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Optane accelerators and biggest HDD in most builds and call it a day?

maniacalpha1-1

Diamond Member
Feb 7, 2010
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For my computers the last 8 years I've basically always had one small SSD for windows, the largest SSD I can bear to spend on for the most important games and then an HDD.

But I've seen this review for Optane accelerators:

https://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/8157/intel-optane-memory-32gb-2-nvme-ssd-review/index9.html

Anyone have experience with these yet? Is it pretty much OK now to just get an optane accelerator and a large HDD, and not get any more complicated than that?

I need to point out that I've read that Optane accelerators ONLY work with the primary drive that windows is installed to...that means, you can't put windows on an SSD and games on HDD and have it accelerate both.
 

cbn

Lifer
Mar 27, 2009
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I've been interested in 32GB (even 16GB) Optane myself....but if are thinking you might want a larger amount there is also AMD and the fuzedrive software (which allows for a larger amount of optane (or NAND based SSD) to be used as auto-tiered storage)
 
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Insert_Nickname

Diamond Member
May 6, 2012
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Anyone have experience with these yet? Is it pretty much OK now to just get an optane accelerator and a large HDD, and not get any more complicated than that?
Not really. 32GB Optane + 4-6TB HDD would work fine.

I'm using an Optane drive in my HTPC, and for once I'm impressed. (as a boot drive, but be aware this requires a fair bit of fiddling to get Windows onto a 32GB drive)

I need to point out that I've read that Optane accelerators ONLY work with the primary drive that windows is installed to...that means, you can't put windows on an SSD and games on HDD and have it accelerate both.
This is correct. You can only accelerate a single HDD. But its really not a problem, you can just install games to c:\games (or similar). Then they'll get acceleration too.

BTW, there are 58 and 118GB Optane drive incoming sometime March. If you need a larger cache.
 

maniacalpha1-1

Diamond Member
Feb 7, 2010
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Not really. 32GB Optane + 4-6TB HDD would work fine.

I'm using an Optane drive in my HTPC, and for once I'm impressed. (as a boot drive, but be aware this requires a fair bit of fiddling to get Windows onto a 32GB drive)



This is correct. You can only accelerate a single HDD. But its really not a problem, you can just install games to c:\games (or similar). Then they'll get acceleration too.

BTW, there are 58 and 118GB Optane drive incoming sometime March. If you need a larger cache.
That's what I meant, is an optane accelerator 32GB plus an HDD, and not splitting out SSDs at all, a sufficient approach now? Sounds like it is, I hate having to open up and transfer drives, major pain at least for me.

You're using a 32GB optane accelerator as your boot drive? That must not have been easy, what I read was that when those things are installed they are invisible to your system and just accelerate the primary windows drive. How'd you get windows actually installed on it/force your system to recognize it as an installable drive?
 

Insert_Nickname

Diamond Member
May 6, 2012
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That's what I meant, is an optane accelerator 32GB plus an HDD, and not splitting out SSDs at all, a sufficient approach now? Sounds like it is, I hate having to open up and transfer drives, major pain at least for me.
As long as you're aware of the pitfalls with drive caching there really isn't anything special to it. Caching will result in some misses where the system has to pull from the HDD, whichever way you slice it, will result in much lower performance.

From a gaming perspective I'd consider that a worthwhile trade of, since games are rarely bottlenecked by disk access.

You're using a 32GB optane accelerator as your boot drive? That must not have been easy, what I read was that when those things are installed they are invisible to your system and just accelerate the primary windows drive. How'd you get windows actually installed on it/force your system to recognize it as an installable drive?
It was pretty simple actually. When used standalone, Optane drive function just like any other NVMe drive. The challenge is actually more to fit a Windows image into the 27 available gigabyte. Image compression, manually setting the swap file and disabling hibernation are the easiest ways of doing this.

It was an experiment, just to see what would happen. Secondly it really isn't easy to find small (<256GB) that also perform well, and putting in a 512GB 960EVO seemed way overkill. My HTPC doesn't really need anything more then a boot drive to run the OS, storage is handled separately.

This is on an AM4 system BTW. I don't know if Intel does something with their firmware to make them invisible on their platform.
 

DaveSimmons

Elite Member
Aug 12, 2001
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I wouldn't, but I don't mind paying for a 1 TB SSD for the games drive.

To me hybrid drives and Optane are like SLI and high overclocking: works great, until it doesn't. Stock speed, a single GPU and no extra caching layer gives me the peace of mind that comes from the extra bit of stability.
 
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aigomorla

Cases and Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
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Im pretty sure like its name represents Cache drive must be loaded first before you see the speed.
So off the start, you wont notice much, but once you start doing repeat tasks, and the OS learns to store the right data on the faster cache drive, thats where you see the speed.

So if you honestly ask me, im pretty much in the crowd that says, always always always and ALWAYS sammy 960 evo/pro your boot drive even if you can only afford a 128gb version, and then you can do whatever you want for your D / E / F drive.
 

IntelUser2000

Elite Member
Oct 14, 2003
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This is on an AM4 system BTW. I don't know if Intel does something with their firmware to make them invisible on their platform.
It's same with Intel. It only becomes invisible once you turn the caching part on from Intel's application.

Im pretty sure like its name represents Cache drive must be loaded first before you see the speed.
Optane seems to place to critical system files even before you open up your first program, so you get some benefits from the start. You'll often see improved responsiveness on the first boot. The first time usage benefits are 50/50. Some applications see the benefit right away, some may take second use.

The downside is it needs extra work setting up your BIOS and system to make it work. Also, you'd want to make sure your files are backed up, in case the Optane + HDD setup fails. Once it fails, its very hard to recover it and often you may have to format and start all over.

How'd you get windows actually installed on it/force your system to recognize it as an installable drive?
You setup Optane after everything is installed. For me, I keep the application installed, but Optane memory disabled until I'm done with updates and driver installation(this phase where everything is installed but Optane is disabled is a good place to back up your system image). Then, I enable it. After, the two drives become one. And it really does become one, unless you disable it from the application itself. Don't make the mistake of disabling it from elsewhere, because you could kaput your partition.
 
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aigomorla

Cases and Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
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Sep 28, 2005
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But i find it funny that this "guessing" that the cpu does is the exact same disaster specter is for the kernal on the cpu. :p
 

Yuriman

Diamond Member
Jun 25, 2004
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What's the logic for having Windows on a separate SSD from installed programs?
 

DaveSimmons

Elite Member
Aug 12, 2001
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What's the logic for having Windows on a separate SSD from installed programs?
It does a few good things but is not essential:

- 2 drives means 2 controllers and caches, so system and temp I/O is separate from game I/O (a minor benefit)
- If you image backup your OS, you can just back up the OS instead of 500 GB of Steam and Origin files (faster, much smaller backups)
- If you need to reinstall your OS, your Steam and Origin files are not wiped and don't need to be re-downloaded
- You can use a faster drive like a 960 Evo nvme for the boot, then a slower but much cheaper 850 Evo or Crucial MX500 2.5 SATA drive for the bulk storage. You get the faster PC startup and faster I/O for temp files and system tasks, and the SATA is fine for loading game maps.
 

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