PC OEMs Are Selling Laptops with Optane Cache Drives and Claiming It’s Memory

Discussion in '[H]ard|OCP Front Page News' started by Megalith, Jun 17, 2018.

  1. Megalith

    Megalith 24-bit/48kHz Staff Member

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    Intel’s Optane cache drives are not DRAM, but PC OEMs would prefer to think otherwise: in one example, Dell is selling a G3 15 laptop that lists 24GB of RAM. Closer inspection reveals there is only 8GB of actual (2666MHz DDR4) DRAM, however, as the other 16GB is Optane memory, which serves to “accelerate a conventional hard drive’s read/write performance in a manner that’s similar to using an SSD cache to perform the same task.”

    Optane cache drives connect to their host systems via an M.2 port, which means they connect over the southbridge-attached PCIe bus. They are not attached to the system via its RAM slots like an NV-DIMM. They are not identical or equivalent to the Optane Persistent Memory DIMMs that Intel announced a few weeks ago.
     
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  2. dvsman

    dvsman [H]ard|Gawd

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    Wow that's shitty for the people that buy it thinking its RAM. When I read that short blurb I was thinking it was the Octane that could run as ram or storage - and I consider myself pretty [H]. Hope thats just a typo from the adcopy department, if its intentional someone is going to be pissed after the fact.
     
  3. Jim Kim

    Jim Kim 2[H]4U

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    I just learned half my customers to understand the difference between USB and HDMI. Thanks DELL for muddying the waters. sigh
    /s
     
  4. Chebsy

    Chebsy Limp Gawd

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    Is this just some thick marketing person who doesn't understand what Optane is or a real intention to deceive potential buyers ?
     
  5. RealBeast

    RealBeast Limp Gawd

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    Well here comes another class action lawsuit. :(
     
  6. IcePickFreak

    IcePickFreak Gawd

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    You got to be new to the planet if you think this is an "honest" mistake.
     
  7. pcgeekesq

    pcgeekesq Gawd

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    I call Fake News. From the original article:

    "the system configurator clarifies that what you actually have is “24GB of Memory: 8GB 2666MHz DDR4 DRAM + 16GB Intel Optane memory.” It appears that Google’s search engine is misunderstanding Dell’s configurator" -- ExtremeTech (emphasis added)

    And BTW, Optane is RAM - byte-readable, byte-writable, Random Access Memory.
    Whether it should be marketed as RAM depends on how the BIOS/OS see it, I would say.
    YMMV
     
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  8. Chebsy

    Chebsy Limp Gawd

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    I don't think its an honest mistake IcePickFreak and I have been on the planet for a long time, but there are a lot of marketing people out there who don't fully understand the product they are marketing.
     
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  9. Hagrid

    Hagrid Kyle's Boo

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    So if a program requires more than 16gb of memory, this will work just as good as if it had 24gb of ddr4?
     
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  10. _l_

    _l_ Gawd

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    sooo, Megalith got it very wrong, or have you? Now I'm all confused ... someone please help straighten this out
     
  11. DocNo

    DocNo Limp Gawd

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    Meh - call it what you want, with the right software Optane is amazing. Intel's drivers are crap, so ditch 'em. I got a copy of PrimoCache, dedicated my Optane as L2 cache and noticed a noticeable improvement even when booting off my Samsung Evo Pro M2 SSD.

    Even more amazing is the server version - souped up my lab VM server, delivering awesome performance with an old leftover 120GB SSD way beyond anything I could have hoped for. Under $200 to reliably accelerate Windows Server? Amazing stuff!

    I have no interest in PrimoCache aside from hoping they sell enough copies to stay in business so it will stay updated so I can keep using it :)
     
  12. Burticus

    Burticus 2[H]4U

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    SSD caching for laptops. What's next, a USB version?
     
  13. pendragon1

    pendragon1 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    like readyboost? or did you miss a /s?

    the LTT video on this shows that it works pretty good and they just added a storage drive version on desktop.
     
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  14. Jim Kim

    Jim Kim 2[H]4U

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    Doubtful
    Combining DRAM and Optane cache drive capacities and pretending this refers to a single contiguous memory pool is a lie. The 16GB of Optane in these systems is not DRAM. It cannot be configured to act as DRAM. It cannot, in any way, shape, or form, be used as a substitute for DRAM. Attempting to elide this distinction by referring to a more generic word like “memory” is a cynical and shameful attempt to take advantage of a well-known point of confusion among consumers by companies who damn well ought to be clarifying such questions for their customers, not seeking to mislead them.
     
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  15. Burticus

    Burticus 2[H]4U

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    Yes that was sarcasm. (And yes I have tried Readyboost back in the day, and it was "glorious" /s wink wink)
     
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  16. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics I don't get it

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    This is really no difference than manufacturers who'd lump in video ram with onboard ram, often with boards with integrated graphics, while yeah somewhere they say that X-GB is reserved for video they sure as fuck made a habit of showing the total ram in "nice big letters" that ultimately lures the individual into thinking the computer had more usable ram than it did.
     
  17. pcgeekesq

    pcgeekesq Gawd

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    The root issue is ExtremeTech's clickbait headline, which Megalith uncritically propogated.
    Reading the actual ExtremeTech article reveals the problem is with Google, not the PC OEMs.
     
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  18. Dead Parrot

    Dead Parrot [H]ard|Gawd

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    Thinking about this too much, an SSD is basically RAM setup to emulate a spinning HD. We are getting to the point we have several types of RAM: CPU cache, 'normal', Optane, SSD.
     
  19. pcgeekesq

    pcgeekesq Gawd

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    I think an important characteristics that distinguish storage is granularity, and in particular write granularity.
    SSDs and HDDs have block-level write granularity, and the blocks are pretty big.
    CPU cache, DRAM, and Optane have word-level (or even byte-level) write granularity.

    it makes a huge difference in what each can be used for.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2018
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  20. d3athf1sh

    d3athf1sh Limp Gawd

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    bullshit if you can't see this as a problem then you must have mad stock in dell.
     
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  21. 1_rick

    1_rick Limp Gawd

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    If you click the "More" on the Dell product configurator it says this: "For example, 4 GB DRAM + 16GB Intel® Optane™ memory delivers better performance and cost than just 8GB DRAM. "

    I mean, that's close to a flat-out lie. I suppose if you're just doing light office work, email, Word, etc., it might be true. But heaven help you if you do something that needs a total of 5GB of RAM, like run a VM.
     
  22. craigdt

    craigdt Gawd

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    97% of people who buy these machines don't know the difference between memory, storage, i7, RAM, and Office 365.

    Ermagerd get this one it has 1Tb of memory.

    Or, my machine is slow. Better delete some Word docs.
     
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  23. craigdt

    craigdt Gawd

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    I believe Dell is privately owned now, right?
     
  24. Master_shake_

    Master_shake_ Little Bitch

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    I have a bigger issue with Dell selling PC's with massive security holes.
     
  25. Nobu

    Nobu [H]ard|Gawd

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    It'd be true enough if you had a platter drive, as (latency from) swapping would be reduced quite a bit. With a SSD I'm not sure how much it'd help. Of course, if you needed >4GB loaded into memory at once and were actively working with all of that data, then 8GB would be better all day every day.
     
  26. pcgeekesq

    pcgeekesq Gawd

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    Two of the five monitors on my primary desktop machine are Dell P2416Ds (in portrait mode, on either side of my acer Predator XB321HK UHD monitor and below my two other 24" 1440p (landscape) monitors, which are from BenQ). That's my total investment in Dell at the moment.

    ExtremeTech themselves said the problem was Google. Go read the actual article.
     
  27. pcgeekesq

    pcgeekesq Gawd

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    Not necessarily. If your page file is on the Optane drive, then page swaps will be wicked fast, and as a result, performance with 4GB DRAM+Optane might be better than performance with 8GB of DRAM and no Optane. It will depend on a lot of factors; for example, even if you have an SSD, is it NVMe or SATA? The only way to know is to benchmark your particular workload.

    BTW, early on in my career at Intel, benchmarking workloads was part of my job as a processor architect.
    Not on x86, though.
     
  28. tangoseal

    tangoseal [H]ardness Supreme

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    My wife just got a new HP Envy that has an I7 and 16g of real ram and a 512 SSD so as long as you know what to look for you are good to go! This is a good thing to look out for those of us that are less informed.
     
  29. Luke Wells

    Luke Wells n00bie

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    TIL: My 2016 Apple Macbook has 264GB of memory.
     
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  30. Exavior

    Exavior [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Correct, Michael Dell didn't like the direction the company was going with shareholders as there was choices he wanted to make they didn't agree with so he just bought all the stock and went back to being a private company so that he can run it how he wants and not have to worry about making investors happy. If I recall correctly he wanted to invested all / most of the profits for about 2 years into some project's R&D which his numbers showed should then after about 2 years after that they should have made back the profits that they gave up for that time frame meaning that they wouldn't not actually lose money but would just need to wait a few years for investors to start to see any increase. Needless to say that the board didn't like the idea of everything staying stagnant for a short while.
     
  31. Uvaman2

    Uvaman2 2[H]4U

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    And its not stagnant now?.. Sometimes I forget Dell exists...No Dell dude I guess... No cable either hehe.
     
  32. SvenBent

    SvenBent 2[H]4U

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    Do you honestly think that lumping them together like that under the Memory category was done because they couldn't figure out to split it out as a secondary category?
    It's clearly meant to mislead ppl by adding two things together that has nothing to do being added together specs wise.
     
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  33. pcgeekesq

    pcgeekesq Gawd

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    It's not a question of "figure out to," it's a question of whether someone in management thought (if they were even aware of the issue) it was worth the cost to modify the code to accommodate a very rare special case.
    After all, how many systems are being sold with Optane memory installed right now? Not many. So why should Google change their code to accommodate them?
     
  34. IcePickFreak

    IcePickFreak Gawd

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    Google is bad at data collection?:LOL: The marketing team from a company like Dell "just didn't know any better" about new technology? :ROFLMAO: I've heard it all now. :cry:

    Funny the time it slips thru all the cracks is the time it allows them to save money on listing a traditional spec. I guess the whole Nvidia GTX970 memory debacle was just an honest mistake as well and everyone who got money back from Nvidia should send it back to them.
     
  35. katanaD

    katanaD [H]ard|Gawd

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    well.. to be fair.. my M2 drive is so fast its like memory

    hahaha

    i clocked it the other day and my threadripper system takes 17 seconds to boot. 14 of those are the BIOS. it takes a full 3 seconds from initial windows loading screens to a desktop that is waiting for me
     
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  36. ole-m

    ole-m Limp Gawd

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    you having a threadripper it'd be 20 times at MINIMUM and up to 400 times or something slower than your memory.
     
  37. 1_rick

    1_rick Limp Gawd

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    Yeah, so now they're back to proprietary stuff, like they had long stopped doing.

    I just got an Optiplex 5060 at work. Motherboard has odd branches sticking out of it so they could avoid cables (one projection has a chip LED on it to act as the power light, another holds the front-panel USB ports.) Instead of a standard 24-pin ATX power connector on the motherboard, there's a 6-pin one, and the SATA power cables plug into the motherboard instead of coming out of the PSU--which, btw, is not standard sized, but is about 3"x3"x8".
     
  38. 1_rick

    1_rick Limp Gawd

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    Ah, no. I quoted Dell's very own product configurator. Also, here's the "pick one of 8 models of this laptop and then configure it':

    upload_2018-6-18_23-29-31.png

    That is, at best, wildly misleading to the point of dishonesty, because an Optane cached is not what people think of when they hear the term "memory", even if technically it is. It's not DRAM and it's clear from the "more" page on the actual product configurator, but combining an SSD cache with DRAM in that way is just wrong.
     
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  39. pcgeekesq

    pcgeekesq Gawd

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    Were you misled because you have problems reading sentences that are more than 5 words long?
     
  40. Exavior

    Exavior [H]ardForum Junkie

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    The problem is the words they put together are a lie.

    I will sell you a green car, the front half is painted blue and the back half is painted yellow. That makes it green right since blue + yellow equal green.?

    The point is that the fucking device your company makes is not memory, So you don't have 24GB of memory, you have 8 GM of memory. Plugging a 1TB external drive into a USB port doesn't give you 1024GB of memory on this configured system.
     
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