Intel® Optane™ Technology—Disruptive Memory Technology

Learn more about Intel® Optane™ technology to see how this non-volatile memory solution enables fast access to large sets of data.


Ever wonder why your computer is so slow? Chances are your storage device is the problem, slowly responding to your processors data requests and causing it to work at a fraction of its potential. Eliminating that bottleneck requires memory that is fast, dense, and nonvolatile so your data doesn't go away when your power does.

DRAM memory is great because it's very fast, but it's volatile. And unlike many silicon components, DRAM density isn't doubling every two years, so it's hitting a wall. On the other hand, NAND memory, found in today's SSDs, is both dense and nonvolatile. And while it's fast compared to other storage technologies, it's still much slower than DRAM.

But get ready, we're about to shatter today's rules in a very big way thanks to some breakthrough engineering we've been working on. Now, for the first time ever, we'll be able to equip computers with memory that's faster than NAND and more dense than DRAM, and nonvolatile.

Intel Optane technology combines a next-generation, nonvolatile memory called 3D XPoint memory with Intel's advanced system memory controllers and interface hardware and software enhancements to bring amazing new computing possibilities to a variety of markets.

So how do we do it? To make 3D XPoint memory dense, we packed lots of capacity into a tiny footprint. We started by slicing submicroscopic layers of materials into columns, each containing a memory cell and selector. Then, we connected those columns using an innovative XPoint structure consisting of perpendicular wires that enables memory cells to be individually addressed by selecting one wire on top and another at the bottom. We can stack these memory grids three-dimensionally to maximize density.

And whereas DRAM requires a transistor at each memory cell to access or modify the cell, making DRAM big and expensive, each memory cell can be written to or read by simply varying the voltage sent to its selector, completely eliminating the need for transistors. This simple stackable transistor-less design enables us to deliver greater capacity than DRAM in the same space.

When it comes to memory performance, low latency is the key, especially for today's demanding workloads. Intel Optane technology's latency is much shorter than NAND memory, eliminating a significant portion of the performance penalty for each data request. This makes Intel Optane technology ideal for all devices, applications, or services requiring fast access to large sets of data.

There you have it, a truly disruptive memory technology designed to change the face of computing with an unparalleled combination of speed, density, and non-volatility. Get ready to unleash your processor's true potential and realized possibilities we thought were decades away. So be sure to stay tuned for upcoming announcements on Intel Optane technology.