New Optane Branding

Core i9+, Core i7+, Core i5+

One of the items that Intel is keen to promote with this launch is an update to its Intel RST algorithm when dealing with ‘Optane Memory’, Intel’s brand for Optane whereby a small amount of storage is placed in front of a larger drive to act as a fast cache. Up to this point, Intel platforms that supported Optane Memory in this configuration could only do so on the drive that was used to boot into the operating system. While this worked well for low-cost users that relied on a single rotational hard-disk drive of rust for their needs, with most enthusiasts using a fast SSD (SATA or PCIe) as their first drive that loads the OS, putting Optane Memory in front of this as a cache was relatively pointless – any gains would be intangible at best. With the new generation of products, Intel has expanded the capabilities of Optane Memory such that it can act as a cache for a non-OS drive. This means that a user can have a fast SSD boot drive, a large spinning drive for storage, and then place Optane in front of that storage drive to potentially get much better performance from the drive.

The main idea here is that the large rotational drive is where users store games and large files used in content creation, which often have a long loading time. With the right caching algorithm, and a decent sized Optane Memory drive, Intel likes to promote that loading games and loading media for creative purposes are several factors faster than an equivalent system without an Optane Memory drive.

Part of the news around Optane is that Intel is now creating new processor branding for OEMs that have configurations with Optane. The new brands and logos are similar to the standard Core i5/i7 style that we are used to, however the logos are now a dark blue with white text, and exhibit a plus after the Core i5/i7 name.

So just to be clear, this is not a new line of processors. We will not have to suddenly deal with a Core i9+-8950HK being different to the non-plus counterpart. This is purely a branding exercise, and one that only covers the i5 and higher at that. However, to complicate things, this means that specification sheets can (and will) list the processors as Core i5+ and Core i7+ and even vPro models. This makes looking for particular processor versions in search engines a lot more difficult for almost no obvious benefit. I mean sure, Intel wants to promote the use of its Optane drives, but we already have the Optane branding and the Optane logos to do that for us. This ends up being another logo put onto the box.

Ultimately, Intel is still marketing Optane, its high-cost R&D product, with low capacities at low cost systems with relatively little margin. While it might seem like a noble goal, to bring extra caching performance down to the lower cost segment, it could very easily be done with SATA or PCIe M.2 drives using regular NAND flash. A lot of users would like to see high-capacity, high-endurance Optane drives moving more into the mainstream, instead of more attempts at funneling in a product like Optane into caching.

High-Performance Desktop: 65W to 35W Coffee Lake CPUs Looking at a H370 Motherboard: the GIGABYTE H370N-WiFi
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  • ericgl21 - Tuesday, April 03, 2018 - link

    Interesting.
    Not a single word on whether the new 8th gen CPUs have the new design to protect them against Meltdown & Spectre vulnerabilities.
    Reply
  • Hixbot - Tuesday, April 03, 2018 - link

    That will not be until Icelake, possibly Cannon lake. There won't be a silicon fix for Coffee Lake.

    How Intel keeps selling these vulnerable chips at full price, I don't know.
    Reply
  • gammaray - Tuesday, April 03, 2018 - link

    you don't have to buy them Reply
  • HStewart - Wednesday, April 04, 2018 - link

    Actually all Intel chip have been protected with micro-code updates. Future generations will have hardware specific updates - however I glad to see Dell DPS 2in1 does not use the As media chips Reply
  • tuxRoller - Tuesday, April 03, 2018 - link

    Is there an error in the table on page 3 where the L3 cache for the i5s are listed with 1.5MB/core? Reply
  • serendip - Tuesday, April 03, 2018 - link

    8th gen is whatever we want it to be!

    Seriously, the number of 8th gen architectures in that table is just ridiculous. Is Intel doing this out of desperation? Even Samsung stopped the shotgun approach to marketing a while back.
    Reply
  • boeush - Tuesday, April 03, 2018 - link

    I just have to officially come out in defense of even numbers. The blatant, years-long entrenched odd-itism in Intel's CPU model branding is starting to get beyond ridiculous. Yes, I know that 3, 5, 7 and 9 are really cool and everything - but why do we, the consumers, continue to act indifferently when confronted with such odious, manifest prejudice against 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10? Even numbers matter too! Reply
  • sorten - Wednesday, April 04, 2018 - link

    wake me up when 10nm is available Reply
  • FunBunny2 - Wednesday, April 04, 2018 - link

    if you mean 10nm in X,Y,Z top to bottom... well you'll put Rip Van Winkle to shame. it's never going to happen Heisenberg wins. Reply
  • zepi - Wednesday, April 04, 2018 - link

    Where is my LPDDR4 support?!

    I want more memory without destroying standby life.
    Reply

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