Last week Intel announced the Optane SSD DC P4800X, an insanely fast solid state drive.

Sadly its price tag of almost R20 000 means that it will only probably be used for its intended purpose in data centers. Despite that we really want one just to see how fast it really is, and now our prayers have been answered.

Well, sort of. This week, Intel announced the first Optane memory module for desktop PCs, but it isn’t like the SSD we saw last week. Instead, it’s a dedicated SSD designed to make traditional hard drives a bit faster with fancy caching tech.

The desktop Optane module comes in two capacities, 16GB and 32GB. This should – according to Intel at least – improve system performance by up to 28% and help PCs using those older mechanical drives to boot twice as fast.

“It increases the speed of application, game or large file loading so people don’t have to wait nearly as long. It does this by ensuring the data contained in a PC’s storage is more readily accessible, which means an overall faster, more responsive experience,” senior vice president of Intel’s Client Computing Group Navin Shenoy says.

The trouble with this is that these modules will only work with Intel’s 7th Generation Core processors and their corresponding motherboards. That means that if you wanted to speed up a rather old PC with this clever-sounding piece of tech, you’re out of luck.

Intel’s Optane modules are out on 24th April and will cost $44 (R573) for the 16GB model and $77 (R1 000) for the 32GB model according to Anandtech.

Intel has also said that pre-built systems containing Optane drives are on the way from HP, Dell, Lenovo, ASUS and others.

Of course, the more pertinent question here is whether performance of an Optane-equipped PC would be comparable to that of an SSD. From what we’ve read so far, that answer is “no” – a straight-up SSD will always be faster.

So why splash out a thousand ZAR on an Optane module that won’t make existing drives faster than an SSD, when you can buy a 128GB SSD for the same cash or less? At a guess we’d have to say perhaps it’ll be most useful for people who just want to speed up their data/game drives.

Still, seems like a lot of cash money for a questionable performance boost.

[Source – Intel][Image – Intel]


Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.