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.

How different they are and whether it is faster than solid state drives (SSDs). Here’s what you need to know about Intel Optane memory versus 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.

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

Related: SSD or HDD – Which is The Best For A Laptop?

Intel Optane memory is normally combined with HDDs in consumer laptops that increases performance to be as close as SSDs.

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 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.

First of all, it is not memory or a type of memory. Secondly, it can’t be used as a storage device with the exception of Optane SSDs which are very expensive.

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 and Disadvantages of Intel Optane Memory

Advantages

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 transfer 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 is faster 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.

Disadvantages

Very 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.

Related: Which Display Is Better For a Laptop – Matte or Glossy?

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.

Installation can be a pain

Although there are guidelines installation can be a pain because there still isn’t enough information about how to do it.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Solid State Drive

Advantages

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.

The Intel Optane memory has faster speeds their sizes are either not large enough to store files or the large ones are very expensive. They only make HDDs faster but not faster than SSDs.

Disadvantages

Expensive

To get the best SSDs in terms of performance and reliability you must be willing to break the bank to some extent especially the ones with a large capacity.

HDD Vs Intel Optane Vs SSD

Intel Optane Memory Vs Solid State Drives (SSDs)

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

Intel Optane Memory is a fairly new technology and a lot of improvements will have to be done. The installation as of now is a headache and you can use it to boost primary storage drives.

Related: The Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide: How To Find The Best Laptop

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

Nevertheless, they provide immerse benefits when combined with HDDs or if you acquire standalone large capacity optane SSDs.

The solid States, on the other hand, have been greatly improved over the years and are still being improved and larger capacity SSDs are much more budget friendly as compared to the Intel Optane memory.

It will be a good idea to wait a few years when the technology of the Intel Optane memory has been improved significantly.

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