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What Is Intel Optane? Buying guide [2021]

Is Intel Optane even worth it in the current year? This is the ultimate guide explaining the advantages of Intel Optane and if it is right for you.



Intel Optane is a proprietary Intel technology that uses the CPU and NVM storage to improve HDD performance by caching important information.

In virtually every aspect, the PC hardware landscape has changed drastically over the past decade. Despite the fact that CPUs and GPUs Liquid VS Air CPU Coolers Comparative Guide tend to get the most attention, we should not overlook the fact that storage solutions have changed and improved greatly in the past few years.

Hard disk drives once served as the only viable option for long-term storage in desktop PCs, but solid-state drives started displacing them quickly after they entered the mainstream market, and they are more accessible now than ever before.

However, there is another name in storage that is often overlooked these days: Intel Optane. What is this technology, what does it do, and is it worth buying for a gaming PC in 2021?

In the article below, we’ll answer that question.

Intel Optane – What Is It?


Let’s start with the basics – what actually is Intel Optane?

Intel introduced Optane as a proprietary technology in 2017, originally known as 3D XPoint before being rebranded as Optane. It was designed to bridge the gap between HDDs and SSDs.

And how was it going to do so?

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Optane is a technology that combines the CPU with NVM memory to boost your HDD’s performance and optimize your user experience by tracking which files and functions you most commonly access.

As a kind of extended cache for your HDD, Optane uses fast memory chips to store important data you’d need to access quickly, faster than your HDD could manage. The result is that you get the high capacity and low price of an HDD combined with the high speed of an SSD.

Is Optane Worth It In 2021?

intel tested

In short, Intel Optane seems great on paper, but if you’re building a gaming PC today, you’ll have to ask: is Optane even worth getting?

Optane makes a good bridge between HDDs and SSDs, but it’s not as appealing to gamers in 2021. What is the reason? We’ve already mentioned the reason in the introduction: SSDs are much more accessible than ever before.

When Intel Optane first hit the market, the price-to-gigabyte gap between SSDs and HDDs was much greater than it is today. So if you wanted an SSD for your gaming system, you either had to spend a lot of money on a high-capacity SSD, or go for a smaller SSD at a more approachable price point and use an HDD to store most of your data.

Therefore, many gaming configurations utilized low-capacity SSDs for games and other frequently used data, while using higher-capacity HDDs for everything else. RTX 2070 Super – Read Before you Buy As a result, it’s easy to see why Optane might have been attractive back then, but since you can get a 1 TB SSD for around $100, it has been rendered outdated relatively quickly.

The term “obsolete” is used specifically in the context of gaming PCs. As long as Optane remains appealing for servers and workstations, a combination of Optane and an HDD may still be more cost-effective for their storage and performance needs.


And that would be about it for this article. Though Optane is far from dead, its relevance in gaming circles has been sadly short-lived, and the SSD remains king when it comes to storage for gaming PCs.

With all of the above in mind, if you’re thinking about expanding your PC’s storage capacity, we suggest taking a look at our and  buying guides, as they are bound to include something to fit your needs. And if you’re looking for something portable, then an  or might be a better fit instead!

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