Intel Optane Memory

Introduction- Today most of the new laptops having Intel processors come with an choice for Intel Optane Memory as a storage option. You’ll discover a mix of Intel Optane memory and SSD/HDD as storage choices. A lot of queries may arise in your mind like what is Intel Optane Memory? What is the difference between DRAM, Optane memory and SSD? How do they affect the performance of your laptop?

What Is Intel Optane Memory?
The Intel Optane memory is a Non-Volatile memory consist of set of memory modules designed by Intel to increase the overall performance of the computer. This Intel Optane Memory is based on Intel’s new 3D X-Point (Cross-point) technology. As it is Non-Volatile in nature, it can retain the stored data even if the computer is shut-down or loses power.

Why to Use Intel Optane Memory?
Intel Optane memory acts as a connecting link between the system RAM and HDD Storage. The Optane memory has Quick Access Times which means the data transfer rates between the Storage, Memory, and Processor are very fast.
The Quick Access times of Optane memory decreases the time taken to boot the computer, reduces the loading time of games and other demanding software and also reduces the time taken to launch a game or program. The Optane memory improves the overall system performance of laptop or desktop.
In most laptops, the Optane memory is used in conjunction with the HDD to improve the system performance. HDDs have slow data reading and writing speeds but when combined with the Optane memory the data reading. The combination of Optane memory and HDDs is used to get a performance similar to SSDs. The Optane memory is faster than most storage devices like HDD, memory Cards, Flash Drives, SSHD and NAND SSD.

Major differences Between Intel Optane, DRAM and SSD :-
Dynamic Random-Access Memory is very robust and fast but volatile in nature which means they are not able to retain data if loses its power source. The data it was processing is lost and needs to be retrieved from disk storage. On the other hand, solid-state drives hold data even without power. These drives are non-volatile, but lack read/write speeds and have high latency when dealing with substantial workloads. Whereas Optane memory has high data density and low latency much like DRAM, but saves and accesses data like flash storage. However, Optane memory are slower than NVMe M.2 SSDs and DRAM.
Unlike HDDs and SSDs, the Optane memory comes in the form of sticks of 16 GB and 32 GB capacity. The Optane memory is compatible with only selected Intel Motherboards that support 7th Generation Intel Core i3 Processors or higher.

Pros of Intel Optane Memory :-
– Improves Overall System Performance
– Non-Volatile
– Faster Read and Write Speeds than most SSD

Cons of Intel Optane Memory:-
– Compatibility Issue
– Costly
– Consume Power Even in an Idle State
– Installation is Difficult
– Cannot Physically Replace the SSD, HDD or RAM

Conclusion :-
Intel Optane is a smart memory system that accelerates your computer’s performance and makes it more responsive. The Optane memory boosts the overall system performance of computer by working as a cache memory which forms a connecting link between the storage, memory and the processor. The Optane memory accelerates the performance when used in conjunction with RAM, HDD, and SSD. It cannot physically replace either the RAM, HDD, or SSD. The caching speed of Optane memory is slower than RAM and the storage capacity is less than a typical HDD or SSD.

Mr. Rohit Maheshwari, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science & Engineering, Career Point University, Kota

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