Frequently Asked Questions for Intel® Optane™ Memory

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Product Information & Documentation

000024018

09/14/2018

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

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About

What are Intel® Optane memory-ready motherboards brands and models?

View lists of vendors and Intel® Optane™ memory-ready motherboards to see if your system is supported.

What is Intel® Optane™ memory and why would I want a system that supports this?

Intel® Optane™ memory is a system acceleration solution for new 7th Generation Intel® Core™ Processor-based platforms or later. This solution uses the Intel® Optane™ Technology, based on 3D XPoint™ memory media, along with the Intel® Rapid Storage Technology (Intel® RST) driver.

When this new memory media is installed between the processor and slower SATA-based storage devices (HDD, SSHD, or SATA SSD), the computer can 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.

What is system acceleration? What is system responsiveness? Will Intel® Optane™ memory make my PC feel faster? System acceleration refers to the effect that Intel® Optane™ memory has on a computer. 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 a brand-new technology. It's 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 3D XPoint™ 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.
Are there any differences between Intel® Optane™ memory module (Desktop platform supported only) and Intel® Optane™ memory M10 (Desktop and Mobile platform support)?

For 7th and 8th Gen Intel® Core™-i mobile platforms, you need the Intel® Optane™ memory M10 modules, with the Intel® Rapid Storage Technology 15.9 or later driver. The new M10 modules improve power management support, allowing mobile designs to use this technology. This technology (M10 module) can be used in either Desktop or Mobile Intel® Optane™ memory enabled platforms.

What is the difference between Intel® Optane™ memory and DRAM? Does it replace DRAM?

Intel® Optane™ memory uses non-volatile 3D XPoint™ memory 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.

The SATA boot drive you're accelerating must contain:

  • GPT partition
  • 512B Sector format
  • Windows® 10 64-bit operating system with at least 5 MB of continuous unallocated space at the end of the boot volume
Note
  • PCIe* NVMe* drives aren't supported for system acceleration
  • Secondary/Data drives are supported for system acceleration with software version 16.0.2.1086 or later only. For more information, see here.
  • A single SATA drive with multiple operating systems isn't supported with system acceleration. We don't recommend this use, and we don't guarantee results. See the full requirements in the User and Installation Guide.
  • Dual OS Boot systems--systems with more than one storage drive, each containing an OS--aren't supported and results can't be guaranteed.
What software do I need to install Intel® Optane memory and enable system acceleration?

The Intel® RST driver and Intel® Optane™ memory-supported user interface is required. Find more information.

Will there be Intel® Optane™ memory enabled laptops that are "Optane Ready" but do not include an Intel® Optane™ memory module at purchase--as was available for DT systems?

No, we aren't launching Intel® Optane™ memory "Ready" systems for mobile platforms. All Intel® Optane™ memory enabled laptops will come with the Intel® Optane™ memory module already installed in the system and system acceleration enabled

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.

The Statistics page in the Intel® Optane memory application states there's no information to provide, as I don't have a 32GB module installed. But I do, so why is this the case?

Statistics only appear once the first scheduled task migration is complete.

Note: Statistics will only show when accelerating a boot drive, the drive that contains the operating system.

To confirm the schedule or run manually, complete the steps below:

  • Press Windows button
  • Type Task Scheduler
  • Under Task Scheduler Library open Intel folder
What type of form factors do you offer for Intel® Optane memory?

Intel® Optane™ memory module comes in an B and M key, M.2 form factor that uses a PCIe NVMe* connection.

I have two modules. Can I use them both for system acceleration?

System acceleration is only supported with one module and one SATA drive. Additional modules in the system aren't supported for system acceleration.

What capacities is Intel® Optane memory offered in?

Intel Optane memory is available in 16GB and 32GB capacities. Intel® Optane™ memory M10 Series may be available in 64GB capacities as well, available in supported mobile platforms only. Check your favorite retailer for availability

Why would I need a module with capacity larger than 16GB?
  • The main difference between the higher capacity modules (greater than 16GB) is the number of applications and files they can accelerate.
    • The 16GB capacity is adequate for normal mainstream usage.
    • The higher capacity modules are necessary for power users who often use a variety of data-intensive applications such as prosumers and gamers.
  • Another difference would be features and capabilities. Modules that are at least 32GB provide support for Pinning (selecting specific files, folders, and applications to accelerate).
The capacity shown in the Windows* operating system for the Intel® Optane memory series module is less than what is noted on the box. Why is this? The operating system and related tools report a smaller capacity than you see on the box. The module uses a small portion of memory media management and maintenance. The listed density is the raw density of the 3D XPoint Memory Media. The total user capacity remains constant throughout the life of the drive.
Where can I find the NVMe* drivers for Intel® Optane memory?

Intel doesn't provide a vendor-unique NVMe driver for this series. System acceleration requires the Intel RST driver version 15.5 or later. If the drive isn't used for system acceleration, it's supported by the standard NVMe Microsoft in-box driver that comes with the Windows 10 operating system.

Can I use Intel® Optane memory in my current 6th Generation Intel® Core™ Processor-based system?

No, 6th Gen Intel® Core™ Processor-based systems don't support Intel® Optane™ memory as a system acceleration solution.

I have a 7th Gen Intel® Core™ -i laptop now. Will there be a BIOS update available so I can add the Intel® Optane™ memory M10 Series module to it and get System Acceleration?

No. Intel® Optane™ memory must be enabled and configured by the notebook OEM at the factory. The Intel® Optane™ memory ready program isn't available for notebooks, and there's no support for end-user upgrade and configuration.

I already have my memory banks/slots full, do I have to replace DRAM with Intel® Optane™ memory?

No, Intel® Optane™ memory comes in the M.2 form factor and doesn't replace the DIMM/DRAM memory slots. As such, it doesn't impact the current DRAM that you have in place.

I want to set RAID up on my system. Can I accelerate these RAID volumes with Intel® Optane memory?

Intel® Optane™ memory can't accelerate a RAID volume. An Intel® Optane™ memory volume can reside in the same system as a RAID volume.

Note In a system with this configuration, we recommend using the Intel® RST application to manage your RAID volume and Intel® Optane™ memory volume.

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.

Is TRIM, or Optimize, still useful in optimizing my Intel® Optane memory module or volume?

TRIM, or Optimize, isn't necessary because of the Intel® Optane™ memory module architecture. If you use a SATA NAND SSD with the Intel Optane memory module for system acceleration, Intel® RST driver manages it for best performance.

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.

Why does it take a long time to enable Intel® Optane memory modules that are higher capacity than 16GB?

The higher capacity modules are larger, so the enabling process may take longer. The process optimizes your system for Intel® Optane™ memory to ensure the best possible experience. The higher capacity modules allow more accelerated applications. It's ideal for power users who use a variety of data-intensive applications, such as prosumers and gamers.

I typically run defrag on my HDD to optimize performance. Can I still defragment once it's accelerated with Intel® Optane memory?

Once you enable Intel® Optane™ memory, both Intel® Optane™ memory and the accelerated SATA drive appear as one SSD volume to the operating system. As a result, the options for defrag aren't available.

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 SATA disk during available system idle periods.

Is it alright to run the Disk Cleanup on my Intel® Optane memory volume?

Yes, you can clean unnecessary files with Disk Cleanup. Right-click accelerated boot drive > Properties > Disk Cleanup.

Will Intel® Optane memory also accelerate an SSD? If so how much? Yes. You can get Intel® Optane™ memory to accelerate any type of SATA-based storage media, including SATA SSDs. However, performance benefits of adding Intel® Optane™ memory are greater on slower storage devices like an HDD, versus a faster storage device like a SATA-SSD.

Operating System

What operating systems does Intel® Optane memory support when used for system acceleration?

Intel® Optane™ memory requires Windows 10 64-bit to be used as a system accelerator.

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

No, the accelerated SATA drive must be running Windows 10 64-bit.

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 SATA-based drive.

Other Questions

Can I use the Intel® Optane memory module as a standalone boot or data drive instead of system acceleration?

You may use Intel® Optane™ memory as a standalone NVMe* SSD. However, we don't support this configuration.

Can I disconnect my SATA drive 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.

If I enable, then remove the Intel® Optane memory module from my system, does another OS see the associated SATA disk as a data drive?

No, the Intel® RST driver sees the volume is separated. It's placed offline and an OS on another disk in the system doesn't see it.

I use the Intel® Optane memory module for data. Can I enable system acceleration?

When enabling for system acceleration, all data on the Intel® Optane™ memory module is erased. We recommend you back up all data on the Intel® Optane™ memory module before you enable system acceleration.

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

When you create an Intel® Optane™ memory volume, the SATA disk and 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 SATA disk.

I have a SATA SSD that supports Opal Security*. Does this security still function when enabled with Intel® Optane memory?

No, Opal Security* isn't supported with Intel® Optane™ memory.

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

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

Note Enabling software encryption has an impact on system performance.
How do I know if my system contains an Intel® Optane memory module? How do I determine if it's enabled?

Within the OS, you can check the current disks in your system multiple ways:

  1. Open the notification area menu on your desktop. Hover over the Intel® Optane™ memory notification area icon. If Intel® Optane™ memory is enabled, you see a balloon message indicating it's enabled.
  2. Check in the Device Manager as noted below.

See How to Determine System Acceleration with Intel Optane memory is Active for more information.

I typically remove drivers by uninstalling through the Device Manager. Is it alright to uninstall the Intel® Rapid Storage Technology (Intel® RST) driver this way with Intel® Optane memory volume enabled?

No. Once the Intel® Optane™ memory volume is enabled, the Intel® RST driver is required. If you uninstall this driver without disabling the volume first, loss of data could occur.

How do I update the firmware for my Intel® Optane memory module?

Multiple tools are available to update the firmware of your module. See the available firmware page for more information. Firmware update is supported in system acceleration mode and as a standalone drive.

Related topics
What Software Enables System Acceleration with Intel® Optane™ Memory?
Intel® Optane™ Memory Software and Downloads
Intel® Optane™ Memory Availability and Performance
More Information on Intel® Optane™ Memory