Intel Optane Memory Vs SSD: Here’s The Truth

If you are shopping for a laptop you will definitely see a laptop that has Intel Optane Memory. What is it exactly?

In addition, there have been also a lot of discussion pertaining to the comparison between Intel Optane Memory and SSDs.

What’s is the difference between Intel Optane Memory and SSDs? And how do they affect the performance of your laptop?

Here’s what you need to know about Intel Optane Memory Vs SSDs.

What Is Intel Optane Memory?

Intel Optane memory is a memory technology created by Intel to speed up the system performance of a desktop or laptop. This is achieved by acting as a cache by storing the most frequently accessed data on it.

It is a non-volatile (data doesn’t disappear even when PC is shut down) type of memory module that acts as a bridge between storage and memory allowing for very fast data transfers between storage, memory and processor.

What Is Intel Optane Memory?

The responsiveness, boot times, launching of applications, and loading of games with respect to time are significantly reduced. Your PC becomes faster.

Intel Optane Memory is normally combined with HDDs in consumer laptops to try and achieve performance close to that of SSDs. Unfortunately, SSDs are still faster than HDD combines with Intel Optane Memory.

Intel Optane memory sticks come in 16 GB and 32 GB for the consumer market. Because it is somewhat a new technology it is only compatible with select motherboards that have 7th Generation Intel processors or higher.

For operating systems, Intel Optane memory is compatible with Windows and to some extent Linux. Mac OS won’t be able to experience the benefits of Intel Optane Memory technology.

There has been some confusion that Intel Optane Memory can be regarded as a type of memory or if it can be used for conventional storage.

Intel Optane Memory can’t be used as conventional storage. But, we have Intel Optane SSDs.

What Is A Solid State Drive?

Solid State Drives are currently the fastest type of storage option on the market. Solid state drives use flash memory to store data as opposed to Intel Optane Memory that uses cache to store data.

SSDs are quite popular because how they improve the performance of a desktop or laptop as a whole.

Having one will get you faster boot times, faster launching of applications, and less time loading games much similar to the benefits of Intel Optane memory.

Not all solid-state drives are equal. To mention a few there are 2.5″, mSATA, M.2 and PCI-E SSDs.

2.5" ssd
Samsung Solid State Drive

The 2.5″ SSD is the most familiar and affordable. Commonly found in desktops and laptops. They can be utilised as the sole storage of the system. The 2.5″ refers to its size.

samsung mSATA SSD
Samsung mSATA SSD

The mSATA or Mini-SATA is much smaller and has a bare circuit. It is used for netbooks, laptops, and small PCs.

samsung nvme m.2 ssd
Samsung NVMe M.2 SSD

The M.2 SSDs also have a bare circuit board. They come in various sizes and are both SATA and PCI-E variants. They support NVMe that provides increased performance.

pci-e ssd
PCI-E SSD


The PCI-E SSDs offer the best performance. They are called so because they make use of the PCI-E slot. Their performance is also limited to the speed of the PCI-E slot.

Advantages Of Intel Optane Memory

Having Intel Optane Memory in your PC comes with quite a number of benefits. Here are they.

Boosts System Performance

Since it is a bridge between your storage, memory and processor it is able to increase system performance by allowing fast data transfers between them.

Non-volatile

Even when shut down data stored on the Intel optane memory doesn’t get wiped away. This even makes things much faster since it needs to retrieve what is already there.

It Has Faster Read And Write Speeds Than SSDs

Intel optane memory is much faster write speeds than SSDs being able to transfer data up to 1.4 GB/s. This is for stand-alone Intel Optane Memories. And you should know by now Intel Optane are always combined with either SSDs or HDDs.

So even though they have faster read and write speeds. You won’t get to experience it to the fullest.

Disadvantages Of Intel Optane Memory

Although Intel Optane is an innovative was of making HDDs faster. There are some disadvantages that come with it.

Expensive

Intel optane memory on the average are more expensive than SSDs. A 32 GB Intel optane memory stick costs $42 whilst a 256 GB Silicon Power SSD costs $38. The 480 GB Intel Optane SSD costs a $549.

Compatibility

Intel Optane memory is only compatible with certain motherboards, laptops or desktops that have 7th Generation processors or newer and Windows operating system.

Power Consumption

Even when idle Intel Optane memory consumes power as low as 1W. Laptop users will be adversely affected by this because adding more power drain will not help battery life.

You Can Only Accelerate Your Primary Drive

If your HDD is not your primary drive and you want to accelerate its performance it is not possible. It can accelerate SSD though but the gains will not be high enough as compared to accelerating an HDD.

Advantages Of Solid State Drives (SSDs)

SSDs are so popular because of the numerous benefit they provide. Here are a few of them.

Inexpensive

When SSDs were fairly new on the market they were expensive. Now, you can get a 256 M.2 module for as low as $39.

Fast Speeds

Even though the read and write speeds are not as fast as Optane memory they still provide high write and read speeds especially the best type.

Faster Performance

Intel Optane memory modules are mostly combined with HDDs are greatly increase their performance and system performance as a whole. But this can’t be compared to a standalone SSD.

Stand-alone Intel Optane Memory are fast. But, since they are most at times combined with HDDs. It won’t be able to beat SSDs. This is not to say, Intel Optane are not combined with SSDs.

Intel Optane Memory and SSDs are faster than stand-alone SSDs.

Disadvantages Of Solid State Drives

Fortunately, SSDs only have one disadvantage.

Expensive

The fastest SSDs with the largest storage capacities are expensive. For example, 1TB PCIe NVME M.2 SSDs cost between USD 100 – 350.

You must be willing to break the bank if you want the best SSDs with large storage capacities. Because they are the fastest and most reliable storage devices.

Intel Optane Memory Vs SSD For Gaming

If you want faster game load times. You should get an SSD for gaming. But, if you already have an HDD adding an Intel Optane Memory will greatly reduce load times.

Also, adding Intel Optane Memory to SSDs will further improve the speed of the storage.

If you have the budget for it. Ideally, you should be combing Intel Optane Memory with an SSD. Otherwise, Intel Optane Memory combined with an HDD will do fine for gaming.

M.2 NVMe Vs SSD Vs Optane + HDD Vs HDD

Intel Optane Memory Vs Solid State Drives (SSDs) – Final Thoughts

You now know what Intel’s memory type – optane has its advantages and disadvantages.

Intel Optane Memory is still new technology and a lot of improvements are being made. The installation as of now is a headache. And you can use it to boost primary storage drives.

There is also the issue of it being compatible with 7th Generation or newer Intel Processors and certain motherboards.

SSD + Optane Vs SSD

Nevertheless, they provide immerse benefits when combined with HDDs. And even faster speeds when combined with SSDs.

The solid States, on the other hand, have been greatly improved over the years and are still being improved.

Overall, Intel Optane Memory is great if you want to improve the speed of your HDD or SSD.

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