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

OPTANE INSTALLATION

Installing the Optane is very easy, if you meet all compatibility requirements and have upgraded your BIOS/UEFI.

  1. Turn the PC off, install the Intel Optane module into a M.2 slot, restart and go into the UEFI;
  2. In the storage section of your menu, change from AHCI to RAID where it will also state words to the effect of ‘with Intel Optane System Acceleration’. Restart;
  3. Install Optane software.  We had to uninstall Intel RST to install the new file named ‘Intel Optane Memory’ and then observed it to have a version number in line with the latest RST build. If all goes well, you should see this:Intell Optane memory Installation Successful
  4. On restart, this will automatically appear.  If it does not, look for the Intel Icon bottom right of your screen, possibly with other hidden icons: Intel Optane Activation Menu
  5. Pressing yes will bring up a screen to enable Intel Optane:Intel Optane Enable menu
  6. At which time, the system will have to be started once again: Intel Optane Restart Screen
  7. Later, if you want to disable Intel Optane, you can check your hidden icons on the bottom right of your screen, clicking the Intel Optane icon and this menu will pop up:Intel Optane Disable Screen

We ran into one other difficulty that should be addressed.  The Intel Optane Memory module needs 5MB of unallocated space at the end of your hard drive, SSD or SSHD.  In our case, it stated that there was none (although the drive was a 2TB SSD 3/4 empty).  We simply went into Control Panel/Administrative Tools/Computer Management /Storage/Disk Management and right clicked on the ‘C’ drive, shrinking the volume by 1GB.  Yes it is a bit much but better safe than sorry.

11 comments

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

    • 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 for taking the time to comment.

      • 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).

      • 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.

  2. 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

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

  6. My system runs quite a bit faster than the Intel upgrade:
    9,068 MB / s Read, 14,048 MB / sec Write.
    4K Random Read 1,556 MB / sec, 4K Random Write 1,068 MB / sec.

    https://www.romexsoftware.com/en-us/primo-cache/

    Romex Primo Caching Software accelerates all read / write operations with RAM and SSD caching, turbo charging any CPU to run just as fast as the RAM can go…

    People keep trying to fix the Hard Drive speed bottle neck in hardware,
    when it is much easier to fix in software, and RAM caching…

    Primo Cache works similar to the Intel device. Say you have 32GB of RAM,
    set aside 16 GB for a super sized RAM cache – all read / writes work at RAM speeds.
    Primo Cache pairs ANY SSD device to the RAM cache, for a second level of persistent caching. All the stuff you use all the time, is copied to the SSD.

    On boot up, the SSD reloads all your commonly used info into the RAM cache,
    and the RAM cache dynamically updates itself to constantly keep you at top speed.

    Go ahead and hook up your favorite 8 TB Seagate Drives to your system…
    PrimoCache ensures your Big Iron hard drives run at RAMming speed.

  7. Drop down box with sub-pages please. Clicking 1-9 is so annoying

  8. There’s an option being overlooked by both Intel and MS:

    Readyboost filters small (~4K), random, oft used files onto media with lower latency than the main drive.
    The 2 drives then read/write files they are best and fastest at handling, at the same time.
    ie: A sort of ‘optimised for drive characteristics’, RAID 0…

    Now look at the random 4K read performance of Optane versus SATA SSDs and even NVME SSDs:
    https://www.google.co.za/search?q=optane+4k+random+write&safe=off&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwib_bSaqNHTAhWqB8AKHdxABmcQ_AUIDCgD&biw=1536&bih=798#safe=off&tbm=isch&q=optane+4k+random+versus+sata+ssd&imgrc=_
    Writes are not as impressive as random writes go into the DRAM cache on the SSDs, but:
    > This info can be lost in a power outage, so safer.
    > The low write speeds are only valid until the DRAM cache is full.
    > There should be an increase in SSD life as info is written to flash in 2-4 MB blocks
    nowadays.

    I think it’s worth testing to see if Readyboost does a better job than Intel’s RST due to this filtering/Optimised RAID 0..?

    Info on overriding MS’s Readyboost settings, to test this:
    https://hatsoffsecurity.com/2015/05/31/force-enabling-readyboost-windows-78/
    But will anyone? The ‘not invented here’ force is strong in humans! 🙂

    Romex:
    Everyone knows that with your software installed you basically end up using a HDD benchmark to benchmark RAM.
    Untick ‘Direct IO’ in Atto and MS’s Super/prefetch makes your block cache look stupid.
    Can your software do predictive caching, without wasting RAM by caching what’s already cached by prefetch?
    ie: Write software that switches on Superfetch with SSDs and add your SSD-saving ‘deferred writes’ and I’ll buy it!
    I will say that your caching of HDDs to SSDs is very good and universal, so if one wants to cache any HDD onto any SSD, or even RAIDed SSDs; PrimoCache is the best option.

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