3 Replies Latest reply on Jul 28, 2018 12:48 AM by APZ84

    Can you use Optane Memory on a PCI-E expansion card?


      Hello everyone,


      My current motherboard supports 2 types of m.2 one slot supports 2280 which is being used by my boot drive (Samsung 960 EVO NVME).  My other m.2 slot that is open is compatible with 42mm and 110mm.  I checked my boards compatibility with booting from PCI-E but it seems it can not do that.m


      I'm curious to know if I purchase an m.2/PCI-E expansion card that supports 80mm and put a 32gb Optane into the PCIE expansion, would it work as optane memory?  Or would the PCI-E card mess up everything?


      I'm also wondering if the Optane drivers are loaded in the bios or in Windows?  I would suspect if the Optane drivers load in bios then it would be a problem on my board since it's not detecting PCI-E hard drives.  Or am I wrong?
      However if the Optane drivers load in Windows I would think it would be ok for PCI-E.e


      The goal is to use the Optane memory as an accelerator for sata connected drives and not as additional storage.  I'm looking into the 32 gb option.


      My motherboard is an Asus Maximus Hero IX z270 board with an Intel i7-7700K


      Thanks to anyone who may know the answer.

        • 1. Re: Can you use Optane Memory on a PCI-E expansion card?

          Both of the M.2 connectors on your board are keyed for Type M modules and both of the M.2 connectors can accommodate 80mm (2280) length M.2 modules (actually, as you noticed, the second M.2 connector can even accommodate oversize 110mm (22110) modules, but support for standard 80mm modules is still there). Both your Samsung M.2 NVMe SSD and Intel Optane modules are keyed for Type M and are 80mm (2280) in length. Bottom line, you can plug both of these modules directly into your board; no PCIe expansion card will be necessary.


          Regarding your other questions, you are wrong for the most part here as well. You can boot from PCIe devices - and indeed you are already doing so with your Samsung M.2 NVMe SSD. Whether you can use and boot from an Intel Optane Module is dependent upon whether your board's BIOS contains support for Intel Optane technology - and indeed your board has this support. To enable support for using Optane Memory, your will need to do two things:


          1. In BIOS, you will need to enable support for the Optane Module.
          2. In Windows, you will need to load the latest, Optane-enabled version of Intel Rapid Storage Technology (RST).


          The next question is what you expect to accomplish by adding this Optane Module. Optane modules are most effective if the HDD being accelerated is also your System device. In your case, your System drive is your Samsung M.2 SSD. Optane modules are less effective accelerating access to secondary HDDs unless there is a set of specific files that are regularly being accessed. If you are like me, and have a large secondary HDD loaded with multimedia content (Videos, Pictures, Music, etc.), then the Optane module is going to be a lot less effective; it takes regular (repeated) accesses to files to gain optimal acceleration.


          I personally haven't tested the effectiveness of an Optane Module, but I have extensively utilized the older Intel Smart Response Technology (SRT), which used a SATA-based SSD to accelerate the performance of a HDD. In this case, the acceleration was not that effective for secondary HDDs. Again, it is when the System device is being accelerated that caching technologies are most effective.


          Hope this helps,


          • 2. Re: Can you use Optane Memory on a PCI-E expansion card?

            Intel SSD person here -


            One other point, and Scott has almost all of the nuances here dead on. For Intel RST to use an Intel Optane Memory module as a caching solution, it needs to be on one of the PCIe lanes attached to a re-mappable port on the chipset (not CPU direct attach). It's not always easy to identify those, though M.2 motherboard slots on an "Optane Memory Ready" MB are of that type. There's a good chance that the card you are using may not be on those lanes. However, if you try, and find it does not work, you can definitely attempt to move it to another PCIe slot to see.

            2 of 2 people found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Can you use Optane Memory on a PCI-E expansion card?

              Thank you all for the help.  I ultimately found out my board actually does support a 2280 m.2  For some reason I didn't think it had the pre-fittings.  When I was thinking about it I didn't even think about the controller card bottle necking the Optane memory.  But I'm sure it wouldn't work on an expansion.  It's actually a little silly of a question now that I think about it lol especially since my controller card is sata.  Whoops!