Intel’s new Optane memory promises to supercharge your PC on the cheap

Intel’s new Optane memory promises to supercharge your PC on the cheap
Credit: Intel

One of the best ways to speed up load times for the OS and apps on your PC is to upgrade your storage to a solid-state drive. However, given the high cost of these components, most folks are usually left deciding between high speed with an SSD or high capacity with a standard (significantly cheaper) spinning hard drive.

Intel believes it has a neat solution: its new Optane memory acts as a fast cache drive (essentially a bridge between your systems’s storage and DRAM) that can boost performance by storing data needed to run your frequently used apps and games and making it more readily available to your PC than a traditional HDD.

The company says that you can expect it to reduce boot times by half and launch apps like Chrome up to five times faster; games and levels should also load about 65 percent faster than before. You’ll notice improvements from the second time you launch your OS and programs with the Optane module installed, as it needs a chance to cache files at least once before it can be effective.

That’s handy for people who prefer to stick with large hard drives for their storage needs. The Optane Memory modules fit into M.2 slots on supported desktop motherboards that work with Intel’s new 7th-gen Kaby Lake Core processors and will be available in 16GB and 32GB capacities for $44 and $77 respectively when they arrive in stores on April 24. The company notes that Optane-equipped systems from the likes of ASUS, Dell, HP and Lenovo will arrive in the second quarter of 2017.

But what if you’re already rocking an SSD? Intel says you’ll experience a slight bump in performance, but the Optane modules are really designed to assist standard HDD-equipped machines.

Read next: Let's hope we get along with robots as well as this kid and a water heater