More and more current devices are talking about Intel Optane. But what is behind the technology and does it really bring advantages for the individual user? In the following, we will address these and other important questions. This way, you can decide directly in the end whether the investment in the memory is worth it for you and whether it will become an important feature in your next purchase.
Basically, Intel Optane is a non-volatile memory technology that is intended as a replacement for the previous NAND flash. The technology was developed in a collaboration between Intel and Micron Technology. It was finally introduced in 2015 under the name 3D XPoint, whereby it is pronounced "Crosspoint". The latter is due to the structure of the memory, as it has a grid structure spatially.
Compared to previous NAND flash memory, Intel Optane is said to primarily reduce latency and deliver high performance even at lower capacities like 16 GB. In addition, there is better resistance, so that more read and write operations can be performed. So, overall, the focus is on system acceleration, responsiveness and stability of the respective end device.
In what formats is Intel Optane memory available?
The portfolio includes on the one hand SSDs, which are available as before in the 2.5-inch format, as a PCI Express card or M.2 module. In addition, there are the so-called Intel Optane DC memory, which are plugged as a DIMM module in the respective slots of the motherboard. However, the latter are particularly aimed at businesses, as they are intended to work with the professional Xeon processors.
On the other hand, the Optane SSDs are interesting for notebooks, PCs and similar end devices. You can combine, for example, an existing hard drive with an Optane memory M10 to get on the one hand the capacity of an HDD, but at the same time the performance of an SSD. The system analyzes fully automatically, which content is used frequently and should therefore be kept in the non-volatile Optane memory.
However, Intel already offers SSDs that also make use of the acceleration through Optane technology. In addition to the already known QLC-3D-NAND data storage, Intel places a low-capacity Optane memory to once again improve the performance in everyday use.
How can Intel Optane be used for acceleration?
If you rely on the highest possible data rates and want to use the possibilities of Intel Optane memory technology, there are a few points to consider. First and foremost, the respective system must be compatible with Intel Optane. Therefore, check the manufacturer's specifications for the motherboard or even the complete system like a notebook. Many devices are sold directly with corresponding data carriers, so there you do not need to do anything further.
With other end devices, however, a retrofit may also be possible. In such a case, you can simply insert an Intel Optane SSD in the corresponding slot or replace the existing SSD. In terms of software, the Intel Rapid Storage-Technolgie (RST) driver is also required and only Windows 10 is supported as the operating system. In addition, the SATA drive must be formatted with the operating system GPT.
In conclusion, Intel Optane can certainly provide acceleration. Be it as a supplement to a conventional SSD or in combination with a modern M.2 SSD.
It is particularly worthwhile to use it if you are dependent on a maximum data rate and the lowest possible latencies. However, you can also rely on previous NAND flash SSDs for simpler tasks and conventional applications without hesitation.