Intel's Optane in PCs is as good as it will get for years, says analyst

You could wait for servers and apps to grok storage-class RAM … or just supercharge 'puters

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Memory-centric analyst firm TrendFocus reckons Intel's Optane is going to take years to make a difference in the data centre, which means using it in PCs is as good as it will get for the foreseeable future.

The good news is that Optane screams in PCs: the firm cites a Gamespot review to assert that a PC with Optane and a 1TB, 7,200 RPM spinning rust hard was four to eight times faster than a solid state disk at read-heavy tasks data. The combination wasn't as fast as solid state disks when it came to writes, but did beat spinning rust write times by 80 per cent.

As the 32GB Optane module costs has a list price of US$77 and you can pick up a 1TB drive for US$50, that combination doesn't cost much more than a 256GB solid state disk, but slays the latter on capacity. And also on reads, which are important for applications beyond gaming.

That Optane gives you the chance for a quick and cheap PC performance boost leads TrendFocus to suggest that scenario as the most likely short-term value adder to users, as “enterprise solutions using Optane are a long-term development project, requiring significant re-architecting of server platforms if the technology is used either as straight storage, or some kind of storage class memory.”

The firm's John Chen also says Intel and Micron believe 3D Xpoint “will not likely reach cost levels to become a direct replacement for NAND in the long run.”

Chen of course notes that Optane only works with seventh-generation Core processors and the motherboards that support them, so is only going to help those making new PC purchases.

So hands up who doesn't want the combination of super-fast reads and hard disk capacity? Bueller? ®

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