back to article Intel reveals Optane will need a 7th-gen core and a PC-centric launch

The price and precise performance of Intel's Optane storage-class memory still remain officially obscure, but the company has confirmed the PC version of the product will run only on 7th-generation Core i7, i5 and i3 CPUS nestled into certain motherboards. The new details are hiding in plain sight on a new Optane web page that …

  1. inmypjs Silver badge

    Another intel product..

    I won't be buying till I get round to moving from Win 7 to Linux.

    1. returnofthemus

      Re: Another intel product..

      Yeah, sorry Intel I bought a Windows 10 PC last year, on the understanding that I will no longer have to worry about upgrading, you're 12 months too late, come back in another 5-years

  2. Stoke the atom furnaces

    Anyone understand what Intel are doing here?

    Have they finally gotten around to plumbing flash memory directly into the address space of their CPUs, rather than having all processor<->SSD I/O squeeze through a serial ATA interface?

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      M.2 already goes via PCIe lanes

      The only faster interconnect I know of on those chips is the DDR bus, so do I have to sacrifice RAM to get this speedier storage?

      If so, then it's unlikely to be worth it.

      1. phuzz Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: M.2 already goes via PCIe lanes

        Going to be slightly pedantic here; M2 is the physical type of slot, and devices that plug into it may use either PCIe, SATA, or USB as the underlying bus.

        There are some SSDs that use M2 and SATA (via AHCI), but the really fast ones use NVMe, which is a direct PCIe connection.

        NVMe SSDs are tiny, about the size of a single strip of chewing gum, which is slightly disappointing when you've just spent lots of money on one.

        1. commonsense

          Re: M.2 already goes via PCIe lanes

          "Going to be slightly pedantic here; M2 is the physical type of slot"

          It's actually M.2 (m-dot-2), if you're going to be pedantic...

          1. phuzz Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: M.2 already goes via PCIe lanes

            Damnit, not pedantic enough :(

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Would have been nice if it was an AMD

      Most Intel CPUs have various artificial limits on how much memory you can put on them. For example 3-5 years ago all Core chips were saddled with 8G limit which was further decreased on actual retail products down to hard 4G limits. At the same time AMD allowed 64G+ on anything provided you had the slots to physically put the memory in.

      I do not quite see this one working out, unless they are simultaneously removing their rather idiotic memory mapping limitations, which they use to artificially force you onto a Xeon if you need more RAM than they have decided to allow you.

      1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

        Re: Would have been nice if it was an AMD

        It isn't that much of a problem, really. Xeon 1 series support ECC memory and are not much more expensive than the equivalent desktop processors (apart from lacking overclocking ability and sometimes having a slightly slower clock speed) when core counts are below six; it's two, four or more way Xeons or high core counts in single way when things start to become seriously expensive.

        Being picky, the limit on Core2 desktop chips was actually 16GB (X38/X48/S3210, some Q<nn>), 8GB (975X, some of the Q<nn> chipsets), and 4GB or less for early/low end chipsets. For the average user this was not a problem.

        Only the H81 chipset in recent generations is limited to 16GB, even the B85 chipset allows up to 32GB.

      2. quxinot

        Re: Would have been nice if it was an AMD

        >Most Intel CPUs have various artificial limits on how much memory you can put on them.

        It's directly related to the MSRP of a given chip.

        And irritating. Zen's been released, and it's hard to tell through the marketing malarky, but hopefully it makes Intel do something interesting with this stuff. As of yet, it looks like the big 8c/16t chips are going to be holding even with the big i7's, but at a third the price. So does that mean the boys in blue will triple (well, quadruple more likely) their storage pricing, or crash it to make the boys in red less appealing?

        Don't know that I care really. Seems like for many years now, my machine(s) have been fast enough, if I'm a little cautious about what software I run on them.

  3. analyzer

    Oh just what I need

    A system that the manufacturer designs builds and charges a premium for because they cannot use a standard interface properly. I mean it's not like there are any other products of this type that just slot in the DIMM slot. Oh Hi Diablo, hey over there SanDisk how ya doin?

    Unless optane becomes a serious must have item this could go badly wrong for intel.

    1. Lennart Sorensen

      Re: Oh just what I need

      The DIMM ones are very non standard and I haven't actually seen OS support for them (Diablo seems to be totally failing to provide sources for any drivers as far as I can tell, so no idea how they are supposedly working with linux at this point). At least Optane appears like it might be NVMe compliant, although the fact they claim you have to have the NVMe mapped through the PCH is a potentially bad sign for actually being standard. I am suspecting that they are saying that so it can be used as a cache for another drive, which is one of the RST features intel offers for windows users and if the Optane drives are only 16 or 32GB, then caching might in fact be their best (only?) use, rather than primary storage.

      In fact based on what I have read elsewhere, an Optane drive will in fact work in an NVMe slot on a Z170 board, but it won't work with RST as a cache drive, which is the new feature of the Z270. So if that is actually true, then the Optane drive looks like any other standard NVMe drive, and you can use it as such, although since it is rather small, you probably don't want to just use it as a stand alone drive. Linux users can probably use it as a cache drive for another disk using bcache or lvmcache.

  4. nkuk

    So if it only works with motherboards with the x270 / x250 chipset its incompatible with almost every PC in existence.

    I'm just about to buy a Ryzen CPU and motherboard so that's me lost as a potential customer.

  5. Korev Silver badge

    Upgrade time?

    Is this finally a reason to upgrade from my 3750k?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vaporware

    So Far

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Big name, small improvement.

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