Optane memory from Intel set to impress in responsiveness for PCs

Credit: Intel

(Tech Xplore)—This week technology watchers peering under the PC hood have been talking about the Monday announcement by Intel; it is to offer its Optane memory product for PCs. What's the big deal? The product offers a generous gift of responsiveness and speed, apparently.

Ian King in Bloomberg: "A machine equipped with Intel's Optane memory package will perform those routine tasks much quicker than computers currently in use, Intel said."

Here is what Intel claims: 2X faster boot time, 28 percent faster system , 65 percent faster game level loads. "Optane acts as a high-speed cache," said Computerworld.

Intel's Navin Shenoy, senior vice president and general manager for the Client Computing Group, fleshed out what the numbers mean to Intel. "...on a given day, most people launch 11 apps, and then launch each app seven times. With the increased speed and responsiveness of Intel Optane memory in a 7th Gen Intel Core processor-based system, you can power on your computer up to twice as fast and improve overall system performance up to 28 percent faster with storage performance up to 14x faster."

Lucas Mearian, senior reporter, Computerworld, wrote about how this memory product will "come in an M.2 'gumstick' form factor and connect to PC motherboards via storage slots using the PCIe/NVMe 3.0 x2 I/O lane interface."

Rick Merritt of EE Times said Monday, "The cards work exclusively with Intel's seventh-generation Core i7 processors and use Intel software to make a hard disk and the M.2 card appear as a single storage volume to an otherwise unmodified Windows 10 PC."

Optane memory prices reported are a 16GB version for $44 and 32GB package for $77.

In their look at the Intel announcement, technology sites raised some points worth noting.

On March 27, 2017, Intel introduced the Intel Optane memory module for desktops. Intel Optane memory and 7th Gen Intel Core processors deliver 2X faster boot time, 28 percent faster system performance, 65 percent faster game level loads. Credit: Intel Corporation

"Power consumption is rated at 3.5W during active use, so heat shouldn't be a problem, but the idle power of 0.9-1.2W is a bit high for laptop use, especially given that there will also be a hard drive drawing power," said Billy Tallis in AnandTech.

Tallis also said in AnandTech: "Intel's vision is for Optane Memory-equipped systems to offer a compelling performance advantage over hard drive-only systems for a price well below an all-flash configuration of equal capacity."

EE Times reflected on cost. Merritt commented that the Optane cards will give "price-insensitive users an alternative to the AMD chips if they want the highest performance available."

In the bigger picture, Merritt said that "Whether more high-end users vote to save money or increase performance will be one of the key questions for the PC market in 2017."

April 24 is the date to mark.

Intel said on Monday, "we are announcing the Intel Optane memory module (16GB and 32GB) for desktops with availability beginning April 24 for customers who want to install them in their Intel Optane memory ready motherboards or systems."

"Our understanding is that product reviews will come out on April 24," said The Register. The reviews should be of interest to those who want to know what the reviewers have to say about performance.

Intel said, in the second quarter of this year, a number of PC manufacturers will begin shipping consumer and commercial products equipped with Intel Optane .

Explore further: Might Intel Optane memory tech come to MacBooks?

More information: newsroom.intel.com/editorials/ … intel-optane-memory/

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