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Intel Optane Memory 32GB M.2 NVMe SSD Review (Page 5)

By Jon Coulter on Apr 24, 2017 at 11:00 am CDT - 4 mins, 44 secs reading time for this page
Rating: 100%Manufacturer: Intel

CrystalDiskMark

Version and / or Patch Used: 3.0 Technical Preview

Mechanical HDD only - Intel provided test system:

Intel Optane Memory 32GB M.2 NVMe SSD Review 27 | TweakTown.com

What we saw from our Anvil's testing applies here as well. An HDD on its own is as bad as it gets. Even USB pen drives can eviscerate the performance of a mechanical HDD. The only thing an HDD has going for it is cost per terabyte.

Mechanical HDD + Optane Memory - Intel provided test system:

Intel Optane Memory 32GB M.2 NVMe SSD Review 28 | TweakTown.com

Optane Memory acceleration gives you the best of both worlds. Pairing Optane Memory with an HDD makes a world of difference, but you still do have to keep in mind that unless the data is cached by Optane, you will only be getting HDD type performance. Uncached performance will usually occur only once - the very first time you use a particular program. After that, Intel's intelligent caching software will recognize and accelerate everything that is commonly used.

Optane Memory running as a secondary storage device - Intel provided test system:

Intel Optane Memory 32GB M.2 NVMe SSD Review 29 | TweakTown.com

As the results show once again, the Optane Memory module is somewhat handicapped when tethered to a mechanical HDD. When we set it free, random performance shoots up significantly. Keep in mind that the Optane Memory module we are testing today, as fast as it is, only gives us a glimpse of the potential performance that 3D XPoint has to offer. This is because it is severely handicapped by the hardware configuration of the Optane Memory module itself. Imagine if you will, a full-blown Optane SSD with a more media die and a more powerful controller running on 4-lanes of Gen3 x4 PCIe. Later on, this year we won't have to imagine because it will be a reality.

Optane Memory running as OS disk - TweakTown's high-performance Z270 test system:

Intel Optane Memory 32GB M.2 NVMe SSD Review 30 | TweakTown.com

As we move over to our high-performance test system, random performance shoots up significantly. To put some perspective on the random read performance at QD1, 317 MBs 4K QD1 read translates to 81,152 IOPS. A 960 Pro at QD1 will deliver about 15,360 IOPS on this same version of CDM.

CDM version 5.2.1

We decided to include some CDM results with the latest version of CDM, because it is more commonly used to test storage performance. Again, we are primarily focused on 4K QD1 random read performance for the reasons we already stated.

Mechanical HDD + Optane Memory - Intel provided test system:

Intel Optane Memory 32GB M.2 NVMe SSD Review 31 | TweakTown.com

4K read = 209.8 MBs is equivalent to 53,708 IOPS

Optane Memory running as a secondary storage device - Intel provided test system:

Intel Optane Memory 32GB M.2 NVMe SSD Review 32 | TweakTown.com

4K read = 304.2 MBs is equivalent to 77,875 IOPS

Optane Memory running as OS disk - TweakTown's high-performance Z270 test system:

Intel Optane Memory 32GB M.2 NVMe SSD Review 33 | TweakTown.com

4K read = 365.8 MBs is equivalent to 93,645 IOPS. To put this in context, a 960 Pro running on this same test system gets 63MBs or 16,128 IOPS. This means that the 32GB Optane Memory module is delivering 5.8x the performance of a 2TB 960 Pro at 4K QD1 read.

AS SSD

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.8.5611.39791

AS SSD determines the performance of SSDs. The tool contains four synthetic as well as three practice tests. The synthetic tests are to determine the sequential and random read and write performance of the SSD. We evaluate AS SSD performance in terms of overall score. We are looking for a minimum score of 2,000 when evaluating NVMe SSDs.

We chose not to test with the HDD alone because it would take literally hours to run a complete an AS SSD test.

Mechanical HDD + Optane Memory - Intel provided test system:

Intel Optane Memory 32GB M.2 NVMe SSD Review 34 | TweakTown.com

In terms of overall scoring, the Optane Memory Module is severely limited by its inherently low write performance and also because it is tethered to a Mechanical HDD. With this in mind, we will give it a pass for not meeting our minimum score of 2,000. We did not let the access times run in this configuration because AS SSD is accessing the HDD only and it would take at least a half hour to an hour just to get the access times, which would be useless anyway because it does not reflect the Optane Memory acceleration.

Optane Memory running as a secondary storage device - Intel provided test system:

Intel Optane Memory 32GB M.2 NVMe SSD Review 35 | TweakTown.com

Untethered from the HDD, the Optane Memory module performs like a champ despite the low write performance that is inherent to any super-low capacity SSD. We see a decline in random write performance in comparison to HDD + Optane. This provides us with confirmation as to the reason behind this same decline in write performance we witnessed with Anvil's. When the Optane Memory module is running untethered on the RST driver, Windows write caching is disabled resulting in lower random write performance.

Optane Memory running as OS disk - TweakTown's high-performance Z270 test system:

Intel Optane Memory 32GB M.2 NVMe SSD Review 98 | TweakTown.com

For reasons unknown, running Optane as our OS disk did not agree with AS SSD's data pattern. The overall score is still quite good despite the drop in sequential read/write performance. The 4K QD1 random read performance is a new lab record for AS SSD.

4K read = 259.58 MBs is equivalent to 66,452 IOPS

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Jon Coulter

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Jon Coulter

Jon Coulter became a computer enthusiast about the time Windows XP launched. Originally Jon was into water cooling and competitively benching ATI video cards with modified drivers. Jon has been building computer systems for himself and others by request for more than 10 years. Jon became a storage enthusiast the day he first booted his system with an Intel X25-M G1 80GB SSD. Look for Jon to bring consumer SSD reviews into the spotlight.

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