Friday March 31, 2017

Kaby Lake Pentiums and Celerons won't Support Optane Memory

Tech Report has an article up about an interesting aspect of the Optane launch that everyone seems to have missed last week. We have long heard that in order for Intel's Optane disk caching system to work, you need to be running a Kaby Lake CPU. Well, apparently not all Kaby Lake CPU's qualify. The cheapest CPU's in the Kaby Lake line won't get support.

This is particularly puzzling because Intel is targeting the tech at caching traditional spinning hard drives, which is a budget approach compared to the enthusiasts fast m.2/PCIe SSD's, yet the technology doesn't work with Intel's budget CPU's. The guys over at Tech Report do make a good point in this regard, but as always be wary of bias, as their ownership is very close to AMD.

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We've gotta say: this is a baffling decision on Intel's part. Assuming ARK is correct, the cheapest CPU one can pair with an Optane Memory device is the Core i3-7100, a $120 part that's $28 more expensive than our budget-favorite Pentium G4620. The Core i3 adds 200 MHz of clock speed and AVX support to the bargain, to be fair. Even so, paying $65 or so in total to get that Core i3 CPU and the 16GB Optane Memory hardware itself seems like a hard sell for the frugal system builder who's already chosen a capacious hard drive.

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