Intel Optane

Intel Optane Explained in the Simplest Way Possible

Intel Optane Explained in the Simplest Way Possible

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  • Post last modified:March 2, 2023
  • Post category:Tech
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  • Reading time:10 mins read
Intel Optane

Storage technologies have evolved over the years from chunky and slow mechanical hard drives to fast SSDs which come in different form factors. For example we have a small and compact M.2 NVME SSD to a bigger SATA SSD.

If you have been on the search for a brand new PC or you have just been reading reviews on certain Intel PCs you may have come across the Term Intel Optane. In this article we are going to break down what Intel Optane is and how it works. We are also going to discuss it’s pros and cons and finally if you should get a PC that has Intel Optane.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can Intel Optane replace RAM? Short answer, no.
  • Can Intel Optane replace Hard Drives? NO, It’s just a compliment.
  • How can I know if my PC has Intel Optane? Simply head to your BIOS and look for Optane configuration.
  • Can Intel Optane boost my laptop’s speed? Yes, if you have an old spinning mechanical drive, but if you have a fast SSD it may not be that much of an improvement.
  • Which form factor does Intel Optane come in? It varies but in Laptops it comes in an M.2 NVME form factor.
  • Does Intel Optane use NAND technology? NO, it doesn’t instead it uses a different kind of technology developed by intel known as 3DX point.

What is Intel Optane and how does it work?

Intel Optane

Intel Optane is a relatively new technology that was announced by Intel in 2015. Intel Optane is basically a cache memory that aims to bridge the gap between your RAM and HDD or SSD. This technology is by no means trying to replace the RAM or the storage of your PC. It is only there to complement them by boosting your PCs speed in almost every aspect from boot up times all the way to gaming.

Contrary to NAND, which flash memory such as SSDs use, Intel Optane uses aa completely different kind of technology known as 3DX Points. (The ‘X’ is pronounced as cross rather than X) It basically learns the programs that you frequently use and stores them even after you power off your PC for enhanced speeds when you want to open them. These programs may be the documents that you frequently open to videos, photos and even applications.

Intel Optane 3DX technology

The main difference between RAM and Intel Optane is that RAM is basically a volatile memory while Optane is a Non Volatile memory. The difference is that Volatile memory needs a constant supply of power to run and once the power is out the files stores on the memory are erased hence RAM is a temporary, Volatile storage.

On the other hand, Intel Optane is Non volatile meaning that even when power is out the information stored on the memory stays intact. However, not all PCs are compatible with this kind of technology.

The following are the requirements for Intel Optane to work on your PC

  • Your motherboard must have an Intel 200 series chipset or newer.
  • Your PC must be a 7th Generation Intel Kaby lake or newer.
  • You must have Windows® 10 X64 installed.

The 3DX point technology that we discussed about earlier is simply based on non volatile memory which allows data to be stored and saved much faster as compared to what traditional computer architecture can offer.

Still sounds complicated, lets break it down even further

Imagine you make Chicken for supper every Saturday. Consider the following below;

  • The processor – Consider it to be the cook.
  • The data – Consider it to be the ingredients needed to make the chicken.
  • RAM – consider it to be the working surface that you need.
  • Hard drive or SSD – Consider it to be the store that you need to get the chicken and ingredients.

Lets say these are the basic components needed to make the chicken for your supper. After buying everything and you are now ready to make your tasty supper you notice that you have forgotten the oil for frying the chicken.

It is now inevitable that you have to go back to the store and buy the frying oil which is not only tedious but also time consuming. This is where Intel Optane comes in. Consider it to be your assistant that always has ingredient ready at the right time when needed. Intel Optane basically learns all your activities including the folders and applications that you frequently open and stores them for faster retrieval when needed. In this situation, the Intel Optane will bridge the gap between the shop and your kitchen by creating a pantry and filling it with the right ingredients so that you never lack a single ingredient.

In contrast, if you add more RAM which is the countertop here, you only extend your working space which is not only more expensive but also cannot store more ingredients.

Hope this easy-to-understand illustration has enabled you to understand how Intel Optane works in the simplest manner possible.

I also wanted to point out that you should expect a performance increase in the following areas;

  • Powering on your PC hence boot up times.
  • Searching and finding your files on your PCs.
  • Transferring large files.
  • Launching applications
  • Loading times in Games are reduced

Pros of Intel Optane

  • It bridges the Gap between Your hard drive and RAM hence boosting the overall performance of your PC.
  • It is Non Volatile meaning that data is not erased from it when you switch off your PC.
  • It has low latency speeds.
  • It is relatively cheap as compared to adding an SSD.

Cons of Intel Optane

  • Only supports 7TH Gen intel processors or newer.
  • Only supports Motherboards with Intel 200 series chipset or newer.
  • Only Supports Windows 10
  • It is not compatible with AMD CPUs.


Windows logo

This technology is technically very impressive and If you have an older machine with the mechanical spinning hard drive you will definitely notice an overall improvement in performance and speeds. In fact this is one of the simplest and relatively cheapest ways to improve your Intel PC’s performance if you cannot afford a more expensive M.2 NVME SSD. If it seems impressive you can give it a shot especially if you have a mechanical hard drive.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Carson Anekeya

    Great insight. well explained. Thanks for sharing.

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