Tuesday, February 21st 2017

Intel Launches Site Detailing Optane Requirements: Skylake Users Need Not Apply

Microprocessor giant Intel has launched a new page dedicated to its 3D XPoint-based Optane memory solution, a technology that it jointly developed with memory manufacturer Micron back in 2015, and was supposed to be on the market by 2016. The company missed that date; however, the technology is still interesting to enthusiasts and power users alike, due to its promises of both high speed and large capacity, a seemingly unattainable combo in today's markets.

Unfortunately, it seems that any system built around when Optane was announced will not be able to run Optane-based SSDs. In the system requirements section of its page, Intel has indicated that Optane will not run on anything earlier than a Kaby Lake based CPU. No exceptions. Yes, that includes Skylake, Broadwell, and pretty much everything else besides Kaby Lake. You will also need a 200-series chipset or newer.
Skylake is amongst the most surprising of these exclusions, because it is nearly identical architecture-wise to Kaby Lake and a Skylake based chip was once used in a Optane test demonstration. Sources: Intel, bit-tech
Add your own comment

33 Comments on Intel Launches Site Detailing Optane Requirements: Skylake Users Need Not Apply

#1
bug
Just my (educated?) guess: at launch price, you won't want to run one of these anyway.
Posted on Reply
#2
AntDeek
Can someone please explain to me how this is different than me just popping in a PCI-E m.2 SSD on my board? Seems confusing honestly
Posted on Reply
#3
lexluthermiester
bug, post: 3605327, member: 157434"
Just my (educated?) guess: at launch price, you won't want to run one of these anyway.
Unless money isn't a thing. But still, this kind of limitation is a reason NOT to adopt this technology. It's not like there are a lack of options. So Intel, in reference to Optane, I feel no need to replace my high-end, if older, PC for a technology that will do little in the long run. Put another way[imagine I'm holding up my hand with fingers extended], pick a finger. Can you guess which one is intended?
Posted on Reply
#4
deemon
AntDeek, post: 3605337, member: 166399"
Can someone please explain to me how this is different than me just popping in a PCI-E m.2 SSD on my board? Seems confusing honestly
it's faster. supposedly.
to me it's surprise they use M.2 slot.... didn't they talk about using unused RAM slots for Optane SSD's?
Posted on Reply
#5
the54thvoid
Well, it points to something better from Intel coming down the pipeline because who's going to use such an endurance friendly piece of hardware with a 4 core CPU? I'm assuming they want to tank the HPC market with their next HEDT/XEON uber core chips.
Posted on Reply
#6
AntDeek
But does the user just install windows on it like any other SSD or this is an aid SSD?
Posted on Reply
#7
R-T-B
AntDeek, post: 3605347, member: 166399"
But does the user just install windows on it like any other SSD or this is an aid SSD?
I would assume if you just install this in some other M.2 slot board the OS will not "see" it at install, it will probably need some kind of driver that only Kaby Lake can run.

Just a guess on my part though.
Posted on Reply
#8
lexluthermiester
the54thvoid, post: 3605346, member: 79251"
I'm assuming they want to tank the HPC market
Never gonna happen.
Posted on Reply
#9
mcraygsx
Always was under the impression that Skylake was compatible. What about the users running Skylake CPU on Z270 chipset or the other way around.
Posted on Reply
#10
bug
lexluthermiester, post: 3605342, member: 134537"
Unless money isn't a thing. But still, this kind of limitation is a reason NOT to adopt this technology. It's not like there are a lack of options. So Intel, in reference to Optane, I feel no need to replace my high-end, if older, PC for a technology that will do little in the long run. Put another way[imagine I'm holding up my hand with fingers extended], pick a finger. Can you guess which one is intended?
Well, it's not very unlikely initial yields are low enough and implementation problems are numerous enough that intel isn't actually aiming for mass adoption from the start. They just need to prove it works, because they hold the patents and everyone will need to license.

Edit: You got me guessing. I hate when this happens.
Posted on Reply
#11
R-T-B
mcraygsx, post: 3605367, member: 151421"
Always was under the impression that Skylake was compatible. What about the users running Skylake CPU on Z270 chipset or the other way around.
According to what I read, no, you need both Kaby Lake and Z270.
Posted on Reply
#12
lexluthermiester
bug, post: 3605369, member: 157434"
Well, it's not very unlikely initial yields are low enough and implementation problems are numerous enough that intel isn't actually aiming for mass adoption from the start. They just need to prove it works, because they hold the patents and everyone will need to license.
Good point.


bug, post: 3605369, member: 157434"
Edit: You got me guessing. I hate when this happens.
LOL!
Posted on Reply
#13
FR@NK
Intel"
Intel® Optane™ memory and its logo denote a platform feature made up of individual components and not solely a single small factor solid state drive or a memory media.
Sounds like you only need kaby lake if you want to market it as "Optane"; which makes sense as they want it used with current processors.

I would guess the actual 3d xpoint drives will work on any NVMe system.
Posted on Reply
#14
R-T-B
FR@NK, post: 3605383, member: 25830"
I would guess the actual 3d xpoint drives will work on any NVMe system.
If true, that would be awesome... although it does deflate my headline a bit.

To be fair though, the whole internet is reporting it like me. ;)
Posted on Reply
#15
Bruno Vieira
AntDeek, post: 3605337, member: 166399"
Can someone please explain to me how this is different than me just popping in a PCI-E m.2 SSD on my board? Seems confusing honestly
All the SSDs and RAM that we have today uses a basic chip called NAND Memory Chip, so.. Optane or 3D Xpoint is another silicon, and Intel says that thays way faster and endure much more than any nand chip.

They are also based on silicon and store data, but in the fundamental level, it should be very different from nand modules.

Lets wait to see
Posted on Reply
#16
Arrakis9
deemon, post: 3605343, member: 156683"
it's faster. supposedly.
to me it's surprise they use M.2 slot.... didn't they talk about using unused RAM slots for Optane SSD's?
Thats 3D Xpoint that your thinking of, which branches off of the same tech and is aimed at the enterprise market were you have tons of ram slots.

AntDeek, post: 3605347, member: 166399"
But does the user just install windows on it like any other SSD or this is an aid SSD?
R-T-B, post: 3605351, member: 41983"
I would assume if you just install this in some other M.2 slot board the OS will not "see" it at install, it will probably need some kind of driver that only Kaby Lake can run.

Just a guess on my part though.
from what I've read around the net Optane SSD's are targeted at mid/low cost laptops as an alternative to pricy M.2 SSD's think of it as a hybrid hard drive solution or hard drive caching; SSD+HDD. I've read some where that there will also be an update to intel's RST software that will leverage optane as such, which in turn would validate this article as it being a driver requirement buried in RST for these things to work.
Posted on Reply
#17
Hood
R-T-B, post: 3605375, member: 41983"
According to what I read, no, you need both Kaby Lake and Z270.
This may be a bad time for Intel to impose artificial limitations, the perception of corporate greed could trigger a mass exodus to Zen, as more people say "f**k Optane", which is, for now, just an obvious attempt to sell useless major upgrades - hey Intel, don't forget to put LEDs on these, so nerds will be able to tell it's an "upgrade"
Later, when Optane drives run from RAM slots, the speed may be there, but for now it's all hype...
Posted on Reply
#18
EarthDog
deemon, post: 3605343, member: 156683"
it's faster. supposedly.
to me it's surprise they use M.2 slot.... didn't they talk about using unused RAM slots for Optane SSD's?
It's a faster cache, correct. I don't think we will see great performance out of the m.2, but if the DIMM form is as fast as their video says, now THAT may be much better. :)
Posted on Reply
#19
AntDeek
My question was if I got hypothetically an Optane drive, does it just show up as an installable volume in windows? Or do I have my windows install on an SSD normally, and the optane card acts as a booster?
Posted on Reply
#21
AntDeek
Reading that seems like I'm better off saving for a nice M.2 SSD since my mobo supports PCI-e 4x SSDs
Posted on Reply
#23
R0H1T
mcraygsx, post: 3605367, member: 151421"
Always was under the impression that Skylake was compatible. What about the users running Skylake CPU on Z270 chipset or the other way around.
It was always KL or above, with x270 being the first chipsets having native Optane support.
Posted on Reply
#24
InVasMani
EarthDog, post: 3605483, member: 79836"
It's a faster cache, correct. I do think we will see great performance out of the m.2, but if the DIMM form is as fast as their video says, now THAT may be much better. :)
There is a point where it's all just fairly redundant especially beyond sequential bandwidth at least for normal compute users and we are way beyond that point already even the very early entry SSD's were leaps and bounds faster in terms of reads than standard storage HD's where seek times were very noticeable. I mostly care most about capacity and price coming down with SSD's atm especially after the recent artificial price gouging the last 4-6 months that's sure to ensure probably for another year or two just because they can get away with it basically I mean look at high capacity HD's price hiking a few years back they dragged that out for years.
Posted on Reply
#25
JalleR
Remember that it is a joint venture with Microm, so maybe Micron will make a M.2 or PCI-E card to all other users...

my guess is that intel will make a PCI-E and other form factors as well that is more flexible.

I know for a fact that some BIG companies is/has been testing these tech on bigger server platforms the past half year, so I guess there will be some support on older systems that the 7000 series.
Posted on Reply
Add your own comment