Monday, March 27th 2017

Intel's First Client Optane Product is a Cache SSD

Intel's first consumer (client) SSD based on its revolutionary new 3D Xpoint memory is an Optane branded cache SSD that improves the performance of slower local storage, such as hard drives, or even slower NAND flash based SSDs. On machines with larger hard drives, Intel claims that a 3D Xpoint based cache SSD could halve booting times, improve overall system performance by 28 percent, and lower game level load times by up to 65 percent. As a cache-SSD, it's also designed to be affordable, and that's because it's local storage is 16 GB or 32 GB.

The target consumer is one that which is transitioning from hard drives to SSDs, and is happy with a noticeable performance boost, as long as they don't lose the immense capacities of their HDDs. It also targets gamers with SSDs that are running out of space for multiple >50 GB games, so they could start installing some of those games on their larger/slower HDDs and get reasonably improved performance. As with all SSD caching technologies from Intel in the past, such as the ReadyBoost and Smart Response, Optane cache SSDs juggle "hot data" (frequently accessed data) in and out of their user-space from the host storage. On the software side of things, Intel Rapid Storage Technology 15.5 and later handles the caching tasks.
The Optane cache SSD is a single-sided M.2-2280 drive with PCI-Express 3.0 x2 host interface, and takes advantage of the NVMe protocol. The drives offer sequential speeds of up to 1200 MB/s reads, with up to 280 MB/s writes, and 4K random access performance of up to 300,000 IOPS reads, with up to 70,000 IOPS writes. What Optane brings to the table is a gargantuan command queue depth, and an endurance rating of 100 GB writes per day (which is huge for a 16 or 32 GB drive, given that it's over 6 DWPD for the 16 GB variant.
Source: TechReport
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41 Comments on Intel's First Client Optane Product is a Cache SSD

#1
HopelesslyFaithful
ridiculously stupid product and niche of a niche. This shit shouldnt be more than 2 dollars a GB.
Posted on Reply
#3
Patriot
Delta6326


Source:

Now we should compare to a traditional SSD then a NVME drive.

IF it competes with a traditional SSD and costs $40... It has a budget play.
Buy a $100 4tb drive, and a $40 16gb cache buffer and have ssd ish performance?
Posted on Reply
#4
Delta6326
Patriot
Now we should compare to a traditional SSD then a NVME drive.

IF it competes with a traditional SSD and costs $40... It has a budget play.
Buy a $100 4tb drive, and a $40 16gb cache buffer and have ssd ish performance?
My guess is when comparing to a SSD the difference wasn't much, so Intel didn't have them test it or it's coming in a future video.

Boot 39.74
On my system I got Excel 1.19Sec. Word 1Sec.
I don't have the others to test.
Posted on Reply
#5
XiGMAKiD
For ultrabook it's just a waste of space, for budget build you better get an SSD for that kind of money

Maybe you can use this to cache the games that you installed in the HDD and shorten it's loading time, but I'm not sure if it's worth it
Posted on Reply
#6
HopelesslyFaithful
Delta6326
My guess is when comparing to a SSD the difference wasn't much, so Intel didn't have them test it or it's coming in a future video.

Boot 39.74
On my system I got Excel 1.19Sec. Word 1Sec.
I don't have the others to test.
excel and word are mostly single thread limited in terms of loading speed. Most of windows is single thread due to crappy coding. Hence why for my main rig i run a 4.8GHz 6700K.

you'll notice that cache speed is very different. If i open work close open excel and open word again. there is no cache. If i open and close and open word again the second time is cached. Windows need to be threaded and cache better...hell even let uses choose what to cache given the amount of RAM they have. I would have a slew of things preload in my RAM on boot if i could.

this is very easy to tell how crappy windows caching is and how much faster cached program loads when you play around with calc, paint, word, excel. Cache appears to dumb as soon as another program opens.

If you have NVMe vs RAMDisk and watch CPU in taskmanager and TS you will quickly see how nearly everything in windows is single thread limited.
Posted on Reply
#7
RejZoR
Buy cheapest smallest SSD you can buy. Buy PrimoCache. Pair together to a HDD. Cheap SSD performance. There is just no way this Optane thing will be affordable. Not even at such tiny capacities. Cheap 128GB SSD cache will be just better as it'll cache WAY more stuff. And with SSD's, random access is all it matters, not massive sequential speeds. And difference between normal SSD and Optane just isn't that big in real world scenarios.
Posted on Reply
#8
HopelesslyFaithful
RejZoR
Buy cheapest smallest SSD you can buy. Buy PrimoCache. Pair together to a HDD. Cheap SSD performance. There is just no way this Optane thing will be affordable. Not even at such tiny capacities. Cheap 128GB SSD cache will be just better as it'll cache WAY more stuff. And with SSD's, random access is all it matters, not massive sequential speeds. And difference between normal SSD and Optane just isn't that big in real world scenarios.
optane excels at QD1...cheap SSDs are garbage as QD1 compared to XPoint (not counting this crap cache). Latency is also a huge deal.

960 PRO has done a good job of getting the latency down but optane is still better from what little leaks we have seen. Waiting for reviews to really tell.

QD 1 is all that matters...not "random ____"....not high QD and not sequential.

But the difference in NVMe NAND and XPoint won't really show until we get rid of PCIe and put this stuff in a direct channel to the CPU via memory lanes or some new port or better on the die.

Once you get XPoint closer to the CPU the QD1 IOPs will explode because PCH and PCIe have huge latency overhead do to being so far from the CPU.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/10754/samsung-960-pro-ssd-review/4

"expensive" SATA SSDS have 8-30 times the latency. Also consistency is crap.
Posted on Reply
#9
RejZoR
In theory, that translates to massive differences. But in REAL situations, it means absolutely NOTHING. I've had that Sandisk ReadyCache which was based on USB thumbdrive controller/NAND. Then I bought Samsung SM951 M.2 AHCI with more IOPS and 1.5GB/s sequential read. The difference was minimal, mostly only at write when populating cache...
Posted on Reply
#10
HopelesslyFaithful
RejZoR
In theory, that translates to massive differences. But in REAL situations, it means absolutely NOTHING. I've had that Sandisk ReadyCache which was based on USB thumbdrive controller/NAND. Then I bought Samsung SM951 M.2 AHCI with more IOPS and 1.5GB/s sequential read. The difference was minimal, mostly only at write when populating cache...
you dont know what your talking about or what to look for. This is clear.

QD1 affect everything from AV/AM, explorer, loading, reading writing, encryption, everything.

A real XPoint SSD should show 3-7x better QD1 and thats very noticeable. I noticed from from 480GB Extreme pro to 950PRO easily. I also hammer my drives and i also use encryption and other stuff. Consistency is also critical here. Sandisk extreme pro was king of latency and consistency and mix load but the 950PRO rekts it and is very noticeable.

If XPoint was 2 bucks a GB i would be buying a TB drive in a heart beat because the difference is very noticeable especially in day to day activity. Again as i keep spamming the web with this.....go read IBMs 1980s study on rapid response systems.

Key here is response times and APM (actions per minute). There are many activities that are inherently limited by QD1 if you actually compare the best SATA to 950PRO and watch CPU and disk usage.

This is from 1982....yet people 35 years later still fail to understand basic computers and human brian fucntion. This is why i build my PC around QD1 and Signle thread since everything is coded like shit. AV/AM can't even use multiple thread or hgh QD because people can't code.

http://jlelliotton.blogspot.com/p/the-economic-value-of-rapid-response.html
Posted on Reply
#11
RejZoR
Dude, I've used hybrid SSD/HDD storage when most of you were wanking on garbage SSD boot drives. Yeah, I KNOW what I'm talking about.
Posted on Reply
#12
HopelesslyFaithful
RejZoR
Dude, I've used hybrid SSD/HDD storage when most of you were wanking on garbage SSD boot drives. Yeah, I KNOW what I'm talking about.
yea...thats convincing. I have used SSDs, HDDs, RAIDs, NVMe for various tasks on very fast single thread PCs and there is huge differences when you use programs like PS, Chrome, Opera, Explorer, VeraCrypt, ripping files, 7zip, and so on.

Hell an uncrypted 480GB Extreme Pro could not download and install a game on Steam at 22MBps without pausing to play catch up because of the whole downloading, unpacking, and installing going on. The download was 4:1 in extracted to downloaded size on steam.

950PRO and single thread are still the bottleneck on malwarebytes (because of shitty coding) (well they did just release a multithreaded client so i haven't really analyzed the new one yet.

The difference from 950PRO to Extreme Pro in encryption is horrifyingly good.

The difference with extracting and installing on the same drive is the difference between night and day over those two drives.

I could keep going but i won't waste my time.

So yes you clearly are full of crap and have no clue what you are saying.
Posted on Reply
#13
RejZoR
And you've just floated from upgrading garbage HDD performance with cheap SSD caching into triple digit prices of high end SSDs... You just make zero sense.

The jump from sole HDD to HDD with SSD cache is gigantic, almost identical to the level of replacing HDD with SSD entirely. The jump from crappy SSD to top end SSD is far less significant and certainly not justifiable with the price point. Even more less when that person still has HDD. Which can only mean they don't have the money. Otherwise they'd be on SSD only.
Posted on Reply
#14
HopelesslyFaithful
RejZoR
And you've just floated from upgrading garbage HDD performance with cheap SSD caching into triple digit prices of high end SSDs... You just make zero sense.

The jump from sole HDD to HDD with SSD cache is gigantic, almost identical to the level of replacing HDD with SSD entirely. The jump from crappy SSD to top end SSD is far less significant and certainly not justifiable with the price point. Even more less when that person still has HDD. Which can only mean they don't have the money. Otherwise they'd be on SSD only.

you claimed there is no difference between XPoint and NVMe in real world usage, which is factual wrong. I proved there are numerous places where there are drastic differences and plenty of room to gain in real world usage...your the one who makes zero sense lol.
In theory, that translates to massive differences. But in REAL situations, it means absolutely NOTHING.
I never defended this XPoint cache in any of my posts. I also said its a stupid garbage product unless in a real SSD form factor and wont be epic til we give it direct access to the CPU.

EDIT: additionally, you claim its not justified given the price point (crappy SSD to top of the line). Again, I will refer you to the IBM study from 1982 since after 35 years people are still idiots and fail to understand how humans work.

Their study is a prime reason why i remove all transitions from my phone and from windows and use a fast single thread CPU.
Posted on Reply
#15
RejZoR
Because there isn't any worth making god damn drama about. And stuff that damage control BS wherever you want it, because you damn well know even the difference between average SSD and top of the line NVMe in REAL day to day use is almost non existent. If you say otherwise you're just lying to yourself. And consequently to others...
Posted on Reply
#16
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
HopelesslyFaithful
A real XPoint SSD should show 3-7x better QD1 and thats very noticeable. I noticed from from 480GB Extreme pro to 950PRO easily. I also hammer my drives and i also use encryption and other stuff. Consistency is also critical here. Sandisk extreme pro was king of latency and consistency and mix load but the 950PRO rekts it and is very noticeable.
You talk about different use scenarious. Of course encryption will, as you say, hammer the drives. You are an edge case, RejZoR is closer to the avarage. You are both right, which should be obvious.
Posted on Reply
#17
HopelesslyFaithful
RejZoR
Because there isn't any worth making god damn drama about. And stuff that damage control BS wherever you want it, because you damn well know even the difference between average SSD and top of the line NVMe in REAL day to day use is almost non existent. If you say otherwise you're just lying to yourself. And consequently to others...
Again you don't understand human brain and how delays hurt productivity.

Go read that link and educate yourself. The windows fade animation is 120-150ms IIRC and thats is counter productive. No fade is about 30-50ms IIRC. The difference in significant especially when you open and close a window 100s of times a day. IBM study stopped at 300ms but it shows you got going from 600ms to 300ms saves 3 seconds in total time on the task at hand. Every task is difference but the concept on how the human brain works is universal. This is relevant to every aspect of computer use from proper UI design....which doesn't exist because idiots design this stuff for looks....thanks apple.....to the hardware in the PC and how it is coded. The difference from using my Ultrabook with a 3GHz SKL and Sammy EVO vs my desktop with a 4.8 GHz SKL and 950 PRO is huge.

You are truly ignorant on this topic and you should take awhile and read the study and learn. Pulling your head out of your ass is a good thing to do.



Additionally, consistency is a big issue from cheap SATA to best SATA to 950 PRO. I have posted extensively on hardforum about this. I just posted many day to day activity above about the best SATA vs 950 PRO where I notice much better user experience in numerous tasks. This ranges from loading chrome/opera to loading photos and moving files.

Again I would gladly ditch my 950 PRO for a XPoint if it was 2 dollars a GB but at 4 per GB its ridiculous for my dad to day PC.

If i save 5 mins a day with the better SSD or better single thread or whatever that equals to be a lot of time over a year or 2. That is 60 hours of my time and at 10 or 20 or 30 or 40 dollars per hour upgrading can easily be worth the time saved.
Posted on Reply
#18
HopelesslyFaithful
Frick
You talk about different use scenarious. Of course encryption will, as you say, hammer the drives. You are an edge case, RejZoR is closer to the avarage. You are both right, which should be obvious.
again i mentioned basic shit like downloading a game off Steam is bottlenecked by my Extreme Pro SSD...thats one of the best SATA drives on the market and it is bottlenecked. My 950 Pro is not. Through in AV/AM and a rip in the background and a downloading game? Extreme Pro and PC hangs. 950Pro? Nope...rock solid. Would it be faster with an XPoint drive? Yest it would be.

Oh also all my examples above about the Extrem Pro was also 25% OPed. The drive was 360GB. My 950 PRO has 0% OP. and still run laps and runs smoother and more consistent.

Thats all without FDE....with FDE....holy crap is it massive difference. Also even with FDE being CPU limited a faster SSD still gives better performance. I posted benchmarks in the past on hardforum about this too. I was surprised on how much more speed i got from the 950 PRO even with CPU maxed.

Added one of my initial tests below.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/kjglibxq8gzqacs/Extreme Pro vs 950 Pro Encrypted.png?dl=0
Posted on Reply
#19
RejZoR
Oh my god, stop jumping all over the f**king place with "facts". First you talk about cache and next moment you talk how downloading a game stuffed your SSD which is used as primary drive. These things DON'T happen to SSD caches. Ever. And I'm talking about SSD caches. The entire frigging time. Coz, you know, this thread is about that...
Posted on Reply
#20
HopelesslyFaithful
RejZoR
Oh my god, stop jumping all over the f**king place with "facts". First you talk about cache and next moment you talk how downloading a game stuffed your SSD which is used as primary drive. These things DON'T happen to SSD caches. Ever. And I'm talking about SSD caches. The entire frigging time. Coz, you know, this thread is about that...
I was talking about entire drives the entire time. I never jumped anywhere....idiot. You claimed there is no difference from SSD cache to cheap SSD to NVMe. I clearly showed you don't know squat and showed the faster speed can easily be justified with time saved via IBMs study.

RejZoR
The jump from sole HDD to HDD with SSD cache is gigantic, almost identical to the level of replacing HDD with SSD entirely. The jump from crappy SSD to top end SSD is far less significant and certainly not justifiable with the price point. Even more less when that person still has HDD. Which can only mean they don't have the money. Otherwise they'd be on SSD only.
this is patently false. Proven false by IBMs study and objective data.


If you use the PC all day long and even just make 10 dollars an hour you can justify a highend SSD with your time saves assuming you actually are opening windows, programs, files, and installing..

If your APM are very low than cheap SSD is still justifiable with making only 10 dollars a day.

If you have a real job and income 960 PRO is easily justifiable with time saved.

Your biggest time saver and money maker is turning off transitions. lol
Posted on Reply
#21
RejZoR
Oh my god, your density is exceeding critical mass. I'm done with you.
Posted on Reply
#22
HopelesslyFaithful
RejZoR
Oh my god, your density is exceeding critical mass. I'm done with you.
or maybe you have no factual basis to stand on and are simply wrong.
Posted on Reply
#23
RejZoR
Don't you have IBMs study to back that up again? :rolleyes:
Posted on Reply
#24
R0H1T
The only time this makes sense over a software caching solution, like Primo, is when you need tons of RAM & extremely low latency for your work. Seeing as how there aren't very many programs that can make use of micro seconds worth of latency, I'd say Intel is selling snake oil to the uninformed masses. Having used Primo, it's fairly obvious that it is the best multi level software caching solution out there, I doubt a pure hardware based implementation, which doesn't beat a RAM based cache, is gonna be too much better for the masses.
Posted on Reply
#25
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
RejZoR
Buy cheapest smallest SSD you can buy. Buy PrimoCache. Pair together to a HDD. Cheap SSD performance. There is just no way this Optane thing will be affordable. Not even at such tiny capacities. Cheap 128GB SSD cache will be just better as it'll cache WAY more stuff. And with SSD's, random access is all it matters, not massive sequential speeds. And difference between normal SSD and Optane just isn't that big in real world scenarios.
The only problem with PrimoCache is it doesn't accelerate writes. Otherwise that would be a good alternative.

Hell, Intel already has this same technology. They are just rehashing Smart Response SSD Caching using a super fast XPoint drive(and hence super expensive), and they are still limiting it to 16/32GB. At least Smart Response with a standard SSD lets you use 64GB. I'd be far happier if they just remove the size limit on Smart Response and let use use as much SSD space for caching as we can. At least with Smart Response I can accelerate writes as well as reads.
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