Hello and thanks for the help.
I ordered an Optane-drive "by accident" because since I read about SSD caching I thought that seemed smart whereas I wasn't too interested in just having a small SSD area and then lots of slow space. I thought Intel had removed that technology though because I no longer saw it advertised but then came Optane and there it was refreshed. I had ordered the i5 8400 and i7 8700K before (on release day) but one store had an offer with 1000 SEK back if one ordered for over 5000 SEK 1-2 weeks before Black Friday weekend so to go with something I went with i7 8700K and a 32 GB Optane drive as filler since I wanted to boost my 3 TB HDD or some other HDD anyway. I do have an EVO 850 250 GB though and it's my understanding now having read more about it that I could easily had used 50 GB of that as SSD cache instead and the other 200 GB as storage and basically got the same thing at no extra cost or limitations whatsoever, with stuff I already had. I of course boot from the SSD now as is. So for Intel SRT to work I would have to install Windows on the HDD, at-least when setting it up. I do have an AMD motherboard and processor running right now though and they don't support that and hence I haven't used it for the current machine anyway.
How Optane cache stick is now:
I've got three problems with Optane though:
1) Price and that an SSD could be used for the same.
2) Almost all consumer boards (Z370) only come with 6 SATA slots of which 4 will be removed if you use 2 M.2 drives (Optane + NVMe one, you could question why you'd use both) resulting in just 2 SATA connections left which in my case would be my current EVO 850 drive and my HDD. No connectivity for another HDD for backup purposes, no possibility to connect an optical drive (by SATA), another HDD.. whatever. ASRock Z370 Extreme4 is one proud exception with 8 SATA connections, additional front USB type C connection I think, thunderbolt header, better VRM (at-least by the looks of it, not necessarily performance), an additional M.2 key E slot for WiFi purposes. At a low price. Being smart and going with X299 (or the competitive product) would had solved this. Originally I wanted to get X99 and i7 5820K before the SEK tanked.
And 3) It's claimed it only work with the boot-drive!
What just boot-drive means:
#3 would mean I'll have to have Windows on a HDD and my current one is a silent and still running WD Green 3 TB 5900 RPM but it's not won't be the best performer. I've checked the various options for drives WD Black, Gold and HGST HE10 drives all have a seek noise level of 36 bels whereas this one is 28 or 29. Gold and HE10 are supposed to be solid drives as far as reliability goes and it's what I would prefer there but I also don't want a noisy PC. Especially if it's a Windows boot drive and as such used more or less the whole time and hence constantly making noise! The Seagate Ironwolf for instance is a less noisy NAS drive and it's also cheaper, but it's supposed to be less reliable and have a shorter warranty and since my backup procedures are ... non-existent.. and I don't know how to do that reliably (if I sync data I may copy infected data or data with the mistakes I've made, I assume Windows do no automatic check-sums on files like ZFS does so I also have no idea even if my files are corrupt and in the case of viruses or ransom-ware I assume it would be the best to not hook the drive up by SATA.
If it could just had cached whichever drive(s) I picked I wouldn't had much trouble with it. It would just turn any HDD into an SSHD but an even better one and could move between HDDs. Obviously I still could had done it with my SSD but at-least as is officially that would had required me to have Windows on the HDD so let's pretend I still thought Optane was a good idea because of that if nothing else.
The work-around / hack I've read about:
For the SSD-cache but I assume Optane SRT work no different (except I've read that a faulty SSD doesn't break down your data since it's all on the HDD whereas a faulty Optane give you trouble because some content only remain on that device? Just OS files or may some other files ONLY be on the Optane and as such lost? Just recently written stuff until they have been written to the HDD a bit later? Is this a large problem? I know Anandtech´s Optane-drive died but the TBW-value suggest it shouldn't be the norm) I've read made it the way he wanted with SSD as boot drive _AND_ HDD-cache by first installing Windows onto his hard-drive, then running the Intel SRT software and allocate part of his SSD as cache for that HDD, and start using it as that, then install Windows onto the rest of his SSD and I assume install the Intel SRT software there too so BIOS and Windows was fine using it, and then in his case wiping out the content of the Windows partition on the HDD. The whole purpose of that thread was then to suggest that the caching would still be running but he would be booting from the SSD!
So for my setup that would be:
1) Install Windows on HDD.
2) Install Intel Optane software and start using the Optane drive as cache for the HDD (do one assign a whole drive or a partition?)
3) Install Windows onto my SSD (and install the Intel Optane software I suppose.)
4) Set my SSD as boot device and boot that instead.
And then hopefully run Windows from SSD but still have Optane caching on the HDD!
Optional maybe possible step:
5) Remove Windows files from the HDD since I'm no longer booting that.
Would this work?
There's of course always the possibility to try and figure out.
If this work then I assume any Windows files which was put onto the Optane drive for caching purposes may be unused and not of any advantage and Windows performance just rely on the SSD performance.
I wonder if the Optane drive and caching solution would still be up and running and whatever it would keep caching stuff on the HDD once ran though.
(I assume Intel have absolutely no interest in sponsoring and attempt of it with if it works a video/post explaining how too for those willing to give it a go. As is I'm very unsure whatever the Optane-cache is anything for me and it seem like it has just brought me a lot of troubles I didn't had as far as HDDs go (in a NAS I'd be fine with a noisier or slower HDD and keep reliance but not in my desktop PC as boot-drive!) I don't know if even this solution would be anything for me. Easiest and just as it's expected to be used would be to use HDD and Optane and install Windows and set the software up and then if you happened to have an SSD then sure by all means install some software onto that too or put your small files or tiny pictures which Windows enjoy trying to create new thumbnails from at each listening onto it to avoid the horrible HDD performance for some other usage scenarios.)
I assume maybe you can't answer if this would work because you don't know and it's not the supported / official solution. Also maybe you lack the technical know-how or an interest in speaking about it to tell how it would work in this case. I could see how it could work since it seem the special RAID-setup so to say is saved in / setup through BIOS / EFI / early hardware boot and if the Intel SRT software need to be installed for it to work then having that on the SSD would had provided that too.
I have 8-10 hard-drives of EXT, Maybe ReiserFS/XFS or whatever it was called, BSD UFS, Solaris UFS, Solaris ZFS, HFS(X?)+, NTFS/FAT32 (but Windows have no problem with that ..), Amiga FFS content. Linux likely could run most of that but Windows can't at-least not stock. Am I understanding things correctly in that running Optane + HDD using Intel SRT would create a device Linux can't handle and as such that would make it impossible for me to backup and gather all that data onto a new say 8 TB drive used for this? If so I'll repeat the question as for whatever Optane is used with a whole HDD or with a partition. Could I partition the HDD and then have one part which is only accessible by Windows and another I could use for Linux and to gather up all my data on? I could gather up all that data on my current 3 TB drive but if I could have it on a new 4-8 TB drive that would mean I could use my current 3 TB drive as a back-up drive. Which I guess would be preferable. Then again I guess it could hold the data of all those drives AND be used as a backup drive. But then it would be the only backup drive for a lot of data =P
Optane caching/SRT as is seem to be kinda a mess / marketing gimmick. The most useful scenarios for any of us who are a bit more "power users" isn't supported and for the intended usage scenario we've been able to do it with SSDs for long with ~similar performance so then it kinda become like a hardware key to unlock that functionality / a distraction from the cheaper more available solution. I'm aware Intel SRT was only available on the pricier chipsets before whereas now support for Optane also exist on the cheaper chipsets but then you need the Optane drive instead.
Thank you for any help though maybe it will be hard to answer this more complex question / post. I don't know what to do. Thanks.