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  1. Some of you may know that I don't like Flash drives or MLC or TLC based SSDs. (I know nothing about SLC SSDs). While I love the fast boot time, the flash memory based product used here always seem to diminish sound quality with a kind of glaze over the sound. Yes, I have tried external LPSes to power SSDs. I have also gone to extraordinary lengths to get rid of SSDs using hard disks, NAS based iSCSI boot drives, and most recently USB 3.0 hard drives via an Adnaco fiber connection. The last solution is the best and fastest so far. Despite every effort to stop random disk reads and writes during music playback, Windows 10 seems to want to talk to the disk drive incessantly. Worst, player software like Roon logs everything without providing user controls to turn logging off. Having read about the new 3d Xpoint technology from Intel and Micron for years, product has finally shipped under the Optane brand. 16 and 32gb SSDs are now available using this technology. Whats promising is that Optane has a very simple structure that is lower latency then flash memory. The question is "Does Optane generate far less noise during operation then a flash based SSD?" If so, this could be audio SQ Nirvana. It seems that regular SSDs are constantly testing memory cell data and moving data around even when they are not being accessed. They depend on massive redundancy for reliability. SSDs have internal microprocessors running to get this done. This is a noisy process. In comparison 3d xpoint is actually non-volatile RAM and is directly addressable by the processor. See more here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/3D_XPoint. For $80 you can now get 32gb of Intel Optane packaged as an NVME SSD or drive cache(caching only works on a i7-77XX Z270 machine). My music PC is a i7-6700k Z170 machine. I read an Optane review the other day, http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/8234/intel-optane-raid-worlds-fastest-system-disk/index.html and realized that my machine will run an Optane SSD. So I bought one at Microcenter yesterday. In the SSD package tested here, I suspect there is a processor of sorts to handle the serial to parallel interface from the NVME PCIE bus to the NVRAM. Nevertheless, this process should be much less noisy than a normal SSD. After shrinking my Windows boot drive down to 26gb, I used Paragon Migrate to move the boot image to the Optane memory stick in the motherboard NVME slot. After some BIOS configuration, I can now boot from the Optane stick or USB 3 based 4 TB hard disk at will. All of that aside, as a new technology, the exercise is to learn Optanes impact on sound quality. New memory technologies happen infrequently. My hope is that Optane is far quieter then flash memory and therefore usable as a boot drive. With 4 hours in, I can tell you it's far quieter then any SSD I have ever tried, but still needs to open up a little. The good news is that I am hearing bass lines in well known test tracks that I never heard before. Soundstage started a little too zoomed in, but has receded over the 4 hours of operation so far. Let's see what happens in the next few days. Stay tuned, Larry
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