Intel Optane Memory Review – 1.4GB/s Speed & 300K IOPS for $44

BENCHMARK PERFORMANCE – HARD DRIVE

We thought it smart to first test the Western Digital Black 1TB hard drive to demonstrate just how slow a hard drive is compared to an SSD, and in this case Intel Optane memory also.  Don’t get me wrong; the WD Black is an excellent choice for a HDD and provides the one thing that SSDs cannot, which is very large capacity at great value.  

WD Black 1TB HDD

Our end goal, however, is to draw a complete picture and allow you to determine if the difference in speed between the HDD and Intel Optane memory suits your needs.

CRYSTAL DISK INFO VER. 7.0.5

Crystal Disk Info is a great tool for displaying the characteristics and health of storage devices. It displays everything from temperatures, to the number of hours the device has been powered, and even to the extent of informing you of the firmware of the device.

WD Black 1TB HDD CDI

ATTO DISK BENCHMARK VER. 3.05

ATTO Disk Benchmark is perhaps one of the oldest benchmarks going and is definitely the main staple for manufacturer performance specifications. ATTO uses RAW or compressible data and, for our benchmarks, we use a set length of 256mb and test both the read and write performance of various transfer sizes ranging from 0.5 to 8192kb. Manufacturers prefer this method of testing as it deals with raw (compressible) data rather than random (includes incompressible data) which, although more realistic, results in lower performance results.

WD Black 1TB HDD ATTO

CRYSTAL DISK BENCHMARK VER. 5.2.1 X64

Crystal Disk Benchmark is used to measure read and write performance through sampling of random data which is, for the most part, incompressible. Performance is virtually identical, regardless of data sample so we have included only that using random data samples.

 

WD Black 1TB HDD CDM

AS SSD BENCHMARK VER 1.9

The toughest benchmark available for solid state drives is AS SSD as it relies solely on incompressible data samples when testing performance. For the most part, AS SSD tests can be considered the ‘worst case scenario’ in obtaining data transfer speeds and many enthusiasts like AS SSD for their needs. 

WD Black 1TB HDD AS SSD Bench

ANVIL STORAGE UTILITIES PROFESSIONAL

Anvil’s Storage Utilities (ASU) are the most complete test bed available for the solid state drive today. The benchmark displays test results for, not only throughput but also, IOPS and Disk Access Times. Not only does it have a preset SSD benchmark, but also, it has included such things as endurance testing and threaded I/O read, write and mixed tests, all of which are very simple to understand and use in our benchmark testing.

WD Black 1TB HDD Anvil

PCMARK VANTAGE X64 HDD SUITE

The SSD Review uses benchmark software called PCMark Vantage x64 HDD Suite to create testing scenarios that might be used in the typical user experience. There are eight tests in all and the tests performed record the speed of data movement in MB/s to which they are then given a numerical score after all of the tests are complete.

WD Black 1TB HDD Vantage

HDD PERFORMANCE SUMMARY

Apologies for this and the next two benchmark pages being a bit long, however, we wanted to be able to draw a complete picture with as many examples as possible.

Examining these results for the hard drive, it is pretty easy to see that the hard drive is slow when comparing to flash media, but take a close look at the low 4K read speed in the Crystal DiskMark result at 1.3MB/s.  What?!?!  Yes, this is the culprit that results in your getting a coffee or some other activity while your PC is starting.  This result is the cause of slow startups, shut down, and application use to name just a few. In fact, testing this drive took so long on AS SSD (software not meant for HDD), that we had to stop the benchmark. PCMark Vantage is a great example of just how slow data moves with a hard drive.  Now let’s take a look at the Intel Optane Memory module…plugged in as an SSD!

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Pabst BR
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Pabst BR

Would you consider testing these with the built in Windows 10 Ready Boost alongside the plain HDD?

Les@TheSSDReview
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Are you asking for a comparison of Ready Boost using a USB to that of Optane. You do realize that the USB has a much lower low 4k read speed than the Optane dont you… to the tune of 150-200 times. We are an SSD site but I have tested Ready Boost on my own in Windows. IMO it is more gimmic than worth the trouble. With Optane… in this case, the startup system files are readily available in the cache to equal the startup of an SSD. I might think that alone would dissuade any thought of comparison. Thanks… Read more »

Pabst BR
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Pabst BR

My apologies, I thought it was possible to dedicate a SSD 32 GB or smaller as a Ready Boost drive. If that is not the case then disregard. Thanks for the review. I hope Micron releases a more hardware agnostic version in the future (for AMD boards with NVMe).

Les@TheSSDReview
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No need to apologize.. stuff like this makes us think outside the box. This actually let me in another direction to confirm something i wasn’t sure of with respect to new Optane.

citrix13
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citrix13

Les, I would have like to have seen the Intel DC P3700 in the Real World File Transfer Tests, having said that the Kingston DCP1000 is beyond insane at File Transfers, the Intel Optane excels at 4K low queue depth Reads and the Lowest Latencies i’ve seen to date

Mark
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Mark

“on a green PCB”
Interesting. If the PCB is environment friendly then it is bigger news to me then optane memory.

Mark
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Mark

I wonder how reliable Optane is. Anandtech.com reported that when it failed it took some data with it. I have no issue recommending SSHD over plain HDD but what is worrying me is required software component.

Bnet
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Bnet

So it performs admirably as a read cache, but what about as a write cache? Would the low latency be good enough to overcome the limited sequential write speeds if faced with continuous cache eviction?