Intel Discontinues Optane-Packing Core+ i7-8700, i5-8400, i5-8500 Models

Intel introduced its new Core+ branding last year, but according to Intel’s documentation, it has already slated the new processors for discontinuance due to a lack of demand.

In short, Intel’s Core+ branding indicates the processors, or the devices they are installed in, come bundled with Optane memory. These three bundles, which include a processor and a 16GB Optane memory caching drive, were the only three bundled SKUs. The news comes as Intel and Micron are parting ways on their 3D XPoint (the underlying memory behind Optane) joint venture.

Intel now says its customers should place their last orders for the Core+ processor bundles by September 30, provided supplies are still available, and that the final deliveries should be taken no later than December 27, 2019.

Kit Part Number
Core+ i7-8700 + 16GB Optane BO80684I78700
Core+ i5-8500 + 16GB Optane BO80684I58500
Core+ i5-8400 + 16GB Optane BO80684I58400

Intel’s Optane memory is a collection of software and hardware, such as 3D XPoint memory, that leverage the power of next-generation memory to boost storage performance. The Optane modules come as both cache and normal bootable SSDs that fill the goodbetterbest verticals, so they represent a growing portion of Intel’s storage business.

The bundled kits were largely seen as an attempt to boost Intel’s sales of Optane, which apparently haven’t met expectations given Micron CEO Sanjay Mehrotra’s revelation that 3D XPoint sales to Intel were flagging, thus incurring under-utilization charges that impacted Micron’s bottom line. That’s particularly devastating for Micron because it doesn’t have any 3D Xpoint products on the market, making Intel its only avenue to market for sales.

Micron even indicated that it was possible that the company wouldn’t sell any 3D XPoint to Intel in the future. As such, Mehrotra announced that Micron would re-negotiate the terms of future 3D XPoint development with Intel.

That apparently didn’t go too well, as the two companies ceased joint development in July 2018, and yesterday Micron announced its intention to buy out Intel’s share of their IMFT (Intel Micron Flash Technologies) joint venture. Intel plans to continue to produce 3D XPoint, the revolutionary new memory behind the Optane brand, in its own fabs even after the Micron divorce.

Intel has the right to continue to produce 3D XPoint independently, and given its continuing investment in new facilities to produce 3D XPoint, it is unlikely that Intel is discontinuing these products due to the end of the partnership. Instead, it appears that the bundled products simply didn’t gain any traction in the market.

We have reached out to Intel for comment and will update as necessary.