Intel's consumer-targeted Optane hybrid cache drives have yet to enter the TR labs, but when the 16 GB and 32 GB M.2 gumsticks arrive, a wide swathe of Asus' 200-series motherboards will be ready for them. The manufacturer announced on its Edge Up blog page that BIOS updates for 35 different models with B250, H270, Q270, and Z270 chipsets will enable Optane compatibility.
As we noted in our previous coverage, these devices will only work with Intel Kaby Lake Core i3, i5, and i7 CPUs with 200-series and C236 chipsets. Users with Kaby Lake chips on 100-series motherboards or Skylake processors on 200-series mainboards are left out of the Optane party. Owners of Kaby Lake Pentiums and Celerons are similarly disqualified.
What we know about the first wave of consumer Optane models suggests that owners of the lower-end chipsets paired with old-school spinning-rust storage devices will see more benefits from the new technology than those with ROG Maximus IX Extreme Z270 boards paired with cutting-edge NVMe SSDs. Intel has a list of Optane-compatible boards from a number of manufacturers here. As a reminder, the 16 GB model is expected to sell for $44 and the 32 GB model will go for $77.
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