Inside every PC, laptop, Mac, iPad, smartphone, there is storage.
Intel Optane H10 is set to take that to the next step in performance, price and
Intel Optane H10 (website here) comes in 256GB/16GB, 512GB/32GB and 1TB/32GB capacity – the last figure is its Optane cache size.
The conundrum with storage has always been ‘bang for buck’ –
or in this case how many Megabytes, Gigabytes and Terabytes can you get for the
money. Typically, the slower the transfer rate, e.g. hard disk, the lower the cost
For example, a 1TB
SATA 6 spinning hard disk costs around $50 or 5 cents
a Gigabyte. Typical data sequential read/write speeds are up to 140MBps.
SATA 6 SSD costs around $160 or 16 cents a
Gigabyte. Typical data sequential read/write speeds are up to 500Mbps.
PCIe NVMe 2-lane SSD mid-range costs around $200
or 20 cents a Gigabyte. Typical data sequential read/write speeds are up to 1500Mbps.
PCIe NVMe 4-lane top-of-the-range WD Black or
Samsung 970 EVO costs about $400 or 40 cents a Gigabyte. Typical data
sequential read/write speeds are up to 3500Mbps.
Why is Intel Optane H10 important?
It adds a small bucket (16/32GB) of high-speed cache memory
to lower-cost, highly reliable but slower QLC 256/512GB/1TB flash NAND memory.
The majority of work (frequently used files) is done in the cache at PCIe 3.0 2-lane
speeds approaching 1500MBps sequential read and then transferred to the QLC in
a sequential, orderly manner.
But there is more. Once the 16/32GB becomes congested (and
90% of your work is will here), the QLC can also read and write directly at
PCIe 3.0 2-lane speeds. The outcome is more speed at a lower cost.
Our tests were on HP Spectre X360, Core i7-8565U with 16GB
ram. This is a ‘boss’ laptop, and you would normally spend a lot more to get a
high-end SSD. It was an interesting laptop choice because Intel Optane H10 is more
for the the value, bang for buck market.
Intel rates the speeds at a maximum of 2400/1800MBps sequential
read/write. We have seen international review reach 2400/1200Mbps.
While our test speeds did not quite reach that that we are
happy. Why? Our tests were with Optane enabled as a separate volume (as
supplied). Had we had more time we would reformat and run tests in the fastest
mode – Optane fully enabled and the drive into one volume.
The efficiency of the Intel Optane H10 module depends on
what you do with it.
If you are a average user, then the Intel Optane H10 option
is perfect for 90% of what you do. Photo uploads, web surfing, Word, email etc.
Most of the time, you will be dealing with small files. And if the files are
already in the non-volatile cache, they will be very quick to open and execute.
If you are a designer, video editor, photographer dealing
with large files and renders then you would be better using a high-end SSD like
Intel’s SSD 7 (760p review here).
Why Intel Optane H10?
This is the era of ultra-portables – small, light, great
battery life and fast. Intel Optane H10 has given mainstream SSD performance at
a far lower cost. We don’t know what that cost is as only computer makers can
buy it. But if you take the Intel SSD 7 as a guide (with its Optane cache), it
offers top-of-the-range performance at 27 cents a GB compared to its competitors
at over 40 cents per GB.
It also helps to increase the storage capacity for the same
price. Where before a 256GB SSD was installed you may get a 512GB or even a 1TB
for the same price.
GadgetGuy’s take: We have always liked the Optane concept
I have been using caching controllers on servers and fast PCs
since the 90s. They were nowhere near as advanced, but the Optane concept of
working in fast memory instead of slow hard disks was sound. And this also
allowed data to be sequentially written to the hard disk at its fastest speed.
Intel’s Optane is a lot smarter than a cache controller – it
learns what files you use and places them in cache – a prefetch.
Bang for buck – if it has the word Optane on it then you are
getting better value.
Value for money
Ease of Use
Reader Rating0 Votes
Improves system responsiveness for an average user
Achieves speeds rivalling mid-range SSD
Much more power efficient
It speeds up lower cost QLC NAND, and you reap the price benefit
Not for heavy users
Not a retro-fit – needs new hardware and software