running Windows 10.
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    Re: Intel Optane Memory support comes to Pentium and Celeron

    This is definitely just intel testing the waters for a laptop release to drive more sales. On both optain and chips (despite the silicone not being available)

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    Re: Intel Optane Memory support comes to Pentium and Celeron

    Nah, this is Intel selling off go faster stripes before someone points out a security flaw.

    And they've ended the Intel with Optane CPU bundles, it's a fire sale.

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    Re: Intel Optane Memory support comes to Pentium and Celeron

    Does Optane really make a difference say for a gaming system with a mechanical drive and a M.2 SSD system drive? I'm just choosing a gaming laptop and Optane is on offer but I'm not sure whether to take the plunge.

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    Re: Intel Optane Memory support comes to Pentium and Celeron

    Quote Originally Posted by markih View Post
    Does Optane really make a difference say for a gaming system with a mechanical drive and a M.2 SSD system drive? I'm just choosing a gaming laptop and Optane is on offer but I'm not sure whether to take the plunge.
    if you have an M2 SSD already optane will just be burning money, add more RAM instead.

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    Re: Intel Optane Memory support comes to Pentium and Celeron

    Quote Originally Posted by markih View Post
    Does Optane really make a difference say for a gaming system with a mechanical drive and a M.2 SSD system drive? I'm just choosing a gaming laptop and Optane is on offer but I'm not sure whether to take the plunge.
    Optane has been made too expensive so there always seems to be a better place to put your money.

    A 1TB SATA SSD is about £90 now, which is big enough for a decent game collection and fast enough for good boot times.

    https://www.ebuyer.com/829682-kingst...-sa400s37-960g

    Compare that to £31 for a 1TB HDD and £35 for a piddly little 16GB Optane memory and you haven't saved that much money for worse performance. So you need to be rocking a really big hard drive for it to make sense. OFC with more spinning rust you might want a bigger Optane stick to better cover it (what game fits in 16GB these days?) so that's £60 for the 32GB version or £140 for the 64GB version.

    The rated performance of those Optane sticks seems pretty poor as well. A 290MB/s maximum write speed would be laughed at on even the cheapest SATA SSD these days, the 1200MB/s read speed is slow compared to an NVMe flash drive.

    Optane is an interesting technology, but Intel haven't achieved the performance from it that they originally announced and when you couple that with the high pricing they demand I have yet to see any use case where it can beat a flash drive of similar price (from memory a 32BG Optane drive has about the same write endurance as a 500GB flash SSD).

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    Re: Intel Optane Memory support comes to Pentium and Celeron

    It's basically storage tiering for the masses, it can help some situations but if your storage is already plenty fast enough it is a waste of time. Adding an optane module to a disk system could make it very snappy and perform like new...except the cost of an optane module can generally replace the entire HDD with an SSD for little much more.

    I think it could have a place and future generations of Optane could have exemplary uses in specific areas. I honestly can't wait for a fully state persistent non volatile RAM where you can sleep your laptop near instantly and boot near instantly and the standby power is inconsequential at best.

    Optane is getting in the right direction but this is very young tech and as winactive has said, it's just a firesale to get rid of stock that didn't work.

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    Re: Intel Optane Memory support comes to Pentium and Celeron

    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix View Post
    … Compare that to £31 for a 1TB HDD and £35 for a piddly little 16GB Optane memory and you haven't saved that much money for worse performance. ...
    In a £500+ enthusiast build I'd agree, and it's why Optane made no sense when it was limited to core i processors, and still struggles for relevance in home-built PCs. I think PC-LAD is spot on with this being a beta-run for introducing Optane into lower-end laptops - it means OEMs can get away with putting less RAM in a laptop (just wait for the 4GB RAM/8GB Optane Pentium 'Gold' machines to flood the market), and I'd put money on the margins to OEMs being trimmed fairly hard. And actually, in that use-case it makes a lot of sense.

    Last time I replaced a laptop at home, getting one with decent CPU, RAM, GPU and a good sized SSD was all-but impossible. In the end the closest we could get to the desired spec and budget was to go with an Optane-toting ASUS. And afaict there's been no noticeable day-to-day performance difference - the caching is working as promised and speeding up boot, wake-up and program launches to something approaching SSD levels - and as we've all been saying for years, the difference between spinning rust and a slow SSD is still worlds apart, whereas the difference between a slow SSD and a fast SSD is almost negligible for day-to-day use.


    ofc, whether Optane is a better option for that than a small M.2 SATA SSD is another matter entirely....

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    Re: Intel Optane Memory support comes to Pentium and Celeron

    I think cache drives are a daft idea these days. There used to be a case for hybrid HDD/SSDs which had a decent HDD and a few GB of SSD cache but that was when SSDs were markedly more expensive than HDDs and on top of that the performance difference was enough to warrant it.

    Now you're looking at Optane as a cache drive with not much in the way of performance improvements over just buying an SSD in the first place, all the downsides of a cache drive and savings which just aren't worth the compromises.

    These days, lower tier laptops with an i3 can easily be spruced up with the installation of a cheap SSD and some more cheap RAM. This usually will bring you a massive saving on a higher spec new system and perform just as well for a basic machine. If you really want to save money, get one second hand and do this to it and you'll usually end up with a very slick machine. Optane just doesn't have the tangible performance delta to make it worth the cost compared to the other options.

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    Re: Intel Optane Memory support comes to Pentium and Celeron

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    ofc, whether Optane is a better option for that than a small M.2 SATA SSD is another matter entirely....
    That was the thrust of my argument. If you can cache on an Optane SSD, you should be able to cache to a flash based SSD, and at current pricing the flash will be faster, bigger and cheaper.

    I presume the old Intel HDD caching to SSD tech still works? (Smart Response?)

    If Optane were cheaper it could kill flash, but that isn't where we are.


    The other thing that is changing is the low end pricing of storage. There is a minimum price to build something. You can't spin rust for less than about £30, the price never goes down just the capacity at that price goes up. For 500GB drives the price delta for HDD vs flash is about 50% at consumer pricing, that's £30 vs £45. If you drop to 240GB, then an SSD is £25 which is cheaper than you can buy *any* hard drive for. If the customer can wear just having 240GB of storage, then ssd is the cheapest machine you can make. As someone who has a couple of laptops with a 240GB SSD inside, I think the budget use for HDD is heading for a crash.

    Edit:

    Quote Originally Posted by Tabbykatze View Post
    II honestly can't wait for a fully state persistent non volatile RAM where you can sleep your laptop near instantly and boot near instantly and the standby power is inconsequential at best.
    But then when Windows goes wrong and you turn it off and on again, nothing will get fixed?

    I think if Optane enabled a machine with 64GB of "ram" at reasonable cost that would again be a killer market, but the write endurance and performance of xpoint is nothing like originally promised and looks like it never will be. In the meantime, mobile phones are backing up small PC amounts of RAM (8GB) with a small battery so if we really wanted that always on tech we could have it now.
    Last edited by DanceswithUnix; 02-04-2019 at 10:36 AM.

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    Re: Intel Optane Memory support comes to Pentium and Celeron

    Quote Originally Posted by philehidiot View Post
    ... all the downsides of a cache drive ...
    Like? Are they worse than the downsides of managing a smallish boot SSD? Remembering to install programs on the other drive? vs just being able to stick everything into the one volume like the VAST majority of "normal" computer users are used to?

    As I said, the last laptop purchased in my family ended up being Optane-accelerated because it was the only way to get all the other specs we wanted. And it just works.

    Quote Originally Posted by philehidiot View Post
    ... These days, lower tier laptops with an i3 can easily be spruced up with the installation of a cheap SSD and some more cheap RAM ...
    Cheap SSD, £30 for 240GB but you have to a) reinstall your OS onto it to get the benefits, and b) then carefully manage your installs and downloads because 240GB doesn't go that far nowadays. Extra RAM, 8GB DDR4 SODIMM for £40, assuming your laptop has a spare slot to install it into. That's an extra £70, which against a £500 laptop isn't much, but against a £300 laptop is fairly significant.

    Besides, that's still missing the point, which is that Optane isn't really focussed on consumer upgrades anymore. It's for OEMs wanting to give "normal" consumers an easy life, and it does that job well - it works as advertised, providing the simplicity of a single large storage volume, the responsiveness of a small boot SSD, transparent to the end user.

    The mainstream laptop market - sub £400 - is dominated by the choice of a 128GB SSD, or a 1TB HDD. Drop to £300 and you're only going to be getting 4GB of RAM with that. 128GB is tiny by modern standards - I run a 128GB boot SSD and I spend a LOT of time tweaking storage to keep it running smoothly. 1TB HDDs are dire, performance-wise - particularly in a RAM-limited computer where there'll be a lot of swapping.The thing is, anyone buying those Celeron and Pentium based laptops will blame the CPU - they got an Intel laptop and it's rubbish, so it must be Intel's fault, right?

    Bringing Optane to that market changes everything - a nice tight margin-trim to OEMs and you can keep the prices mainstream, but now you're getting the extra responsiveness from having that cache. Yes, it's measurably slow compared to a dedicated SSD, but it's lightning compared to your old spinning rust drive. And AMD don't have a nicely co-branded competing product - so suddenly cheap AMD laptops look even worse, thanks to that spinning rust drive. Classic Intel hearts and minds ploy.

    EDIT for crosspost:

    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix View Post
    ... I presume the old Intel HDD caching to SSD tech still works? (Smart Response?) ...
    Well, the option's available on both my 7th gen and 8th gen Core i laptops, but the maximum cache size is 64GB. Istr having this discussion last year when I got my new laptop, as to whether I'd be better off using my new SSD as a cache or a boot drive. For an enthusiast comfortable with their own upgrades and drive management it's a bit of a no-brainer. But as mentioned above, I'm pretty sure Intel's given up on Optane as a consumer post-upgrade, and is looking at the current gen as a "hearts and minds" loss-leader for the mainstream OEM market.

    The real problem with current-gen Optane is that it's only ~ 1 order of magnitude faster than flash, and still several orders of magnitude slower than RAM, so it provides no noticeable upgrade over normal SSDs. And tbh, I'm not sure whether SSDs aren't already fast enough, and memory pre-fetchers good enough, that there'll ever be a need for faster storage in the consumer market...
    Last edited by scaryjim; 02-04-2019 at 10:53 AM.

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    Re: Intel Optane Memory support comes to Pentium and Celeron

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    Like? Are they worse than the downsides of managing a smallish boot SSD? Remembering to install programs on the other drive? vs just being able to stick everything into the one volume like the VAST majority of "normal" computer users are used to?

    Cheap SSD, £30 for 240GB but you have to a) reinstall your OS onto it to get the benefits, and b) then carefully manage your installs and downloads because 240GB doesn't go that far nowadays. Extra RAM, 8GB DDR4 SODIMM for £40, assuming your laptop has a spare slot to install it into. That's an extra £70, which against a £500 laptop isn't much, but against a £300 laptop is fairly significant.

    Besides, that's still missing the point, which is that Optane isn't really focussed on consumer upgrades anymore. It's for OEMs wanting to give "normal" consumers an easy life, and it does that job well - it works as advertised, providing the simplicity of a single large storage volume, the responsiveness of a small boot SSD, transparent to the end user.

    The mainstream laptop market - sub £400 - is dominated by the choice of a 128GB SSD, or a 1TB HDD. Drop to £300 and you're only going to be getting 4GB of RAM with that. 128GB is tiny by modern standards - I run a 128GB boot SSD and I spend a LOT of time tweaking storage to keep it running smoothly. 1TB HDDs are dire, performance-wise - particularly in a RAM-limited computer where there'll be a lot of swapping.The thing is, anyone buying those Celeron and Pentium based laptops will blame the CPU - they got an Intel laptop and it's rubbish, so it must be Intel's fault, right?

    Bringing Optane to that market changes everything - a nice tight margin-trim to OEMs and you can keep the prices mainstream, but now you're getting the extra responsiveness from having that cache. Yes, it's measurably slow compared to a dedicated SSD, but it's lightning compared to your old spinning rust drive. And AMD don't have a nicely co-branded competing product - so suddenly cheap AMD laptops look even worse, thanks to that spinning rust drive. Classic Intel hearts and minds ploy.
    Downsides of a cache: constantly swapping stuff around = more write cycles used and less space available for wear levelling, if it ain't in the cache you get a nice big drop of unexpected lag, complexity breeds problems (one SSD = simpler). When it comes to responsiveness, it's consistency which matters most (unless it's always horrendously slow) and it's when you're trying to do something at a particular speed, you get a short hang or variability in response times and it ruins your flow. I will grant that a big enough cache drive on a system which is used by someone who just boots Windows, does some web browsing, etc and word processing will work absolutely fine.

    You absolutely do not have to reinstall your OS. It'll come preinstalled, you just need to use (often included) software to image the drive and dump that onto the SSD. I absolutely agree that this isn't simple for the average user but I'm pointing out how to get far better value for money. We did this with a free laptop that had been junked by the owner due to it being too slow and sluggish. It was very slow and sluggish with modern Windows (with all the updates) on. One SSD and a few GB of RAM later and it was perfect. If you're on a budget and you know a nerd, this is the way to go.

    Incidentally, I have a 128GB SSD on my Mac and don't have any issues with storage. That said, I knew it was small from the start and was careful with what I put on it and photos, music, etc don't live on it. Myself I'd say 500GB is the minimum you'd want for a Windows machine these days if you don't want to be worrying about space.

    My point was more that you can get the performance of the £500 laptop for £370 by getting the £300 one and adding in the RAM and SSD. Save yourself £130 as most people aren't going to be using the extra poke of an i5 over an i3 for general laptopping duties. Those who are won't normally be looking at this price point. Plus you could probably flog the old HDD on ebay for a few quid.

    To be honest, there's probably no wrong way of looking at this. Either solution will likely work just fine for the market being aimed at. What I would say is I really, REALLY hope that they don't use the Optane cache as some kind of "It's got 20GB memory!" marketing rubbish just because it has a 16GB cache and 4GB RAM. I can already see some marketing execs getting unsociably moist at the prospect and it would be an unfair con, exploiting the uninformed.

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    Re: Intel Optane Memory support comes to Pentium and Celeron

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    The real problem with current-gen Optane is that it's only ~ 1 order of magnitude faster than flash,
    One bit of Optane is faster than one bit of flash by a magnitude, nearly and only for reading. But that one bit of Optane storage is the cost of 10 bits of flash, so the actual performance is roughly the same. I think flash is also improving faster than Optane, which is worrying for Optane's future.

    I did laugh this morning when looking up current prices and specs, I looked on ebuyer for their cheapest NVMe SSDs: https://www.ebuyer.com/store/Storage...rice+ascending

    First hit is a 16GB Optane drive, with the comedy tag line "Uncompromising performance". Next hit is an Intel NVMe 128GB drive for 98 pence more which has nearly twice the read speed and 4.5 times the write speed, same warranty. Yeah, I think I might spot a compromise there
    Shame if you can only cache to half that SSD, but the drive firmware should work really well if half the drive is never written to so the space is available for recycling.

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    Re: Intel Optane Memory support comes to Pentium and Celeron

    That's like earth getting to use Optane when the universe is waiting.
    That's ok as Samsung catch up with something equally better.

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