Intel decided to kill its “Core+” Optane boxed CPU bundles for desktop computers. The desition comes after Micron, a US-based tech company, bought Intel’s stake in the 3D XPoint factory. XPoint, where Intel builds Octane memory chips, was operated by both companies.

The Core+ series was going to ship in systems with both Core processors and Intel’s Optane Memory Technology, which speeds PC storage.

Intel stated it would discontinue the boxed Core i5+8500, i5+8400, and i7+8700 . The last shipments will happen on December 27, 2019.

Intel Core+ series
Intel Core+ series: ArsTechnica.

The reason for the discontinuation is a “lack of market demand,” according to a document shared by Tom’s Hardware.

What was Intel Core+?

Intel unveiled their plans of building Core I5+, Core i7+, and Core i9+ back in April 2018. The series was packing the Optane technology, available for both desktop PCs and laptops.

When Intel and Micron first allied together, the team-up announced they were going to build a breakthrough memory technology. Core+ was supposed to be the result, along with the “revolutionary” Optane memory. However, Intel never really captured any customers with Optane.

Core+ speeds computer responsiveness by remembering frequently accessed archives even after users turn the device off. It enables users to create, produce, and game without waiting so much.

The Core i7-8700, i5-8400, and i5-8500 are older models of the “Coffe Lake” processor generation. The bundle series packed higher power than the regular models plus the Optane technology.

The chip maker aimed the series to consumers looking to improve their storage performance without going full into the expensive SSD alternative.

The target was PC build enthusiasts and DIY end users in the U.S., Japan, and Canada. The prices were as follow:

  • Core i7+8700: $340
  • Core i5+8500: $240
  • Core i5+8400: $215

The bundles included 16 GB Optane memory drive.

Micron and Intel grow apart

The breakup between Micron and Intel was expected as Micron hinted its intentions last year. Micron was planning to sell an Optane competitor they called QuantX, but the technology hasn’t reached the market yet.

Intel hasn’t said the plans for the 3D Xpoint and Octane. “This was expected and has been part of our planning for some time now,” said an Intel spokesman on Monday regarding Micron’s desition.

On an email statement, Intel said:

“We have a number of manufacturing options available to us and have been shipping a broad portfolio of Intel Optane technology products for more than a year. We’ll continue to expand our product line and lead the industry with this exciting, new technology.”

What it means for Intel’s storage technologies

Intel is probably not ready to give up on Octane quite yet. The tech giant is now the single owner of Octane. However, buyers either don’t care about it, or Intel hasn’t done an excellent job spreading the information of what Core+ can do for the general consumer.

Either way, Intel should reconsider their strategies.

Instead, Intel announced at CES 2019 a new product that will combine SSD storage memory and Optane tech on the same chip cards. As you can see, these units won’t be a part of the Core+ series.

In fact, Intel didn’t announce a single Core+ PC or laptop during the tech conference.


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