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what it is, what it is for and how it works on PC

Truth be told, the initial premise of Intel Optane technology has come to nothing. Initially the technology giant placed a lot of emphasis on the benefits it could bring, especially to low-end PCs, but the evolution of the market has made its existence not very meaningful and for Intel, Optane has become like a secondary brand of other products, also secondary. Let’s see it in detail.

What is Intel Optane and how does it work?

Physically, Intel Optane were about SSD in M.2 format very low capacity that served as cache of the system. As a general rule, the dedicated cache is usually used in high-performance and high-demand systems where thousands of simultaneous operations occur every second, and where it is more necessary to have a fast storage that is not volatile to be able to use the calculations already made by the processor without having to recalculate them.

One of the things to consider with regard to the cache is how often the computer needs to access it. In reality, a home PC will rarely need to access this type of memory because with the capacity and speed of current RAM, it has more than enough even when it comes to demanding tasks.

The fact is that in terms of performance, the idea of ​​Optane is to significantly reduce the access times to the system storage unit, that is, to the hard disk. The arrival of Optane came at the height of SSDs, which were shown to provide performance several integers above traditional mechanical hard drives, allowing the most used data to be stored in Optane memory to have a faster access to them.

What has happened to this technology today?

The result was that with a mechanical hard drive it was possible to significantly increase performance, not at the level of an SSD but expensive. But even with a SATA 3 interface SSD it is already recording a performance superior to that of Intel Optane, and since SSDs in M.2 format and with PCI-Express interface did not take long to arrive, the reality is that Intel Optane was destined failure.

Intel Optane Memory H10 - Review 1

In the middle of 2021, Intel still markets the Intel Optane memory in two variants: H10 with solid-state storage and M10, but as we have even told you, Intel itself specifies in the case of M10 memory that is designed to work with hard drives. mechanics with SATA interface, precisely because it is in this case that an improvement in performance is noticeable.

And here comes the crux of the matter, who uses a SATA mechanical hard drive as a system disk today? Virtually no one, and those who do, most likely do not have an Intel Optane compatible motherboard, because you do need the motherboard to be compatible with the technology for it to work.

In short, and answering the headline’s question, Intel Optane technology was a pretty good and promising approach to creating a dedicated cache on any PC in a way that speeds up data access time when using a slow hard drive, But with the rise of SSDs and their low access times, this technology stopped making sense and we could almost say that it died before being fully released on the market.