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

BENCHMARKING THE INTEL OPTANE 

Because Intel Optane Technology is so new, Intel sent us our Optane Memory sample installed in a new PC, which made sense as most reviewers wouldn’t be up to spec just yet to accommodate Optane…most reviewers.  For our testing scenario, we actually used three separate PC systems.  We tested the Intel Optane in the supplied Test Bench as you see here to the left of the camera equipment.

TSSDR Test bench PCs

We then ripped the SSD and WD Black 1TB HDD from that system and tested them on their own in our Z170 Test Bench.  And then for good measure, we installed Intel Optane Memory in our newest Z270 Test Bench, just to validate ease of installation and that performance was not cushioned at all in the Intel Test System by some unexpected optimization. It wasn’t.

Intel test Bench with WD Black HDD

For the purposes of testing the Intel Optane Memory disk cache,  there were no optimizations at all on the Intel Test Bench, or our Z270 Test Bench.  On the following pages, we benchmark the hard drive, Intel Optane SSD, and finally we tested the Intel Optane Memory with WD Black hard drive as a disk caching system.

BENCHMARK SOFTWARE

The software in use for today’s analysis is typical of many of our reviews and consists of Crystal Disk Info, ATTO Disk Benchmark, Crystal Disk Mark, AS SSD, Anvil’s Storage Utilities, and PCMark Vantage. We prefer to test with easily accessible software that the consumer can obtain, and in many cases, we even provide links. Our selection of software allows each to build on the last and to provide validation to results already obtained.

SYSTEM COMPONENTS

The components of all three PC’s are detailed below.  All hardware is linked for purchase and product sales may be reached by a simple click on the individual item. As well, the title of our test benches is linked back to the individual build articles where performance testing can be validated.

TSSDR ASUS Z270 APEX TEST BENCH  (link)

PC CHASSIS: Corsair Crystal Series 460X RGB
MOTHERBOARD: ASUS Z270 ROG Maximus IX Apex
CPU: Intel Kaby Lake I7-7700K
CPU COOLER: Corsair Hydro Series H110i GTX V.2
POWER SUPPLY: Corsair RM850x 80Plus
GRAPHICS: PNY GTX 1080 XLR8 Gaming OC
MEMORY: Corsair Dominator Pl 32GB 2800
STORAGE: Samsung 2TB 960 Pro M.2 SSD
KEYBOARD: Corsair Strafe RGB Silent Gaming
MOUSE: Corsair M65 Pro Gaming
OS Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit

TSSDR ASUS  Z170 TEST BENCH  (link)

PC CHASSIS: Corsair 760T White Full Window
MOTHERBOARD: ASUS Z170-P DDR4
CPU: Intel I7-6700K 4.00 GHz
CPU COOLER: Corsair Hydro Series H110i GTX
POWER SUPPLY: Corsair HX1200i ATX12V
GRAPHICS: PNY NVIDIA Quadro M5000
MEMORY: Corsair Dominator Pl 32GB 2800
STORAGE: WD HGST Ultrastar SN150 1.6TB
KEYBOARD: Corsair Strafe RGB Silent Gaming
MOUSE: Corsair M65 Pro Gaming
OS Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit

INTEL PROVIDED TEST BENCH

PC CHASSIS: In-Win C583 Midtower ATX
MOTHERBOARD: Asus Prime B250-Pro
CPU: Intel I5-7500
POWER SUPPLY: Cooler Master G550m 550W 80Plus
MEMORY: Kingston HyperX DDR4 3000 16GB x 2
HARD DRIVE: Western Digital Black 1TB 7200RPM
CACHING SSD Intel Optane Memory Module 32GB
KEYBOARD: Corsair Vengeance K70 Mech
MOUSE: Corsair White M65 Laser
MONITOR: QNIX QX2710 LED Evolution 2560×1440
OS Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit

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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