What is Optane Memory? Uses, Pros & Cons

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What is Optane Memory

What is Optane Memory?

Optane memory is an innovative technology system that offers the benefits of both, a larger HDD and a faster SSD. This smart technology boosts the performance and personalized computing experience.

It typically caches the processes used most frequently to improve storage speeds greatly for the hard drive by using 3D XPoint technology, which is a thousand times faster than conventional NAND flash memory.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The Optane memory offers high performance and responsiveness as a Solid State Drive.
  • Though the function of Optane memory is pretty similar to Dynamic RAM, it still has some time to replace it completely, if at all.
  • This memory module offers higher data density and lower latency apart from enhanced acceleration solutions and larger storage.
  • Higher power consumption and cost along with some compatibility issues regarding motherboard, processor generation and operating system can be a concern.

Understanding Optane Memory

Understanding Optane Memory

Optane Memory is a type of non-volatile memory developed by Intel, designed to bridge the gap between slower, traditional hard drives and faster, but more expensive, solid-state drives (SSDs).

It uses 3D XPoint technology, a new type of memory that is faster than NAND flash, but less expensive than DRAM, to offer faster read and write speeds compared to traditional hard drives.

Optane Memory comes in the M.2 form factor and connects to the PCIe bus on compatible motherboards.

It is used as a cache drive, meaning that it stores frequently accessed data from the hard drive in its memory, which can then be accessed more quickly than if it had to be retrieved from the hard drive.

The cache drive can be managed through Intel’s Rapid Storage Technology software, which automatically learns which data is frequently accessed and caches it in the Optane Memory.

Optane Memory can significantly improve system performance, particularly when it comes to boot times and application load times.

Optane Memory can also be used in conjunction with a traditional hard drive or SSD to create a hybrid storage solution that provides the best of both worlds – large storage capacity and fast read/write speeds.

Uses of Optane Memory

What is Optane Memory

  • Boosting overall system performance: Optane Memory can be used as a caching drive to speed up frequently accessed files, reducing load times and improving overall system responsiveness.
  • Enhancing gaming performance: Optane Memory can be used to accelerate game load times, reducing wait times and improving the gaming experience.
  • Improving productivity: Optane Memory can accelerate the launch of frequently used productivity applications, such as Microsoft Office, reducing wait times and improving workflow.
  • Increasing storage capacity: Optane Memory can be used in combination with a hard drive to create a hybrid storage solution, providing both the speed benefits of Optane and the larger capacity of a traditional hard drive.
  • Improving system boot times: Optane Memory can be used as a boot drive, enabling faster system start-up times and reducing the time it takes to get to work or play.
  • Supporting content creation: Optane Memory can accelerate the load times of video, photo, and audio editing software, improving productivity for content creators.
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The Pros of Optane Memory

1. Faster acceleration capabilities

Using Optane memory will not only enhance the speed of the systems that already have faster operating SSDs but it also has the capability to increase the speed in those systems that are equipped with the traditional spinning HDDs.

This means that Optane memory will enable you to launch data for discrete programs much easily and quickly.

It will also help in storing them so that the system starts faster as well.

2. Adaptability

The Optane memory is highly adaptable. It will know by itself how exactly it can use your system in the best possible way.

Apart from that, it will also learn about the programs and data that you use more frequently and place their launch data in the front end of the line.

This will once again increase the performance level and speed of your computer system, significantly reducing the wait time.

3. A cheaper and effective alternative

The Optane memory module is a much cheaper and more efficient alternative to those traditional dual drive systems.

These are the systems that are furnished with both a small SSD that helps in booting the system up as well as a bigger HDD that is used for mass storage of data primarily.

4. Functionality

When you use the Optane memory, it will accelerate the initial boot times along with the launch times of every program.

Apart from that, it is also designed to pre-fetch emails or even a content of a page from your favorite and most frequented websites.

For the gamers, such speedy access to specific data from large volumes is highly beneficial.

They will not need to waste time in searching and waiting for their 4 TB drives to locate the game data that mostly ranges between 5 Gb and 10 GB.

5. A perfect combination

The 3D technology, on which Optane memory is based, increases its potential even further.

The combination of this memory module with 3D XPoint or 3D Cross Point as it is pronounced, seems to be a wise joint-decision of Intel and Micron.

This combination seems to be perfect to fill the functional gaps between the non-volatile and less costly NAND Flash and the relatively expensive and volatile DRAM.

6. Help for businesses

Businesses such as SMBs, enterprise and even home offices will have everything done on their computers at quick speed.

With faster boot times, Optane will launch every program faster whether it is the web browsers or email readers, for slide presentations or a remote meeting software.

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This means that all typical business computers, desktop or laptop, will have greater productivity.

7. Cost savings

Whether it is for any in-house jobs or field work including product demonstration and sales presentation, businesses will be able to save a considerable amount using the cheaper HDD systems that will run as fast as the SSD systems.

Optane will ensure an SSD-style performance for the systems making it an affordable and high ROI upgrade especially for the small business owners.

Businesses, both small and large enterprises, will also have a lot of new options.

8. Helps for gamers

The competitive and high-end gamers will also benefit using Optane memory.

It will make their system most responsive and fastest for rendering complicated graphics, game-action I/O, messaging, handling in-game commentary and much more.

In addition to that, gamers who are on a budget will not have to invest a fortune on installing expensive and big hard drives of more than 20 GB and with install sizes of more than 100 GB to store their games.

9. Balance between cost and performance

With Optane memory the computer manufacturers now do not have to compromise or choose between responsiveness and speed of the systems to keep the cost of it low.

They can manufacture systems of greater capacities using less expensive HDDs that will work just like an SSD equipped system.

10. The bigger cache

The 16 GB or 32 GB Optane memory module provides a lot more area for holding data that is ingested by the game engine in large amounts constantly.

This will smoothen up the game input-output. Moreover, the Optane module being non-volatile, the game-play data stored in it will not be lost when the power of the system is turned off.

11. Optimize EUC

EUC or End-User Computing can be dramatically and easily optimized by Intel Optane memory, especially for the enterprises.

These are the systems and computer platforms that allow the users who are not programmers to produce working computer applications.

12. Streamline workloads

Whether it is personal or business, Intel Optane memory will reduce your workloads with better and faster computing.

You will gain that desired competitive edge that will help you to improve your productivity across any given working environment.

You will accomplish much more and better results in quick time. As for the students and other professionals, the memory will help them to switch between typing a text and jotting down any handwritten note, as and when required.

They can even upload these to retrieve them at a later time.

13. Easy to install

If you have the appropriate software and hardware in your system, it is very easy to install and configure Intel Optane memory. All you need is a M.2 slot.

The Cons

14. Expensive

Intel Optane memory by itself will cost you more than any average SSDs.

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For example, a 32 GB Intel Optane memory stick will cost you to the tune of approx $42 but a 256 GB Silicon Power SSD, on the other hand, will cost you just $38.

The cost of the 480 GB Intel Optane SSD will cost you as much as $549.

15. Compatibility

There are some limitations in using Intel Optane memory. You cannot use it in any and every device as that will not be compatible with it.

You will need specific motherboards and systems that come with 7th generation Intel i-Core processors or newer.

You will also need a Windows operating system, preferably Windows 10 x64.

16. Power consumption

The Intel Optane memory will consume power even when it is idle. This can be up to 1 watt.

This is a serious issue for the laptop consumers because such power drain, no matter how small and insignificant it is, will cause serious negative effects on the battery life.

17. Drive acceleration

You will be able to accelerate only the primary drives in your computer system when you use the Intel Optane memory.

This means that, if the HDD is not the primary drive of your system, you will not be able to boost up its performance.

However, you will be able to accelerate the SSD but that will not be as significant as the rate and amount of acceleration of the HDD.

18. Lack in performance

Since the Optane memory is built on SSD, the level of performance is much lower as compared to the NVMe products currently available in the market.

This is because the capacities of these drives are much smaller as compared to the modern standards.

This means that it will have a lower storage option which may be preferable for some but not a good choice for all.

Conclusion

Optane Memory is a smart technology system that uses 3D XPoint technology to bridge the gap between traditional hard drives and solid-state drives (SSDs).

It offers faster read and write speeds compared to traditional hard drives, and can be used as a cache drive to store frequently accessed data from the hard drive in its memory, which can then be accessed more quickly.

Optane Memory can significantly improve system performance, particularly when it comes to boot times and application load times.

It is highly adaptable, cheaper and more efficient alternative to traditional dual drive systems, and has a range of potential uses for businesses, gamers, and content creators.

About Taylor

AvatarTaylor S. Irwin is a freelance technology writer with in-depth knowledge about computers. She has an understanding of hardware and technology gained through over 10 years of experience.

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