Making the Most of Memory: Optane DC Persistent Memory

The week before Computex, Intel announced its new Optane DIMMs, and stated that they will be coming to market in three capacities: 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB. The new persistent memory was explained as being a high capacity SSD with that acts as DRAM with similar latencies, available to hold large databases or enable systems to quickly recover from power loss to improve uptimes.

The Hot Chips presentation confirms that the new Optane DIMMs will be enabled at one per memory channel, allowing a single socket to contain six memory modules and six Optane DIMMs at once. For those counting along at home, that is a 128 GB LRDIMM + 512 GB of Optane per channel, or 3840GB per socket.

What this doesn’t state is if Optane will be supported on all processors, or select high-memory SKUs at extra cost. We have seen a few prices flying around for the 512 GB DIMMs, although we cannot verify this. Intel’s own @IntelBusiness Twitter account recently posted this picture, attempting to show that the DIMMs were shipping.

I’m pretty sure the people on the left are making the money hand gesture

If Intel is shipping Optane DIMMs in this quantity already, that means that high-profile customers that are part of Intel’s Early Sampling program are already buying them in bulk quantities. It will be interesting to see if they ever post any data about the product.

Unanswered Questions

Sure, it is frustrating that Intel has not opened the lid fully on Cascade Lake yet. The pure takeaway I can give you is that I suspect the processors will be optimized for efficiency and frequencies will improve, but the core designs will likely look very much the same as we have now. Intel will be using the opportunity, alongside the DIMMs and VNNI, to offer a product that has a number of the Spectre and Meltdown variants fixed in hardware. A lot of people are waiting for these parts, and are prepared to pay for them. It will be interesting to see what the pricing will be later in the year.

Slide Deck

Related Reading

Process Tuning and VNNI
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  • SarahKerrigan - Sunday, August 19, 2018 - link

    Thanks for posting this! Any chance we'll see uploads of the presentations for Tachyum, Xavier, Power9 SU, or SX-Aurora?
  • Ian Cutress - Sunday, August 19, 2018 - link

    Live Blogs for sure, more in depth analysis will depend on time. Hopefully write another one up tonight.
  • Yojimbo - Sunday, August 19, 2018 - link

    I'd like to hear about the SX-Aurora.
  • HStewart - Monday, August 20, 2018 - link

    What does these have to do with Intel presentation - or you just curious about presentations of event in general
  • SarahKerrigan - Tuesday, August 21, 2018 - link

    This was the first Hot Chips presentation posted. I wished to ask about whether it would be joined by others. Calm down - not everything is about Intel...
  • HStewart - Tuesday, August 21, 2018 - link

    No that not what I mean, It just seems like when Intel is brought up - every one try to discuss other things like AMD and ARM.. people should say in focus.

    "This was the first Hot Chips presentation posted."

    That is incorrect - actually the one about Google Pixel was the first one.
  • SarahKerrigan - Tuesday, August 21, 2018 - link

    "Intel at Hot Chips 2018: Showing the Ankle of Cascade Lake
    by Ian Cutress on August 19, 2018 7:30 PM EST"

    "Hot Chips 2018: The Google Pixel Visual Core Live Blog (10am PT, 5pm UTC)
    by Ian Cutress on August 20, 2018 12:45 PM EST"

    So... yeah, no. This was posted Sunday night. The PVC presentation wasn't until Monday morning. Unless you think Ian has a time machine, you're demonstrably and provably wrong.
  • grahad - Saturday, August 25, 2018 - link

    It's HStewart. If you're not praising Intel in Intel articles he'll go after your jugular (and miss).
  • TetrisChili - Sunday, August 19, 2018 - link

    Regarding the "money hand gesture" in the caption of the Intel tweet on the last page, do an image search for "Korean finger heart" to see what they're actually doing. :D
  • Alistair - Sunday, August 19, 2018 - link

    Yeah it's kind of crazy every Korean person I know doing that now. It's a thing. In TV shows also.

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