Help Me Choose: Memory

Memory is the temporary storehouse for data flowing to and from your PC's processor.

Before you decide how much memory to add to your new computer, first consider how you plan to use your computer. If you’ll primarily be sending email and browsing the internet, then a basic memory configuration will work. But if you’ll be playing games, working with multimedia or performing other intensive tasks, you should consider adding more memory.

You will see several types of memory listed: For example:

  • DDR4/ DDR3 / DDR2 – used for high speed and efficiency, especially in gaming
  • DRAM – memory used that game data can be constantly accessed
  • RAM – work area to quickly access instead of hard drives

While they are basically the same, they are some slight differences to help you take full advantage of your application.

At a minimum, you will want at least 4GB of RAM or DRAM to run modern gaming applications. However, as a general rule of thumb, 8GB of (D)RAM is recommended to avoid any performance or speed-related issues. Some gamers may find the need for up to 16GB of RAM, though for most, this will be unnecessary.

All else being equal, a system with more memory can:

  • Deliver faster performance on games, web sites, applications, etc.
  • Load games faster
  • Open larger files quicker
  • Work with more open applications simultaneously

Some systems allow you to add Intel® Optane™ memory, which is a system acceleration solution for the 7th Gen and 8th Gen Intel® Core™ processor platforms. This solution comes in a module format and by placing this new memory media between the processor and a slower SATA-based storage devices:

  • Hard Disk Drives ( HDD)
  • Solid State Hard Drives ( SSHD)

This method allows the systems to access this information more quickly and improve overall system performance.

Mixing DRAM with Intel® Optane™ memory delivers better performance and cost. For example:

  • 4 GB DRAM + 16GB Intel® Optane™ memory delivers better performance and cost than just 8GB DRAM.


Requirements for Optane™: 7th or 8th Gen Intel® Core™ processor platforms with 7th or 8th Gen Intel Core™ Processors.

Memory modules should be installed in pairs of matched sizes, speed and technology. Pairs of matched memory size are also referred to as dual-channel configurations, which yield the highest performance. If the memory modules are not installed in matched pairs, the computer will continue to operate, but with a slight reduction in performance.

If you primarily need your computer for:Consider this much memory:
Acceptable performance with office productivity applications & basic apps –
  • Internet
  • eMail
  • Social Networking
  • Streaming music and videos
  • Office tasks
4 GB + 16GB Intel® Optane™
  • Working with large databases
  • Complex photo editing
  • High-definition (HD) video editing
12GB DRAM or
8 DRAM GB + 16GB Intel® Optane™
  • High end PC gaming
  • Graphics design
16GB DRAM or
16 DRAM GB + 32GB Intel® Optane™
Compare Intel® Optane™ memory vs. DRAM20GB of memory (16GB Intel® Optane™ memory + 4GB DRAM) delivers better performance and cost vs. 8GB DRAM
For High Capacity StorageIntel® Optane™ memory offers best of both worlds: high speed acceleration and affordable storage capacity.


What is a DIMM?
A DIMM — or dual in-line memory module — is a series of random access memory chips mounted on a small circuit board. DIMMs are installed in sockets on your computer's motherboard.

What does DDR4 SDRAM mean?
DDR4SDRAM stands for “double data rate type four synchronous dynamic random access memory.” Using DDR4SDRAM helps you switch between applications, open documents and complete daily tasks faster.

Why would I need triple-channel memory?
A powerful processor only allows applications to run as fast as the computer’s memory capacity allows. If memory can’t keep up with the processor, then the processor ends up with nothing to process. With multichannel memory, each available memory channel duplicates the overall amount of available memory bandwidth. This allows the memory load to be evenly distributed between available channels, which in turn means higher processing speed. Triple-channel memory is the latest advance in multichannel memory, and as the graphics and processing demands of games and business applications continue to increase, triple-channel memory will be a vital component in a top-notch computing experience.

What does "MHz" mean?
The speed of the memory you purchase or add to your computer is measured in megahertz. The higher the number usually represents the faster speed of the machine. By upgrading your memory speed, you will also be preparing your computer to handle future memory-intensive games.
Intel® Optane™ Memory:

For configurations supporting Intel® Optane™ memory.

Intel® Optane™ memory is a system acceleration solution that is paired with slower storage devices such as SATA HDD/SSDs to accelerate performance to near PCIe/NVMe Solid State Drive levels. The most-used files will be stored in Intel® Optane™ memory for faster access using the smart adaptive SW to improve overall system performance. The hard drive and Intel® Optane™ memory will be seen as one drive volume, allowing it to be used just a like a standard drive. Adding 16GB of Intel® Optane™ memory to a system with a 1TB HDD and 4GB DDR delivers better responsiveness than a system with a 1TB HDD and 8GB DDR w/o Intel® Optane™ memory.

Requirements for Optane™: 7th or 8th Gen Intel® Core™ processor platforms with 7th or 8th Gen Intel® Core™ Processors and Intel® Rapid Storage Technology (Intel® RST) driver (factory installed by default when Intel® Optane™ is purchased).

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is Intel® Optane™ memory, how does it work and how do I benefit?

Intel® Optane™ memory is a system acceleration solution for the 7th Gen and 8th Gen Intel® Core™ processor platforms. This solution comes in a module format and by placing this new memory media between the processor and a slower SATA-based storage devices ( HDD, SSHD or SATA SSD), you are able to store commonly used data and programs closer to the processor, allowing the systems to access this information more quickly and improve overall system performance.

Intel® Optane™ Memory provides SSD-like responsiveness for systems that only have a traditional hard drive.

Intel® Optane™ technology is a perfect solution for gamers looking for SSD like performance at a fraction of the cost.

Which systems are Intel® Optane-ready?

Alienware notebooks and the Alienware Aurora support M.2 based Intel® Optane™ technology options in 16GB and 32GB options.

What is the difference between Intel® Optane™ memory and DRAM? Does it replace DRAM?

The Intel® Optane™ memory module does not replace DRAM. It can be, however, added to DRAM to increase system performance.

Will Intel® Optane™ memory also accelerate an SSD? If so how much?

Yes! Intel® Optane™ memory can be used to accelerate and type of SATA-based storage media, including SATA SSDs. However, the performance benefit of adding Intel® Optane™ memory will be greater on slower storage devices like an HDD.

Why should I choose Intel® Optane™ memory instead of simply using an SSD?

You have choices based upon your requirements. Typically, if you need high capacity storage, you will choose an HDD. SSDs are often lower in capacity and tend to be more expensive. Paired with a HDD, Intel® Optane™ memory delivers increased responsiveness of an SSD with the high capacity of an HDD.

Why would I need 32GB capacity instead of 16GB? What is the difference in performance?

The main difference between 32GB and 16GB is the number of applications that can be accelerated. The 32GB module is ideal for power users who often use a variety of intensive applications, such as prosumers and gamers. It is also recommended if you play more than one game at a time.

How many times do I need to launch and app or a file to get the full acceleration from Intel® Optane™ memory?

The second time an application or file is used, it is accelerated and you will experience a huge benefit. On the third launch is when the full effect of Intel® Optane™ memory kicks in. Note: Intel® Optane™ memory prioritizes frequently used applications and files thus, infrequently used files and applications will fall out of cache.

How many games can I accelerate with Intel® Optane™ memory?

There is no clear cut answer as to the number. This is highly dependent on the size of the game and architecture of the software you are using, as well as other software being used and the configuration of your platform.

If I use Intel® Optane™ memory with an HDD to accelerate my games, game launches and level loads become faster and close to that of an SSD experience, but what about the game play? Is the game play impacted?

Game play will not be that different between an SSD and an HDD based systems since the games are loaded into DRAM during play.