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JacobFW

Optane on Older Hardware

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Posted · Original PosterOP

READ THIS BEFORE LEAVING ANY SMARTASS COMMENTS

1)  The reason I am making this post is I was unable to find any information AT ALL of people who had tried Intel Optane on older hardware.

2)  I am NOT recommending people do something similar to my setup, or do this at all.

I just wanted to give out some information on my experience

 

So my current setup is a 4790k, 32gb of DDR3 2400mhz ram, 960gb Sandisk Extreme Pro with Win7.  I built this computer about 3 years ago, originally with a 4770k and 16gb 1866.  But my friend upgraded his computer last year so I bought his 4790k off of him for really cheap, then I got an amazing deal off of ebay for this ram, so here I am today.  This computer is serving me very well, and in most of the areas I use it for, it either matches, or slightly beats the Kaby Lake 7700k.  So frankly, I really see no reason to upgrade for a while.

 

Then of course, Optane came out and we got to watch Intel give us the finger.  While Optane's sequential speeds do look rather handicapped compared to other NAND NVME drives, it's random 4K speeds are leaving me and alot of other people drooling:  5x higher than the second highest NAND NVME drive, and almost 10x higher than NAND SATA drives. Intel says it's mainly for caching with Mechanical Drives, but with that kind of difference, I think there's some potential for using it with SSDs as well...

 

....But it's only suppose to work on Windows 10 and with Kaby Lake Core series processors.  Windows 10 I haven't have had minimal issues with.  I have it on several computers and it works just fine.  But I don't see any reason to spend several hundred dollars on a new motherboard, cpu, & ram just so I could use optane, and I absolutely did not want to let Intel lead me by the arm to a mountain and offer me the kingdoms of the world, if only I bowed to them....

 

...But I still wanted to play with it.  Thankfully, I live near a Microcenter and several Fry's so if it didn't work I could just take it back.  So yesterday I ran down and grabbed the 32gb Optane Drive and a SIIG M.2 PCIe Adapter (my motherboard does have a m.2 slot but that would disable several sata ports I have things plugged into).

20170624_113528_HDR.thumb.jpg.b4efef65f313ddabf987d7e2cb2739d0.jpg20170624_122844_HDR.thumb.jpg.22d426f37fbbc5e4382ab2453bb8693a.jpg

 

So booting up, Windows immediately installed the driver the for PCIe adapter, but could not find a driver for the drive.  Doing some reading, turns out Win7 does not offer native support for NVME.  Microsoft does however offer a hotfix for it that you can find here:


https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/2990941/update-to-add-native-driver-support-in-nvm-express-in-windows-7-and-windows-server-2008-r2

So install that, restart, and.....

 

optane_speccy_overview.png.50cf0728b9ac148532f49db10843567d.png

 

BOOM BABY!!!!


Intel Optane on a Haswell Processor and Windows 7.


So running CrystalMark and....

 

optane_z97_first_run.png.57678c2a439c9a84782030e777d8a724.png

 

Sh*t.

Figures right.  All the speeds are up to spec EXCEPT the 4k Random speeds.  There seems to be something bottlenecking the latency; comparing it to my Sandisk Extreme Pro you can see something's not right.  I'm hoping it's either the PCIe adapter or there's a problem with this optane drive itself.  If it's the NVME driver/Windows or an issue with the motherboard itself, this is really going to suck.

Well until I can figure out what that problem is, there isn't really any point in continuing with the rest of my plans for this little project.   I'm not even going to bother trying out the Optane Program.  The way Intel uses the Optane as a cache is part software, but mostly built into the cpu itself.  

My thought was to try and use PrimoCache, and use the Optane drive to cache my Sandisk SSD.  PrimoCache does say that it can be used to improve boot up times.  The downside is that rather than being built into the hardware, it has to load with the first part of the OS before it can start using the cache drive.  The upside is that in addition to an Optane cache, it also can be used to create a RamCache.  So there's some potential for some serious performance improvement.  Best of all is that it's significantly cheaper than a new motherboard, cpu, & ram.  

So that's all for right now.  I ordered another PCIe adapter last night that should get here in the evening, and I have another computer with a Z97 board with Windows 10 and a built in NVME drive, so I'm going to try the optane on it and see what kind of results I get.

So that should be all for now, but again, let me reiterate:
This is an exploratory mission.  
I'm not here to brag, but to let you all know that Optane does work mostly as it should on older hardware.  


If you have any questions or helpful comments please let me know.
Jacob

 

 

 

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so... long story short you're trying to use optane as a cache for an ssd? If I understood that right, then there's basically no point. It's been shown by multiple people including The Man, The Myth, The Legend, Linus Sebastion that optane basically does nothing when paired with an ssd. If I didn't and your whole point was that you got optane to function in some way shape or form outside the box intel tried to paint it into then cool, optane is still pretty lame, but cool trick


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Posted · Original PosterOP

Mostly just to see if i could get working correctly.  But I am curious to see if there is any performance improvement.  My hope, is that maybe using it as a l2 cache will give better performance, since it will be more intermittent than if it was the only cache. 

 

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP

So after some more tinkering the problem did seem to be with the Windows 7 driver.  I disconnected my Win 7 ssd, and inserted another one and installed Windows 10 onto it, updated the drivers, and instantly got the full speeds on it, with 4KQD1 maxing out at 330MB/s.  I also tried out the PrimoCache option, and to no one's surprise, the boot time was the same with or without the optane drive, and everyday use didn't feel any different either.

 

But again, the point of this wasn't to get the ultimate ssd setup, but rather to test whether this would work at anything resembling it's max performance on older hardware.  And I'm happy to confirm that it does.

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I applaud you for not bowing down at Intel's heels. I have a question for ya. I have 2, 2TB drives (4TB total). I have an ASRock board for my i7-2600 (non-k model). I also use windows 10 as my daily driver. Is it possible to use Intel optane as a cache for my 2 Hard drives so I can speed up my operating system and games without having to transfer everything over to an SSD manually?

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Posted · Original PosterOP
2 hours ago, Epicne said:

I applaud you for not bowing down at Intel's heels. I have a question for ya. I have 2, 2TB drives (4TB total). I have an ASRock board for my i7-2600 (non-k model). I also use windows 10 as my daily driver. Is it possible to use Intel optane as a cache for my 2 Hard drives so I can speed up my operating system and games without having to transfer everything over to an SSD manually?

As far as I'm aware there's nothing from Intel or built into Windows that will do it for you in this case.  I definitely recommend checking out PrimoCache

https://www.romexsoftware.com/en-us/primo-cache/index.html

 

It is commercial, but it's a very impressive program (also supports ram caching as well), and only costs $30.  

It does come with an unrestricted trial program (which is what I used for testing optane) so it's at least worth a shot.

 

Honestly, my recommendation after using optane, and reading more reviews on it would be to:

1)  Just hold off on everything until your next system build, and just save your money and get a 500-1tb Samsung PRO M.2 and add those other drives as local storage.

2)  Get a 120gb SSD and some more RAM (assuming you're not maxed out entirely) and use that with PrimoCache with the extra ram as tier 1 cache, and the ssd as tier 2.

 

There's a lot of promising tech in 3D XPoint, but it's really not consumer ready yet, and right now it looks like the products out there aren't just bad values, but don't show it's true potential.

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Hey thanks for the investigation and passing along the information.  I was going nuts trying to figure out why the drive wouldn't show up in windows but would show up in macrium.  To make things more odd, the bios would detect the nvme on the nvme page, but on the storage page, it says both m.2 not detected.  Really odd.  Anyway

X99 Taichi with 6800k here.  I got the 16gb Optane drive to use as a dedicated Windows swap partition.  My 4k seems reasonable, but the writes are trash.  A fifth of the speed of my sata boot drive.  I will try tomorrow to pull the drivers out of my nieces machine and see if I can't mine to recognize them.  The write caching option doesn't exist on the Optane drive options pane.  Intel seems to actually offer Windows 7 RST drivers that have Optane support, but they refuse to install unless you have a 'supported chipset'.

optane5.JPG


There's something cool here - you just can't see it.

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On 3/15/2018 at 2:32 PM, Epicne said:

I applaud you for not bowing down at Intel's heels. I have a question for ya. I have 2, 2TB drives (4TB total). I have an ASRock board for my i7-2600 (non-k model). I also use windows 10 as my daily driver. Is it possible to use Intel optane as a cache for my 2 Hard drives so I can speed up my operating system and games without having to transfer everything over to an SSD manually?

Your hardware is too old sadly. The oldest platform you can properly use NVMe on is the Haswell-R platform (9-series chipset).


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I'm buying a NUC7i7BNH. It'll be interesting to see if the Windows 7 version of Intel's RST Driver actually allows the optane features. The most recent Win7 driver is a bit behind at 15.9.0.1015 but it may work.

I'll report back if I manage to clear all the hurdles of installing Windows 7 on one of these devices. Aparently there's already an open source tool for ensuring windows updates will install on it, but I have not read of anyone installing Windows 7 on such modern hardware.

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Posted · Original PosterOP

During my research last summer, I did come across some BIOS mods you can do on older hardware to get NVME working.  Don't have the links anymore sadly.

 

Not for the faint of heart obviously, or anyone working on a production system. 

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So I came to this post looking for informations if I will able to run Optane on a Hasswell machine. I have i54690K and 16GB RAM, Also I am using 2x 1tb HDD and 250GB SSD storage. And my question is will I be able to run Intel optane to boost my HDD and is it even worth doing that?

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On 6/24/2018 at 10:07 AM, Spyrox99 said:

So I came to this post looking for informations if I will able to run Optane on a Hasswell machine. I have i54690K and 16GB RAM, Also I am using 2x 1tb HDD and 250GB SSD storage. And my question is will I be able to run Intel optane to boost my HDD and is it even worth doing that?

Sorry about the late reply and I'm pretty sure it's been mentioned already in this post, but in order to run Optane Boost on a hard drive you need a supported motherboard and chipset.  200 series and later boards and a 7th generation or newer core i3 or higher CPU is required.  https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/articles/000023994/memory-and-storage/intel-optane-memory.html


There's something cool here - you just can't see it.

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