Intel has announced that it is ending its Core processor and Optane accelerator bundles, sold under the Core+ branding since last year, citing a lack of demand from retail customers.

Developed in partnership with Micron under the soon-to-dissolve Intel-Micron Flash Technologies (IM-Flash) joint venture under the name 3D XPoint, Intel's Optane is the first step on a path to so-called universal memory: Non-volatile like NAND flash, yet fast enough - or so it is targeting - to replace volatile dynamic RAM (DRAM). Launched initially for the server market before coming to desktops as performance-boosting, small-capacity caching modules, Intel launched a series of bundles last year which saw a range of Core processors bundled with Optane caching drives under the Core+ branding.

Aimed at the retail market these Core+ bundles provided a means of differentiating its products from those of rival AMD, of providing perceived added value to consumers, allowed for a little cheeky boosting of benchmark results, and - most important of all - sought to normalise an Optane caching drive as a key component of any system build.

Intel's marketing experiment, though, does not appear to have gone well. In a product change notification (PCN) first spotted by Tom's Hardware Intel has confirmed it is dropping the Core i7+8700, i5+8500, and i5+8400 bundles, which saw Core i7 and i5 processors packaged with 16GB Optane caching drives, due to lower than expected demand.

The bundles won't disappear immediately from the market, though: Intel's PCN indicates that retailers will have until September 2019 to order them in, with shipments taking place through to December 27th - but only 'if supplies are still available', the company notes.


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