Frequently Asked Questions for Intel® Optane™ Memory

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01/12/2021

See answers to frequently asked support questions about Intel® Optane™ memory and system acceleration.

Click or the topic for details:

About Intel® Optane™ Memory

Intel® Optane™ memory is a system acceleration solution installed between the processor and slower storage devices (SATA HDD, SSHD, SSD), which enables the computer to store commonly used data and programs closer to the processor. This allows the system to access this information more quickly, which can improve overall system responsiveness.

It enables faster task completion and reduces the wait time, compared to a computer with a hard disk drive alone.

  • Responsiveness refers to how quickly the PC completes end user requests, such as:
    • Start or boot
    • Search and find files
    • Save large files
    • Launch applications
  • Compared to the same PC with only a hard drive, yes, Intel® Optane™ memory makes the PC feel faster, more responsive, and accelerated.
How is Intel® Optane™ memory different from other NAND caching and caching solutions?

Intel® Optane™ memory is built to address the need for non-volatile, high-performance, high-endurance, low latency, and Quality of Service (QoS). The combination of these attributes in a memory technology sets it apart from anything else.

Intel® Optane™ memory is different from other NAND caching solutions for the following reasons:

  • Revolutionary, new Intel® Optane™ memory media performs well even in low capacities (16 GB).
  • Endurance to withstand multiple reads and writes to the module.
  • Leading-edge algorithm in the Intel RST driver creates a high-performance solution.
  • Its user-friendly, intuitive installation, and easy set-up process helps you automatically configure a solution to match your needs.
What is the difference between Intel® Optane™ memory and DRAM? Does it replace DRAM?

Intel® Optane™ memory uses non-volatile Intel® Optane™ memory media with the Intel® Rapid Storage Technology driver to accelerate your PC's accesses to non-volatile data. In your PC, non-volatile data is your computer's "long-term memory" that persists even when the PC is powered off. A PC user's personal documents, pictures, videos, music, and application files are examples of non-volatile data.

DRAM, or Dynamic Random Access Memory, is a volatile memory technology that serves as your computer's "short-term working memory". DRAM temporarily stores the inputs and results of calculations performed by the Processor. When the PC is powered off, the data in the DRAM disappears.

The two memory technologies serve different purposes in the PC memory hierarchy so, Intel® Optane™ memory complements DRAM, rather than replacing it entirely. A computer with both Intel® Optane™ memory and DRAM can access programs and data faster, providing additional performance and responsiveness.

Installation and Configuration

See the Installation and Configuration FAQ for more information.


Pinning a File, Folder, or Application

See the Pinning for System Acceleration with Intel® Optane™ memory FAQ for more information.


Hardware and Software

What is the complete list of software and hardware requirements for the Intel® Optane™ memory series for system acceleration?

View complete details for a system ready for Intel® Optane™ memory.

What is the difference between the Intel® Optane™ memory module and the Intel® Optane™ memory M10 module?

The Intel® Optane™ memory M10 modules add the capability of low power support for Mobile platforms and Modern Connected Standby.

Is Linux* supported when using Intel® Optane™ memory for system acceleration?

No, Intel® Optane™ memory requires the Windows 10 64-bit operating system and the Intel® Rapid Storage Technology (Intel® RST) driver software. Using the device with other software for caching is is not supported or validated.

I intend to have multiple operating systems on my system across multiple drives. Can Intel® Optane™ memory boost the performance of multiple drives?

No, Intel® Optane™ memory can accelerate one drive.

Performance

Will the performance of a mobile system be noticeably better if I buy a laptop that contains a hard drive and Intel® Optane™ memory? How will this compare to the same system that does not contain Intel® Optane™ memory?

A laptop with a hard drive and Intel® Optane™ memory is about twice as responsive (as measured by SYSmark* 2014 SE (Responsiveness Subscore), on system configurations below).

Baseline System (with HDD)
Intel® Core™ i7-8650U Processor, 15W TDP, 4C8T, Turbo up to 4.2GHz, Memory: 2x4GB DDR4-2400, Storage: Seagate* ST1000LM048 2.5" 5400 RPM 1TB HDD, OS: Windows* 10.

System with 16GB Intel® Optane™ Memory
Same configuration, with 16GB Intel® Optane™ Memory M10 Module.

SYSmark* 2014 SE - benchmark from the BAPCo* consortium that measures the performance of Windows* platforms. SYSmark* tests four usage scenarios: Office Productivity, Media Creation, Data/Financial Analysis, and Responsiveness. SYSmark* contains real applications from Independent Software Vendors such as Microsoft* and Adobe*

The benchmark results may need to be revised as additional testing is conducted. The results depend on the specific platform configurations and workloads utilized in the testing, and may not be applicable to any particular user's components, computer system, or workloads. The results are not necessarily representative of other benchmarks and other benchmark results may show greater or lesser impact from mitigations.

Software and workloads used in performance tests may have been optimized for performance only on Intel microprocessors. Performance tests, such as SYSmark and MobileMark, are measured using specific computer systems, components, software, operations, and functions. Any change to any of those factors may cause the results to vary. You should consult other information and performance tests to assist you in fully evaluating your contemplated purchases, including the performance of that product when combined with other products. Visit the Performance Benchmark Test Disclosure for more information.

Can I see performance improvement immediately after enabling Intel® Optane™ memory?

Within three boot cycles after enabling Intel® Optane™ memory, it takes less time to boot to the OS. For applications and files, Intel® Optane™ memory automatically learns your computing behaviors to accelerate frequently used applications.

What is the power consumption and operating temperature for the Intel® Optane™ memory module?

See the product brief for more information.

Do all applications show an increase in runtime performance?

Intel® Optane™ memory improves the launch time of applications and files that you use most often. Exactly how much improvement varies with each application.

Does Intel® Optane™ memory use write-back or write-through caching techniques?

Write-back is used to optimize for performance and responsiveness. This mode captures most host writes into the Intel® Optane™ memory module first, and it updates the copy on the drive being accelerated during available system idle periods.

Questions Related to Various Usage Cases

Can I disconnect the drive being accelerated from the system after it's enabled with Intel® Optane™ memory and move it to another computer?

No, you have to disable Intel® Optane™ memory before you can move it to another computer. You can disable it via the Intel® Optane™ memory or Intel RST applications. Refer to the Intel Optane Memory User and Installation Guide or video for more information.

What happens if I remove the Intel® Optane™ memory module from my system after I enable it?

The volume (module + drive being accelerated) will go offline to protect user data. You won't be able to use this volume until the module is placed back in the system.

What happens to my data on the drive being accelerated if I lose or damage the Intel® Optane™ memory module?

When you create an Intel® Optane™ memory volume (drive being accelerated + Intel® Optane™ memory module pair), if one is missing from the system, the other disk goes offline, the OS doesn't see it, and it can no longer be used.

We recommend to using third-party software to recover data on the associated disk.

What software encryption is available for my Intel® Optane™ memory volume?

Microsoft BitLocker*, the Windows 10 version or later is supported.

Note
  • Encryption should be enabled before acceleration with Intel Optane memory is enabled.
  • Enabling software encryption has an impact on system performance.
Related topics
What Software Enables System Acceleration with Intel® Optane™ Memory?
Intel® Optane™ Memory Software and Downloads
More Information on Intel® Optane™ Memory