If you’ve been following along with all of the new Intel platforms this year like Z370 and X299, you’ve probably heard buzzwords about support for Intel Optane Memory Technology, but what does that mean exactly? It means a lot of big words layered over some existing technologies and married with a little bit of new Intel magic. In English? Well, it means you can skip the big, expensive new NVMe drive, and use a slower but much larger hard drive or solid state drive you already have, and let Intel Optane make it much faster and more responsive.
At least, that’s the theory anyway. Accelerator technologies are nothing new, Intel’s own Smart Response Technology, and things like Microsoft’s Ready Boost have found ways to stick important data on something a bit faster for years now, so what’s so special about Optane? We already have tons of these new PCIe NVMe SSD drives on the market that claims Gigabytes per second of speed, right? Well yes and no. While they can move lots of data in a short period of time, they do it in parallel by having a mountain of commands thrown at them at the same time, called a high queue depth.
The problem in the real world is, how often do you do tons of things at one time? Do you open 32 programs at the same time? We sure don’t. Even if you are a power user and multi-tasking heavily, flash storage is so fast you really can’t load it up heavily. Most likely, your storage drive is only working on reading and/or writing one or maybe 2 things at any given time and this is where Intel’s 3D Xpoint (pronounced Cross-point) comes into play. It is designed to do those normal one or two operations, and do them VERY fast. When combined with a high capacity drive into a caching setup, this has the potential for noticeable real-world performance differences. How much of a difference could this make? That’s exactly what we want to find out.
ProClockers would like to thank Intel for sending us a new Optane module to check out!
Intel Optane Technology in laymen’s terms:
Intel’s take on Optane Memory:
Intel® Optane™ memory accelerates your system—delivering amazing speed and responsiveness without compromising system storage capacity. Together, Intel® Optane™ memory and a 7th Generation Intel® Core™ processor give you a snappy computer experience with short boot times, fast application launches, extraordinary gaming, and responsive browsing. Combine a large storage device with Intel® Optane™ memory for a responsive computer that keeps up with your most demanding applications.
Intel Optane technology is a unique combination of 3D Xpoint memory media with Intel’s advanced system memory controller, interface hardware, and software IP. This innovative technology is offered in several form factors to unleash vast system performance in a range of products.