Happy Motherboards day: Here’s some (Optane) memory

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Happy Motherboards day: Here’s some (Optane) memory

No benchmarks available from 2D launch of 3D XPoint memory


Optane 2280 with M.2 connector

Hot on the heels of the Optane DC P4800X data centre SSD announcement, Intel makes a move on PC motherboard memory.

Optane uses co-developed Intel and Micron 3D XPoint memory, said to be not as fast as DRAM, but faster than NAND, while having NAND’s non-volatility and pricing between the two.

The M.2-connected Optane 2280 comes in 16GB and 32GB guises and is for Intel’s seventh-generation Core i7 processors (Kaby Lake). It is a single-sided device using 3D Xpoint media and has a PCIe Gen 3 x 2 interface; two lanes, not four.

These two products were first revealed at the January CES show.

It is used as a cache, via Intel’s Rapid Storage Technology. Chipzilla says: “Files needed for important tasks are immediately recognised and accelerated. Over time, frequently used files and applications are monitored and accelerated as well.” This will, Intel claims, “enhance the PC Experience”.


Intel says Optane Memory will boost PC app launch and file load events – without saying by how much – and is pushing the product to gamers who have a need for speed.

However, no benchmark results have been released relating to boot, application launch or run times. That means we don’t know how much faster an Optane-on-the-motherboard-equipped PC will be than a similar PC using M.2-connected flash memory. Obviously the Optane motherboard will be faster than a PC using disk drives with no Optane or flash caching but, duh, yeah, so what?

Our understanding is that product reviews will come out on April 24 so anyone pre-ordering kit is buying on hope and not any sort of performance reality.

Intel says there are more than 130 motherboards available that support Optane Memory, including ASRock, ASUS, EVGA, Gigabyte and MSI. In the second quarter we should see systems supporting Optane Memory from Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo and others.

Optane memory DIMM pre-orders start today with shipping commencing April 24. We haven’t seen any pricing information yet so we neither know the bangs for bucks number or indeed the bangs number on its own. Hold fire for now. ®