Article Number: 000175253
Summary: "Frequently asked questions about the Intel Optane memory module and my Dell system."
Question: What is Intel Optane memory, and why is it called memory?
Answer: Intel Optane memory is a system acceleration solution for the 7th generation and 8th generation 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 device (HDD, SSH, or SATA SSD), you can store commonly used data and programs closer to the processor, allowing the systems to access this information more quickly and improves overall systems performance.
Question: Does Intel Optane memory replace DRAM?
Answer: The Intel Optane memory module does not replace DRAM or add any capacity to DRAM. It can be, however, added to DRAM to increase systems performance.
Question: Can I swap the Optane module or SATA drive with another module or drive?
Answer: Once an Optane module and a SATA drive are paired, drives are not interchangeable without unpairing the drives first. The paired set can be moved as a unit from one system to another like model system.
Question: How to I pair the Optane module and the SATA drive?
Answer: Optane modules can be paired and unpaired using the Intel Rapid Storage Technology or Optane version 15.5.xx.xxxx or higher user interface. You can also unpair the Optane module via the F12 menu, Device Configuration option, to access the Optane configuration pages of the BIOS.
Once in the Optane BIOS Setup, select "De-concantonate" to unpair the Optane module and the paired SATA drive.
Question: Can I clone and image of my paired drives?
Answer: When generationerating duplicate drives, make sure that the drive being duplicated is unpaired before beginning the imaging process.
Question: What happens if I try to boot the system with a paired and an unpaired device?
If a system is booted with one paired storage device and one unpaired device the computer will not cleanly boot to the operating system.
Question: What are the requirements for paring my SATA drive with an Optane module?
Question: I receive a 0xA001004C unknown error occurred while an operation was in progress message when I try to enable Optane in the Intel Rapid Storage Technology user interface. (See Figure 1.)
This error occurs when you try to enable Optane on a version of Windows 10 older the version 1607 (Redstone 1 RS1 also known as Anniversary Update.)
Figure 1. - 0xA001004C error message
Question: What are the benefits of Optane Memory?
Answer: Intel Optane is a large cache file location for your spindle type hard drive. Working in line with this hard drive, the Optane device will save and intercept file requests for the most often requested files on the system. Typically, this would be Windows kernel files but, will also save things like Microsoft Office, Quicken, and other application information and drivers.
When the system requests information from the hard drive, it requests it by an address, this information is passed along the chain to the Optane drive and if the Optane has the requested information, it will serve it up as requested allowing the hard drive additional time to work on what is next in line. Also, when writing files to the disk, they will go to the Optane drive and will stay in a buffer state, allowing the hard drive to write the information when timing is better. If a file is being written and a read request comes along, the hard drive will simply stop writing, read the requested data and the continue with the write when possible. Since one of the largest performance impacts on a spindle drive is the seek time, this caching process eliminates some of the largest performance hits by allowing the hard drive to skip reading some info and allowing more time to write the information to the disk.
Optane drives are like Hybrid hard drives in that they will have a spindle hard drive with an associated flash memory card. The included flash memory is faster than the hard drive but, still on the controller's hard drive management bus. The Optane drive is larger, and faster as it has direct access to the processor as it is mounted on the motherboard.
While this may seem like a minimal gain, this technology was designed for medium and large businesses.
With a large lot of systems is being purchased, this allows them to select a larger spindle drive paired with Optane memory at a much lower cost, allowing for Hybrid Hard Drive like performance, without the additional cost. Since the Optane drive is a smaller higher performance option with a long lifespan, the hard drive can even be replaced with another spindle drive and an operating system reinstallation can be completed and use the Optane acceleration on the replacement spindle drive.
This method of deployment allows a larger order to save thousands while maintaining higher performance and versatility on the devices allow for better productivity from the systems.
Performance test information below (Figure 2) demonstrates systems where with Optane removed and just the spindle hard drive is tested, and the same system with the Optane enabled.
This performance gain is seen most after some wear in time. The Optane drive will identify files being requested and will cache them to the Optane drive after 2 to 3 reboots with an operating system load in between. On a factory imaged system with Optane installed and enabled, you must allow the system to be used for a few days to allow the Optane acceleration to become effective by evaluating the hard drive data requests and allowing the algorithms to determine the file requests that are most likely to be repeated allowing for acceleration of those requests.
Question: Can I run defrag on a hard drive that is paired with an Intel Optane drive?
Answer: The option will be grayed out, and you cannot run defrag. This is working as intended per Intel.
If you have further questions about this article, please contact Dell Technical Support.
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21 Feb 2021