Tuesday, April 25th 2017

MSI Bundles Optane Cache SSDs with Select Motherboards

In what could be the first of many such bundles by motherboard manufacturers, MSI is preparing special SKUs of its motherboards that include Intel Optane cache SSDs. The drives won't be free, but the bundle would be slightly cheaper compared to buying the board and the drives separately. These bundles will be demarkated as variants of existing motherboards, and will come with the drives pre-installed on the boards' M.2 slots. MSI announced two such SKUs for now, the B250M Bazooka Opt Boost, and the Z270 Tomahawk Opt Boost, which come with 16 GB Intel Optane memory pre-installed and configured.

The 16 GB Intel Optane memory offers burst speeds that are 14X those of regular hard drives. The latest Intel Rapid Storage Technology driver, when configured for Optane caching, juggles "hot" data (most frequently accessed data) in and out of the drive from your main storage (HDD or even SSD), thereby boosting performance. MSI did not reveal pricing of the two SKUs, but they are expected to be nominally cheaper than purchasing the boards and drives separately.
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9 Comments on MSI Bundles Optane Cache SSDs with Select Motherboards

#1
alucasa
I wonder how much Intel paid them to do this.
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#2
Blueberries
Could be an interesting choice for PC builders but with the low cost of a 960 Evo I think it will only fit a niche group (economy class that require lots of data storage).
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#3
notb
alucasa said:
I wonder how much Intel paid them to do this.
Maybe it's the other way round? :) This could be a part of a larger deal: e.g. temporary exclusivity for something Intel-made in MSI notebooks.
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#4
bogami
This is similar to the benefit of the internal RAM RAMCACHE. The question is whether it is 16 GB enough? There is no where to load the OS and at least basic, not to mention the necessary space required for bufer download. Lack of capacity was already at the first mSATA card in addition to the ASUS P8Z 77 Premium that I bought and realized that it does no benefit from mSATA 34GB only the price vas high 445€ ! Be careful when buying.

So you can expect only the fast expected Windows Start. I would not sacrifice M.2 slots for so little. I'd rather buy 2 x Samsung 960 EVO and ties in RAID 0 and turn on the Rapid ...
Using the RAM disk software devices equally well speed up the responsiveness of windows. Just enough RAM is required to insert processes in ramdisk application .Yes when this technology will be on every disk in addition to ,... this will be really good. :)
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#5
silentbogo
I hope they won't back off on their promise, like BIOSTAR did w/ supposedly free Intel 600p bundled with some 200-series boards.
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#6
notb
bogami said:
The question is whether it is 16 GB enough? There is no where to load the OS and at least basic, not to mention the necessary space required for bufer download.
The cache doesn't need to contain the whole "Windows" directory - only what is necessary. That's few GB.
You can estimate an upper limit yourself by multiplying your disk read rate and the time Windows needs to start. In my case (around 120 MB/s and 30s) this is under ~3.6 GB.
Posted on Reply
#7
Steven B
notb said:
The cache doesn't need to contain the whole "Windows" directory - only what is necessary. That's few GB.
You can estimate an upper limit yourself by multiplying your disk read rate and the time Windows needs to start. In my case (around 120 MB/s and 30s) this is under ~3.6 GB.
Plus it's non volatile, so unlike RAM cache, it can store data in anticipation for boot up.
Posted on Reply
#8
notb
Steven B said:
Plus it's non volatile, so unlike RAM cache, it can store data in anticipation for boot up.
Of course, Optane has all qualitative properties of typical SSDs, while underneath it's more like RAM.

We might not like the price and some might not like the manufacturer, but this could be (IMO: is) the future of SSDs. And it will change how we use PCs.
For starters: it will make RAM-based Sleep Mode obsolete. :)
Posted on Reply
#9
Caring1
notb said:
For starters: it will make RAM-based Sleep Mode obsolete. :)
And for those that never use sleep mode and run their systems 24/7 there is always RAID.
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