Despite enjoying a near monopoly with its enterprise-grade Optane SSD, Intel recently announced that it is releasing a new and more affordable Optane Memory solution that is poised for the more mainstream market. Intel claims that this new technology can boost hard drive performance that can level SATA-based SSD speeds.
Intel will release two Optane-based devices on April 24. These two devices will use M.2 interface. According to PC World, there will be a 16GB model which will cost $44, while the 32GB Optane Memory model will cost $77. Intel claims that the two models are rated to have a very fast read/write speeds of 1.2GBps and 280MBps, respectively.
— Intel Official News (@intelnews) March 27, 2017
The two Optane Memory devices are not meant for storage. Instead, they will serve as primary cache drives for the more traditional hard drive. Both models use the Smart Response Technology which Intel introduced back in 2011.
While Optane Memory offers unprecedented speed boost when used in conjunction with a hard drive, the same cannot be said when users are already using an SSD as their main storage option. Intel said that SSD users will get a slight upgrade in speed, but not as huge as those using a traditional HDD.
While these are all impressive features for the Optane Memory devices, there are a handful of restrictions in order to use them. First is that they require a seventh-generation Intel Kaby Lake processor. Another important factor is that they also require a 200-series mother that has a 22x80 M.2 slot.
It appears that Intel has been aggressively marketing the Optane Memory technology to some of its third-party partners. Intel confirmed that systems equipped with Optane Memory from Dell, Asus, Lenovo, and HP will hit the market within the second quarter of 2017. Something that enthusiasts might be looking forwards to.