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Patrick C.

The best Optane gaming video Linus Media Group has never made

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Posted · Original PosterOP

I've noticed that LTT has some content on using Optane to accelerate large spinning disks for gaming. LMG have also covered some limitations of Optane, like the fact that the performance gains over slower SSDs are negligible for gamers, making it hard to justify its high price. You've also done a video on using Intel Optane for storage acceleration with AMD, which comes with some additional problems. All together, these videos highlight the following limitations of using SSDs as cache to accelerate access to spinning rust, which strike me as important:

  1. Chipset specificity: Intel's Optane storage acceleration requires an Intel CPU, and AMD's StoreMI requires specific AMD motherboards
  2. Size limitations: AMD's StoreMI only supports cache drives up to 256GB. But games are enormous these days! The Star Citizen example from the ‘fastest SSD for gaming’ video is especially potent: 200GB for a single game! This means that when it comes to the largest games, only a few could be accelerated in this way
  3. Prohibitive cost: Intel's Optane drives are VERY expensive per gigabyte, but their unique strengths have little to offer gamers qua gamers
  4. Drive specificity: to get this kind of storage acceleration on Intel, you have to use Optane
  5. Drive dedication: Intel's Optane storage acceleration option and AMD's StoreMI require you to dedicate an entire device to this. If you only have one SSD, you can't choose to set aside only a partition of it for SSD game caching, while using the rest, for example, as a boot drive

Not all options covered have all of these limitations, but there are no options for accelerating HDDs using SSD caching covered by LTT which bear none of them.

But Linux, thanks to its long presence in the server space, is lousy with powerful tiered storage solutions that share NONE of these limitations. Specifically, I can think of these storage options which support cache tiers with arbitrary devices off-hand:


I think covering these options would fit well with much of LTT's other content on the subject. It would make it possible to, for example

  • use a 1 TB SSD to cache on a 14 TB HDD for one fourth the price of a 480 GB Optane drive (although using such a large SSD may require some tuning for optimal performance), yielding a large enough cache for several of even the largest games in existence
  • use ALL of a 480 GB Optane drive for caching on an AMD system
  • use a single SSD for a blazing-fast OS experience and game caching on a budget

Any of these could make for a nice, flashy headline related to previous LTT content. And I think the video also fits nicely with the more recent uptick in Linux coverage on the part of LMG and increased interest in Linux from LTT's gaming audience. While for the most part, videos up until this point have mostly focused on Linux overcoming being a relative newcomer to the mainstream desktop, this one could show how Linux's background on the server actually strengthens it for certain, special desktop use cases. That's pretty different, and I think the novelty could be fun.

Plus, I think this kind of video, because it is relatively technical for Linux content, presents an opportunity to ramp up very cute dynamic of interaction between Anthony as Linux Guru with James as his Linux noob/straight man gamer that we saw in the last Linux gaming video.

What do you think? Would anyone else like to see this?

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