Intel's speed-boosting Optane Memory won't work with Celeron and Pentium PCs

Intel's new Optane Memory is aimed at non-enthusiast users, but only those with at least a Core i3.

IDG

IDG

Intel’s revolutionary new non-volatile Optane Memory wants to make hard drives as fast as SSDs, but apparently not if you bought a PC on the cheap.

The super-fast Optane Memory M.2 drives announced Monday not only require a Kaby Lake processor, but a Core one at that, as first spotted by The Tech Report. According to Intel’s ARK database and Optane website, Kaby Lake-based Celeron and Pentium processors aren’t supported.

That’s puzzling because these new Optane Memory drives target mainstream PCs rather than enthusiast systems, supercharging the performance of traditional hard drive. With an Optane M.2 drive installed, Intel promises speeds close to that of an SSD in some scenarios. The Optane Memory does this by caching your regular tasks, such as launching a particular program or game. The launch time then gets faster with each successive operation.

It’s an interesting idea, and one that appeared easy to implement in Intel-controlled tests we performed at Optane’s launch event.

But if this first round of Optane Memory is aimed at speeding up non-enthusiast PCs, why not support Celeron and Pentium? Non-enthusiasts often buy cheaper PCs that are likely to be running these lower grade processors (and traditional hard drives) rather than the more expensive Core CPUs. Nobody's reviewed these Optane cache drives yet but this restriction seems likely to narrow their potential audience.

Why this matters: While this first release of Optane Memory may not excite hardcore gaming enthusiasts, the future for the technology could still be bright. When Intel and Micron first announced 3D XPoint—the technology that Optane products use—the companies promised nothing short of a revolution. 3D XPoint could function as both volatile and non-volatile memory with 1,000 times the performance and endurance of NAND-based SSDs, they claimed.

This first effort for consumer-grade Optane gear doesn’t come close to that. But with Optane SSDs for servers rolling out in 2017, who knows what the future will bring? The idea of a full-blown, standalone Optane SSD is still tantalizing indeed.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags intel

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?