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What is Intel Optane Memory? Can it replace your SSD

With the advancement of technology, computer parts become cheaper and obsolete. 

We all know the difference between the performance of storage devices like HDD and SSD.

A few years back using SSD storage in computers was a big deal as it was costly but nowadays it is becoming cheaper and cheaper.

To take computer performance to the next level a new technology called Intel Optane entered the market in 2017 which promises to reduce the latency and loading time drastically.

How it works

It is a non-volatile memory similar to a RAM but works as a cache.

It uses a technology called 3D XPoint that makes it faster than any other NAND flash as claimed by its creators. 

It works like a cache between the RAM and the storage. It stores the most frequent files that are required by the system or the user.

Unlike the traditional cache which works between the processor and the RAM, this memory works between RAM and the storage device like HDD or SSD.

It is faster than the storage device but slower than RAM, by working as a buffer in between it makes the system faster in terms of load time.

Earlier it was seen only in gaming laptops but now it can be seen in other laptops also.

SSD Replacement?

According to Intel, Optane modules were introduced to replace SSDs with low-cost HDDs that offer more storage capacity.

It was marketed as when used with HDD it will achieve speeds of SSD.

This statement is debatable but I think it cannot replace SSDs as only the frequent files load faster rather than any random file.

But surely it can increase the overall performance when used with either of the storage types.

Optane Memory vs RAM

RAM is volatile in nature meaning when the computer is switched off no data is retained in it while Intel Optane is non-volatile it keeps the data even after switching off the computer.

RAM operates in between CPU cache and storage while optane operates in between RAM and storage(HDD or SSD).

RAM is smaller in size and optane has form factor of M.2 SSD

RAM is faster and more expensive than optane memory. 

RAM is available in 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, 32GB chips while optane is only available in 16GB and 32 GB.

Advantages of using Optane memory

  1. Can make the boot time faster, by storing the boot.exe and necessary files required by the OS like daemon to the optane memory
  2. It has lower latency than an SSD, latency means the delay.
  3. Decreases the loading time of files and applications. Apps and software that are more frequently used are loaded faster.

Can it be used in older computers?

Yes, and No, depends on the model to model but the chances of it to work are pretty low.

But we can at least look for the basic requirement for it to work.

It only works with Intel processors of the 7th generation or higher. It requires an M.2 slot.

If your computer has these requirements then you can try placing an optane module. The bios need to be updated for it to work. The bios update depends on the vendor.

It comes in two options – 16GB and 32GB. 


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