ROCK + Intel Optane storage for Kaby Lake NUCs?


(Jim) #1

Are there any prospects for the ROCK build to include support for Intel Optane M.2 devices as the primary boot drive? These are due to become available April 24, and Intel’s 3D XPoint boasts outstanding random R/W access for nonvolatile memory. While the initial m.2 devices will only be available in 16GB or 32GB capacities, that might be more than sufficient for a lightweight build like ROCK and can likely accommodate all but the largest libraries (<200k tracks?). While expensive per GB, the 16GB and 32B devices will retail for only $44 and $77 respectively, which is still significantly cheaper than the smallest available 250GB Samsung 960 EVO NVME m.2 SSD ($130, and would be 90% empty).

Of course, Intel is targeting this form of memory as nonvolatile cache for spinning HDDs, and Windows 10 does not allow Optane primary standalone drives (yet?). I don’t know what kind of support there is or may be for Optane primary storage in linux. However, if such an implementation is possible, this might be the most ideal configuration for maximum performance with ROCK.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/11227/intel-launches-optane-memory-m2-cache-ssds-for-client-market


(Danny Dulai) #2

It’s just an NVMe drive, no? ROCK supports NVMe boot drive.


Cirrus7 fanless i7, will it work?
(Jim) #3

It is not immediately obvious whether the chipset recognizes Optane devices as standard NVME drives. They are only compatible with Kaby Lake CPUs, not Skylake, even though Skylake can handle standard NVME. I guess it might be up to Intel how they program the BIOS for the relevant chipsets to recognize an Optane device as a bootable drive vs. exclusively a cache location (and whether this is configurable). As a non-expert in Linux, I don’t know if those two use cases imply different required drivers for the kernel.


(Jim) #4

As another murky data point, only the tall-cased 7th generation NUCs are officially listed as being Optane compatible, possibly implying that a second storage device is required. (Either that, or they are hedging that most users would not be satisfied with 16GB as the only primary storage in a single M.2 short NUC.)


(Danny Dulai) #5

if no one has seen the gear, there will be no support until they do :wink:

let’s wait until it arrives … but I dont see why ROCK wouldn’t add support once it is supported in Linux and the hardware is generally available.

The other thing is adoption… I know the marketing blurbs released over the last few days have been positive, but it could be stillborn. I hate this new trend of hardware company announcing stuff without it being real. Thunderbolt was such a short lived disappointment. I hope USB-C makes it more real, but I don’t see signs of that yet…


(Jim) #6

Indeed, waiting for actual hardware to test is far more productive than endless speculation.

Agreed about thunderbolt. Some of that may have to do with transfer speed specsmanship going the way of CPU clock speeds and pixel counts on image sensors. How many end users really need 40 gbps more than they need 5 gbps USB? (That said, how many realize their HDMI links can operate at up to 18 gbps while 10 gbps SFP+ switches can cost $thousands)


(Daniel Beyer) #7

I think USB-C will make it. Bluetooth 5 is just around the corner as well, Galaxy S8 will have both.


(Rune) #8

I does not really matter if USB-C make it or not USB 3 is more than sufficient. So why worry about support for Thuderbold, USB C etc. They really don’t really add much value.


(Peter Lie) #9

In addition, according to this news it’s not compatible with Kaby Lake Celeron and Kaby Lake Pentium either:
https://techreport.com/news/31669/kaby-lake-pentiums-and-celerons-wont-support-optane-memory


(Jim) #10

Unfortunately, it looks like Optane drives will not be bootable on their own. From the horse’s mouth:


Intel NUC7I7BNHX1 for Roon Rock
(Alex) #11

I confirm that you can use the optane drive as a standard NVMe drive and you can boot ROCK on it.


(Danny Dulai) #12

@Alexandre_Lejeune on which model did you succeed?


(Alex) #13

@danny With a NUC7I5BNHX1


(Henry) #14

So we have learned that ROCK will see and install on it like any SSD, but can ROCK leverage that extra performance or does it have to be Windows?


(Danny Dulai) #15

ROCK has no problem with the perf bump… it does not require a driver.

It’ll make your startup a bit faster, and some types of navigations will be a hair faster.

However, it is not the recommended setup for ROCK. I posted the reason here:

I’m going to close out this thread since the other is more specific on the model that is released.


(Danny Dulai) #16