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Intel's Optane Memory M.2 cache SSD is here to boost your HDD performance

By Michael Low & Kenny Yeo - on 28 Mar 2017, 10:12am

Intel's Optane Memory M.2 cache SSD is here to boost your HDD performance

Image source: Intel.

Last week, Intel finally announced products that utilize its new 3D XPoint memory. 

The first product was the Optane SSD DC P4800X, a SSD with impressive low queue depth performance and incredible endurance that is aimed squarely at enterprise users.

Now, Intel is bringing 3D XPoint memory to consumers with its new Optane Memory M.2 cache SSD.

The Intel Optane drives will come in low capacities of 16GB and 32GB, and are intended to be used as a cache. Remember Intel Smart Response Technology and Larson Creek?

As a cache drive, the Optane Memory drive will store all your most frequently accessed data. Here, Intel has tweaked the caching algorithms to better suit and take advantage of the performance benefits of 3D XPoint memory.

With Optane Memory, Intel is targeting at users who are still stuck on using slow-spinning mechanical HDDs as their primary drive.

That said, you can use Optane Memory with SATA-based SSDs and even hybrid HDDs, but the performance gain will be smaller.

The main idea is to get almost SSD-levels of performance and HDD-levels of storage at a compelling price. The 16GB Optane Memory drive will be priced at US$44, while the larger 32GB drive will be US$77.

That isn't too bad, but Intel's Optane Memory has some high requirements to work. We are looking at a Kaby Lake processor with an accompanying Intel 200-series motherboard. 

This is the latest hardware available, and it remains to be seen how many users will upgrade to the latest and greatest in Intel hardware only to outfit it with an HDD. 

As it stands, Intel Optane Memory will likely be a very niche product for a small set of users. On the bright side, at least consumers can now get a taste of 3D XPoint memory. 

We, on the other hand, will be waiting for the first 3D XPoint memory SSD to drop.

Source: Intel.