We've studied storage acceleration with a high-speed cache a number of different ways over the years from both Intel and third-party software developers. In principle, the technology is sound, but in practice, we've found faults. Mainstream uses gifted the technology benefit the most. We call it gifted because these users don't shop for the acceleration as the sole feature and rarely does inclusion make or break a device sale.
When it comes with a product preconfigured end users use it, but they look at the overall performance at the device level and not as an enabled feature. Most don't even realize why the system is as fast as it is. It's like looking at the green grass at a neighbor's house without considering the chemicals applied weeks before. You know the results, but leave the 'how' to the system builder, or gardener in our example.
Of all the Optane-based devices we've tested, this has been the most challenging. When we build test systems, it's usually a long process with several steps in the validation process. Like Doug DeMuro, we have to find the quarks and features. The HP Spectre x360 has a lot of quarks and features that make it a great convertible notebook, but it's not the ideal way to test storage performance. With a bit more time, we could work around some of the quarks, but our schedule was very limited with this review.
There are some key takeaways from the performance we measured with the Optane Memory H10. These carry over to the Optane Memory M10 as well. The technology rarely hurts performance and if added on to an existing platform, doesn't cost a lot.
You don't need to run an application several times to see a performance benefit. In many cases, we spotted increased performance on the first test with the Optane Memory enabled. The performance does increase more as you continue to run the application.
Last but not least, and this one carries over to all NVMe SSDs, the largest performance increases come from heavier workloads. For consumer users, this usually means multitasking. Systems with Optane Memory love to multitask with several applications running at the same time. Your workload likely doesn't need the extreme performance of a dedicated Optane SSD like the 900P and 905P, but your applications and user experience will be better with Optane Memory.
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