Intel Optane – Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger?
Peter Donnell / 8 months ago
A Closer Look
Remember, the Optane drive is only 32GB. However, you can purchase them in 16GB and 32GB right now, with 64GB on the way soon. The 80P series will go beyond that, but more for the extreme and professional markets rather than consumers. Furthermore, the 32GB drive is likely all that’s needed for most PC users, including a PC gamer like myself. It’s not meant to be used as a boot drive, just a cache drive, so 32GB is plenty.
Boost my HDD or my SSD?
While Optane can benefit an SSD thanks to its lower latency, you wouldn’t particularly see significant benefits. However, if you’re trying to speed boost an older SSD, the effect would be more profound. What’s really magical is how you can give a standard mechanical HDD performance that rivals that of an SSD. Again, for larger files like editing projects in Premiere or Photoshop, large movie files and similar, SSD is still going to be the best format for your work.
However, for PC games which now often take up 100GB+, storing them all on an SSD can get expensive. We’re going to use a 2TB Western Digital Blue 5400 RPM HDD. That’s big storage, but it’s not big speed. Of course, we’re going to boost the HDD with Optane and see just how close it comes to SSD-like performance.
Setting up your Optane drive is surprisingly simple, as you install your OS on your SSD or HDD as usually. Furthermore, you don’t even have to reinstall from scratch. Install the Optane drive in an open M.2 drive bay on your compatible motherboard, install the Optane software, reboot, and it is done. The rest is done automatically. Optane will cache everything you load, and prioritise your data as you use it more often. If you want to remove or upgrade the Optane drive, you just disable it in the software, and you’re good to make changes.