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Intel Optane storage coming to consumer markets

Intel's Optane Memory is coming to consumer markets in bite-size capacities. (Photo source: Intel)
Intel's Optane Memory is coming to consumer markets in bite-size capacities. (Photo source: Intel)
The fast storage solution will be available in 16 GB ($44) and 32 GB ($77) capacities. Their primary use seems to be as a fast cache drive for a larger SSD or HDD.

Intel’s Optane storage looks to be the next evolution in computer storage. We saw the first of these SSDs come to the enterprise market last week. While they offer some major advantages over more traditional SSDs, including faster speeds and improved longevity, they come with a much higher price tag - about USD $1,520 for 375 GB of storage. This high price tag is pretty restrictive for average consumers, but PC enthusiasts craving the latest in storage technology may be in luck - sort of.

Intel is making Intel Optane Memory drives available for order on April 24th this year. The drives will offer a small amount of blazing fast storage (16 or 32 GB) that is meant more for caching data in conjunction with a larger capacity primary drive. Using software, the system will see both the Optane and larger drive as a single volume and automatically cache data into the faster Optane “sector.” This should result in faster system performance and quicker load times for applications.

These drives definitely won’t be for everyone, though. The cost is still pretty high: the 16 GB drive will be $44, while the 32 GB drive will be $77. This works out to about $2.75/GB and $2.41/GB, but these drives have much less utility than the larger enterprise-grade drives. In addition to the high cost, users will need at least a 200-series chipset motherboard, a compatible B-M keyed M.2 2280 slot, and an Intel Kaby Lake CPU. But for those on the bleeding edge of PC technology, the fast access times offered by Intel Optane storage may be worth the additional cost.


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Sam Medley, 2017-03-27 (Update: 2017-03-27)