MSI Bundling Intel Optane With Some 200 Series 'OPT BOOST' Motherboards

MSI announced a trio of new 200 Series 'OPT BOOST' motherboards that will be bundled with a pre-installed 16GB Intel Optane Memory module. The company said the addition of the Optane Memory not only boosts hard drive performance but also represents an added $50 value for free.

Those of you who are unsure of the benefits of a bundle such as this need only read our Intel Optane Memory review to get caught up to speed. From our review:

The main component is an SSD that comes bristling not only with the hottest new memory technology, but also a combination of protocols, hardware, and software work together to transform Optane Memory into a caching solution, primarily for HDDs. For the uninitiated, caching learns your usage patterns and stores frequently-accessed data on a faster storage device to speed up boot times, application loading, and many other aspects of overall system performance.

In case you are wondering, this isn't MSI just tossing a 16GB Intel Optane Memory module in the box and calling it good. The company actually added a dedicated M.2 slot to two of the announced motherboards for the Optane Memory module, leaving an open M.2 slot available for PCIe SSD storage. The Z270 Tomahawk OPT BOOST is a full sized ATX motherboard with support for multiple GPUs by way of three PCI-E x16 slots. The B250M Bazooka OPT BOOST is an mATX motherboard with a single PCI-E x16 slot. Although it was also announced, no information is current available on the B250M PRO OPT BOOST motherboard.

MSI recommends updating your compatible MSI 200 series motherboards to the latest BIOS version before use.

Information on pricing and availability was not available at press time.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Z270 Tomahawk OPT BOOSTB250M Bazooka OPT BOOST
ChipsetIntel Z270 ChipsetIntel B250 Chipset
DDR4Memory3800(OC) / 3600(OC) / 3200(OC) / 3000(OC) / 2800(OC) / 2600(OC) / 2400 / 2133 MHz 2400 / 2133 MHz
MemoryChannelDual Dual
DIMM Slots44
Max Memory64GB64GB
PCI-E x1631
PCI-E x132
M.2 Slot22
TPM Header11
Rear I/ODVI-D, HDMI, Realtek ALC892 Codec, x1 USB 3.1 (Gen2, Type A), x1 USB 3.1 (Gen2, Type C), x4 USB 3.1 (Gen1, Type A), x2 USB 2.0 DVI-D, HDMI, Realtek ALC892 Codec, x3 USB 3.1 (Gen1, Type A) 1x USB 3.1 (Gen1, Type C), x2 USB 2.0
CrossFire /SLIYesNo
Form FactorATXmATX
  • shpankey
    interesting... and tempting.
  • Glock24
    Strange... Anyone so buys those motherboards will probably buy an SSD too, so the bundle is kind of pointless.
  • JakeWearingKhakis
    GLOCK24 That's what I was thinking. The whole 16 and 32GB Optane thing baffles me as well. Intel said there was no visible performance boost if you already have an SSD so........I don't even know. That's hardly enough space for anything meaningful.
  • SpeedEnforcedByAircraft
    It all falls down to the price of these boards. If the price is less than an cheapo 128 GB SSD and mobo combined, this could be a potent combo for budget builders. I'd throw a 1TB drive, a Pentium G4560, 8GBs of RAM and a 1050 Ti in there and call it a day, but I don't like the mATX form factor with less than 2 x16 slots.
    Now if only there was an M-ITX version of this bundle...
  • IndignantSkeptic
    It seems like Optane will go the same way as Larrabee.
  • truerock
    I built my PC in 2012 with a $340 240GB SSD and a $270 2TB HDD. I'm thinking I'll build my next PC in 2018 with a $1,000 256GB Optaine drive, a 2TB SSD and a 8TB HDD. My operating system and most used application software will go on the Optaine drive. My other less used software will go on the SSD. Videos, music, pictures and other files will go on the HDD.

    It would help if Steam facilitated this design by allowing a user to easily move their games back and forth between storage drives. My Steam folder is over 700GB.
  • kookykrazee
    Are there any enthusiast boards with more than 6 SATA ports? I have a midtower case that I am going to use for my updated system build later this summer and need to have 7-10 ports so as to not have to use PCI-E slot for that instead of my 3 gpu folding setup that will come by fall.