Intel's Optane hardware releases haven't so far inspired the kind of enthusiasm that the technology showcases did previously. But what if you could get an Optane Memory drive for free with your next motherboard purchase - that could be a buying decision swaying variable to seriously consider.
MSI today announced that it will exclusively bundle a pre-installed 16GB Intel Optane Memory drive with a trio of new 200 Series motherboards. The offer represents $50 additional value, says MSI. It has suffixed these as the 'OPT BOOST' motherboards, and they are as follows:
The first two motherboards listed above come with twin Turbo M.2 slots so even with the Optane drive in place you still have room for a fast PCIe SSD card. With regard to the B250M PRO OPT BOOST, I think it only has a single M.2 slot, as three very similarly named motherboards on the MSI site are thus specced.
With the Optane memory installed in these boards users should experience "up to 14x faster" hard drive performance. On such a HDD + Optane equipped system there will be big benefits to be reaped in time savings during systems boot, application launches, and more. The main attraction is that users are said to be able to "enjoy SSD levels of performance and keep the large storage capacity".
Lastly MSI reminds consumers that all its 200 Series motherboards support Optane but please make sure to download and update with the latest applicable BIOS.
Intel Optane Memory reviews are starting to trickle forth. Only yesterday The Tech Report published its own review of a 32GB version of the above bundled drive. It tested an Optane + HDD (WD Blue 1TB) combo system against a similarly priced storage solution consisting of just an OCZ Trion 150 480GB SATA SSD. In the tests the two competitive storage systems performed pretty closely - with the Optane combo a little ahead, more often than not. First run times seem to be the Optane Achilles' heel though. However the 32GB version will presumably be able to cache many more apps/games data after the initial run than the 16GB MSI giveaway version.