How to speed up your computer hard drives with Intel Optane Memory

We’ve written before about how to build your own gaming PC, but PC gamers also know the value of adding extras to their system to help speed things up and improve performance. This can include everything from upgrading and replacing your graphics card to swapping out your ageing CPU for a newer more powerful one. Storage is also often a logical thing to upgrade.

Adding a traditional platter-based hard drive to your system is a great way to loads of extra storage space. Prices of these hard drives are constantly falling as sizes increase. You can now get terabytes of space for surprisingly small amounts of money.

That said, these drives are often slower than SSD and NVMe drives that offer blistering performance and superior load speeds for your games, software and even operating systems. If you’re a fan of large storage options though, fret no more as this upgrade from Intel might be the answer to your prayers.

Pocket-lint

Intel Optane Memory accelerator module

This is the Intel Optane Memory accelerator module. Not to be confused with the company’s similarly named Intel Optane Memory SSD drives.

This simple little module is an optional upgrade you can add to your gaming machine (or standard desktop machine) that will help speed up the performance of your system by accelerating access times to standard hard drives. This makes them more responsive and gives speed boosts deliver better results. The company claims you can see increases of up to 14 times faster access times, twice as much responsiveness and an overall system performance increase of up to 28 per cent.

In practice, that means faster boot times, more responsive web browsing and improved gaming performance. Intel Optane memory is also a smart system that adjusts to the way you work or play. It uses intelligent software that automatically learns your habits to accelerate frequent tasks and enhance your experience accordingly.

There are several highlights to this system. Firstly, it’s cheap – a 32GB module is just GBP48/£62 with a 16GB module available for less. Making it a cheap upgrade to add to your system to improve performance.

Secondly, it’s incredibly easy to install.

How to add the upgrade to your system

Firstly, you need to check the Intel Optane Memory module will work with your machine. The minimum system specifications include:

  • Seventh generation Intel Core processor or newer
  • Intel Optane memory ready motherboard
  • Intell 200 series chipset
  • Windows 10 64-bit
  • Spare M.2 slot on your motherboard

If you tick all those boxes then the rest is easy. The module installs in the same way as any standard M.2 drive.

Pocket-lintHow to speed up your computer hard drives with Intel Optane Memory

First, unplug your machine from the mains power supply and wear an anti-static wrist strap during the installation process to avoid frying any important components with static electricity.

Then all you need to do is find a spare M.2 slot on your motherboard and slot the Intel Optane Memory drive into it before screwing it down. You can find these by referring to your motherboard manual or looking for the markings on the motherboard itself. Most modern motherboards will have at least two of these slots.

In our gaming build, we used one for an NVMe SSD as the boot drive and the other for the Intel Optane Memory accelerator. This installation process is a breeze as there are no extra SATA cables or power leads to worry about, so it’s a plug and play affair.

How to speed up your computer hard drives with Intel Optane Memory

Setting up the software

Once the module is installed and you’ve plugged your machine back in, boot into windows and download the Intel Optane Memory software. Once that’s loaded you can then choose the hard drive you wish to speed up.

A couple of reboots later and you can start to enjoy the glorious boosts in performance that come with it.

1/9Pocket-lint

How to add M.2 drives when you don’t have any spare slots

If you’re all out of space on your motherboard for M.2 drives, then we have more good news. You can purchase adapters that allow you to install M.2 drives in your PCIeX4 slot. This gives you the option to add more NVMe SSD drives to your machine with ease or to install an Intel Optane Memory module where you don’t have a spare M.2 slot.

We’d recommend checking your motherboared supports this sort of upgrade before you attempt this though.

Pocket-lintHow to speed up your computer hard drives with Intel Optane Memory

It’s a really simple install process too. This adapter allows you to plug your M.2 drive into it and screw it down as you would when attaching it to your motherboard. You then simply need to find an empty PCIeX4 slot on your motherboard:

Pocket-lintHow to speed up your computer hard drives with Intel Optane Memory

As with the M.2 drives, you can find where these are located via your motherboard manual, the manufacturer’s website or via markings on the motherboard itself.

Unscrew the thumbscrew on the rear of your machine, remove the backplate, install the new PCIe adapter, then replace the screw to secure it in place.

Once that’s done it’s as simple as booting into Windows and using Windows Disk Management to detect and set up the drive (in the case of an NVMe drive – formatting and assigning a drive letter).

Install your games and favourite software on that drive and reap the benefits of the glorious speed boosts.

INTEL Optane™ 900P Series SSD - 480 GBINTEL Optane™ 900P Series SSD - 480 GB - More Info

Intel Core I9-7920X 2.90Ghz ProcessorIntel CORE I9-7920X 2.90GHZ Processor Intel® Core¿ X-series Extreme Performance - Ultimate performance and extreme mega-tasking, Scalable from Intel® Core¿ i5 through Core¿ i9 Extreme Edition with Up to 4 memory channels and Up to 68 platform PCIe3.0 lanes. Unlocked (Overclockable) Intel Optane Memory Ready Ultimate performance and extreme mega-tasking Up to 4 memory channels Up to 68 platform PCIe3.0 lanes A range of unlocked K SKU processors Up to 40 platform PCIe3.0 lanes Height: 37.5 MM Width: 37.5 MM - More Info - EAN: 0503203710766

Intel Core I9-7920X 2.90Ghz ProcessorIntel CORE I9-7920X 2.90GHZ Processor Intel® Core¿ X-series Extreme Performance - Ultimate performance and extreme mega-tasking, Scalable from Intel® Core¿ i5 through Core¿ i9 Extreme Edition with Up to 4 memory channels and Up to 68 platform PCIe3.0 lanes. Unlocked (Overclockable) Intel Optane Memory Ready Ultimate performance and extreme mega-tasking Up to 4 memory channels Up to 68 platform PCIe3.0 lanes A range of unlocked K SKU processors Up to 40 platform PCIe3.0 lanes Height: 37.5 MM Width: 37.5 MM - More Info - EAN: 0503203710766

Intel Core I9-7960X 2.80Ghz ProcessorIntel CORE i9-7960X 2.80GHZ Processor Intel® Core¿ X-series Extreme Performance - Ultimate performance and extreme mega-tasking, Scalable from Intel® Core¿ i5 through Core¿ i9 Extreme Edition with Up to 4 memory channels and Up to 68 platform PCIe3.0 lanes. Unlocked (Overclockable) Intel Optane Memory Ready Ultimate performance and extreme mega-tasking Up to 4 memory channels Up to 68 platform PCIe3.0 lanes Scalable from Intel® Core™ i5 through Core™ i9 Extreme Edition Height: 37.5 MM Width: 37.5 MM - More Info - EAN: 0735858356435

Intel Core I9-7940X 3.10Ghz ProcessorIntel CORE i9-7940X 3.10GHZ Processor Intel® Core¿ X-series Extreme Performance - Ultimate performance and extreme mega-tasking, Scalable from Intel® Core¿ i5 through Core¿ i9 Extreme Edition with Up to 4 memory channels and Up to 68 platform PCIe3.0 lanes. Unlocked (Overclockable) Intel Optane Memory Ready Ultimate performance and extreme mega-tasking Up to 4 memory channels Up to 68 platform PCIe3.0 lanes Scalable from Intel® Core™ i5 through Core™ i9 Extreme Edition Height: 37.5 MM Width: 37.5 MM - More Info - EAN: 0735858356367

You may also like...

       
Apps & Games Clothing Electronics & Photo Large Appliances
Baby Womens Apparel Garden Lighting
Beauty Mens Apparel Outdoors Luggage
Books Girls Apparel Health & Personal Care Pet Supplies
Car Boys Apparel Home Shoes & Bags
Motorbike Computers & Accessories Kitchen Equipment Sports & Outdoors
Fashion DIY & Tools Jewellery Toys & Games