Frequently Asked Questions for Intel® Optane™ Memory

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Product Information & Documentation

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06/15/2020

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.

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
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 Intel® Optane™ 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?

System acceleration requires a platform supported 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.

Note Note: Always check the platform support for your system with your system vendor and the Release Notes of the driver version
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.

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. When the volume is enabled, the 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.

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 drive appear as one SSD volume to the operating system. As a result, the options for defrag aren't available.  If you wish to defragment the HDD that is being accelerated you can disable accelerating with Intel® Optane™ memory, defragment the HDD, and re-enable acceleration as defined in the Intel® Optane™ memory installation guide

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.

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 to use the Intel® Rapid Storage Technology (Intel® RST) driver software. This enables the supported/validated method of using the Intel® Optane™ memory for acceleration of the most commonly used data. 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.

Questions Related to Various Usage Cases

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.

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

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

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.

I have an 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
  • 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