Intel Optane Memory vs RAM

With the advent of new technology in today’s day and date, every device released in the digital market today is looked at for one feature as one of the primaries by the general consumer forum- the memory of the device.

The memory of any device translates to the storage capabilities of said device, as to what extent it can store data. We have traversed the line of the device memory from a large and inconvenient floppy disc capable of storing very little information to a small pen drive having storage space of up to 2TB, the size of an infant’s fingers. So what is the latest trend in the market in terms of device memory and storage, and how is it better than what came before?

What is RAM?

RAM stands for Random Access Memory. It affects the overall working of the device, making it more efficient to recall and process data. 

How does RAM work?

While the operating system is starting up, BIOS loads the data operations into the RAM from the hard drive disk to get the operating system running. Then the RAM reads the data while loading it into the system from its storage. If the RAM reads the data fast, the booting process quickens proportionally. 

Intel Optane Memory

What is Intel Optane Memory?

Intel Optane Memory is the latest and the most high-end memory feature released by Intel, capable of processing and storing huge amounts of data.

In addition to recent storage media bundled with the latest upgrades, Intel released into the market its Optane-powered Caching SSD called ‘Optane Memory.’ It garnered the attention of the users and manufacturers who build laptops, now with the Optane memory feature. 

How does Intel Optane Memory work?

Intel Optane Memory works on the principle of ‘least recently used’ to decide what gets stored in the cache memory. Data is initiated from the hard disk and replicated in the cache. If the cache detects a block of data that has not been accessed frequently for a long time, it deletes that data byte, freeing up space in the cache memory. 

Now, the Optane Memory goes directly to the cache, instead of the hard disk drive, to access the data, which leads to faster processes and operations by the user. 

Which is Faster – Intel Optane Memory or RAM?

Volatile memory is always faster than non-volatile memory because volatile memory has less data to process while loading into the OS. 

RAM is the first place accessed while the device boots up, and by the logic of volatility, RAM is faster than Intel Optane Memory. 

Optane Memory makes up for this by having an extremely high reading speed.

Difference between RAM and Intel Optane Memory

Intel Optane Memory Vs RAM

RAM and optane memory serve a complementary purpose but differ in their characteristics. 

For example, RAM is a bakery where you have all options of baked items under one roof. Still, Optane Memory is like the chocolate doughnut kept near the billing counter because it is a customer-favourite item. 

There are several differences between the both, in a variety of characteristic features:

Intel Optane MemoryRAM
Very high read speed (below 30 microseconds while running multiple operations simultaneously)Low read speed, cannot run operations parallelly.  
Non-volatile, save information even when the device is shut down.Volatile memory is erased as soon as the device shuts off.
The form factor of M.2SSDThe flat chip, with pins on the side, is large.
About 16 GB of cache memory for maximum cache file storage to provide quick access.No such feature here in RAM
Comparatively cheaper than RAMMore expensive
Has larger storage space (16-32 GB)Very less storage (1-8 GB)

Can Intel Optane Memory act as a Replacement for RAM?

The original purpose of Optane Memory was not to replace the RAM but to assist it in increased storage and efficient computer operation. It is like an extra SD card that people put in their phones to facilitate extra storage and in-built phone storage.

RAM is the prime-most storage of all the devices we use and is directly accessed by the device processor. Optane Memory is a secondary data storage device that goes through the primary hard disk to be accessed by the processor. 

Optane Memory is not directly linked to the processor and denies it is a worthy replacement for RAM.

Which is Better – RAM or Intel Optane Memory?

Optane memory, as discussed above, is a very high-end updated feature that comes in-built with the new-age Intel laptops. It is not used for conventional functioning and storage. In other words, using an optane memory for mundane, day-to-day tasks is a gross under-utilization of its capacity.

Intel Optane Memory is a step ahead of RAM. It acts as a connecting link between RAM and memory storage, enabling the user to access data faster and more efficiently. 


RAM and Intel Optane Memory make a bitter-sweet combination where you want to let go of one but cannot do that. 

Picking one of the two ultimately boils down to the user’s usage and storage priorities. For example, gamers and data scientists would require considerable storage for the large amounts of data their devices would handle. In comparison, household laptops and computers may not need that much space. 

If you want high-speed data access and processing, Intel Optane Memory is worth it. The user will experience a boosted performance in both speed and efficiency. RAM is limited but is equally bundled with perks and features. 

The consumer is king; at last, it boils down to their choice and requirement. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Intel Optane Memory work with mobile phones?

Unless programmed otherwise, Intel Optane memory works in the latest line of mobile devices. One has to chipset the platform that supports Optane memory and also supports a fully functioning BIOS.

Will Intel Optane Memory work for my system?

With the right programming and an OS that supports Optane Memory, it will work in any new line system released by Intel. 

Why is RAM so important?

RAM is important because it eliminates the need to “swap” programs. It is a volatile memory that clears up space on your storage every time you shut it down. This leads to faster reading and processing. 

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Dinesh is the founder of Sysprobs and written more than 400 articles. Enthusiast in Microsoft and cloud technologies with more than 15 years of IT experience.