Advice on Intel Optane M10 32GB as boot drive


I’m looking at upgrading from a quite venerable HP proliant N40L, and I’ve ordered a SuperMicro X11SSH-LN4F motherboard plus Xeon E3-1220 v6 processor.

Intention is to house them in an unimaginative Fractal Design Node 804 though probably only using 5-6 hard disks.

My questions relates to a boot drive. I’m aware that motherboard is limited to PCIe 3.0 x2 M.2 cards, so speeds are limited. Looking at second-hand options, you can pick up Intel optane M10s in 32 or 64GB sizes pretty cheaply.

I know they have more use in larger builds as additional RAM. Is using one as a boot drive a particularly good or bad idea? Thanks.

Should say also I have read the hardware guide which suggests it doesn’t much matter, but thought I’d check!

I’m unsure what your problem is…
Any x4 M.2 drive can go in a x2 slot (or even a x1) slot. Performance is largely irrelevant for a boot device—but using a NVMe device here is a good way to keep all SATA ports for data drives.

Optane M10 drives are too small to be of use as L2ARC. But they make very fine boot drives, and even the 16 GB variant is plenty for CORE: These are now my standard boot drives.


Using smaller Optane m.2’s as a boot drive is a great idea. Like @etorix mentioned even the 16GB varieties would work. I’ve been using m.2’s as boot drives for all of my TrueNAS installs for the last 3 years. The most full boot drive is sitting at ~ 22GB in a TrueNAS Scale box and that’s because I’ve not deleted any of the updates since build. One of them has been going since the FreeNAS days where it was previously running on a pair of 16GB USB drives. Even a x1 lane will be enough for what that drives needs to do.


Thanks both very much - reassuring to know these work well! They seem about the same price for a 32GB drive secondhand as the larger SSD options which from what you both say seem overkill in terms of space.

At the risk of a FU question: is there any benefit to getting one of the combination Optane / SSD options?

Overclockers have this 16GB/256GB Optane/SSD for £29.99, or eBay is selling the plain 16GB Optane devices for £4.79/unit.

I suppose I’m wondering about the former on the vague assumption that having 256GB SSD storage wouldn’t be a bad idea, but equally I’m not sure what exactly I would do with it. Apps, maybe?

The boot drive is the boot drive and nothing else.

Apps go on a different pool

£4.79 for a 16GB boot disk is perfect. Just don’t store too many boot environments on it


I’d opt for a 32GB Optane drive for twice the money. 16GB was what my first mini shipped with and it meant keeping a bit of an eye on the fill state. With 32GB, you can ignore the boot drives for a few years. I’d avoid hybrid SSD drives since the front-end/back-end cache flush process is one more thing to go potentially go wrong.

I use two SATADOMs but that’s only because my motherboard came with two motherboard SATADOM sockets.

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Update on this in case anyone’s interested - the drives arrived (I ordered two, one as a backup) - but seems likely they aren’t genuine. Not recognised under Ubuntu nor Windows, Intel’s memory and storage tool doesn’t recognise them, and the serial numbers aren’t found on the Intel website. Although they look genuine, I’m reluctant to entrust my OS to them. Which is a shame!

Weird - I’ve purchased a few of them in recent months, and had no problem with them for pfSense boot drives or as L2 caches on Windows. The only catch I had in Windows was I had to go to Computer Management first and format it before it would be recognised as a drive that could be used as a cache drive.