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Intel Smart Response Technology: SSD Caching on Z68 Tested

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Intel

Conclusion, Pricing, and Final Thoughts

Conclusion

So threre we have it. Take a Z68, a HDD, and a small / cheap SSD. Roll them all together with some switches flipped in the RST GUI, and you have a system with the OS installed on a large HDD that can dish out performance surprisingly close to that of a system installed directly to Solid State.

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Pricing

Rumor has it that the 2.5" form factor SSD 311 20GB will be available for $110. That's a fair cut considering the controller is more advanced and the old X25-E 32GB still pushes close to $400.

Final Thoughts

Ryan awarded the Z68 solution his Editor's Choice. I'm going to match his with one from the Storage Editor. I'm not only awarding for the Z68 - I'm awarding for the potential of the dynamic duo of storage goodness that it enables. The Z68 / SSD 311 combination is what hybrid hard disk drives should have been from the start, with the added bonus of being able to mate it with whichever spinning disk the user wants.

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May 11, 2011 | 06:28 AM - Posted by drexeltim (not verified)

Great Article.

Allyn, is there any reason this wouldn't work using one of OCZ's PCIE Revo Drives?

May 11, 2011 | 08:39 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

It has to be a SATA SSD connected to the Z68.

May 11, 2011 | 07:33 AM - Posted by Subsailor

Awesome job Allyn, thank you.

May 12, 2011 | 01:09 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Allyn, can a RAID 1+0 configuration (4HDD) be used together with the SSD Caching ? OR 2HDD in RAID 1 with th SSD Caching?

May 14, 2011 | 08:21 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Yes. From the Intel docs:
Intel® Smart Response Technology only support 1 HDD + 1 SSD or 1 RAID Partition + 1 SSD combination.

I'd put the RAID 10 on the 4 SATA 3Gb/sec ports, for consistency.

May 19, 2011 | 06:02 AM - Posted by Bernie (not verified)

Hi Allyn,
I have just installed my OCZ 64GB SSD and am using a Hitachi 1TB HD. All is working well, but I would like to know if other factors (normally used on SSDs alone) need to be addressed here too?

Some of these factors are: Sector Alignment, turning off Defrag, No Pagefile, etc.

Thanks,
Bernie

July 25, 2011 | 11:39 PM - Posted by lynnandmike (not verified)

Allyn,
I noticed the Intel 310 40 Gig SSD on the HW leader-board. It looks like this drive is more for Notebooks vs, desktops where size and low power isn't as critical. Any idea why we should select this vs. something designed more for Desktops? I want to use this drive on a Z68 MB as a SMART scratch drive. What do you recommend for around $100?

Looking at getting most or all of items on High-end HW Leader Board.
Thanks,
Mike

October 10, 2011 | 08:28 PM - Posted by Undermoose (not verified)

Sandy Bridge motherboards have UEFI support (not sure if all of them have it).

What I did was create a single volume 4 x 2tb raid 10 array, C & D partitions, installed Windows 7 with EFI boot on the GPT disk.

Walla Sandy Bridge Raid 10 boot with 60gb SSD caching both partitions on the single volume.

January 7, 2012 | 02:59 AM - Posted by Sean (not verified)

Seems to be an excellent performance boost with older slower drives, but suppose you use a 60GB SSD cache, a 120GB SSD drive for apps, and a larger SATA 3 for data?

Would this be a waste of hardware?

What if the smaller drive used as a cache read/writes at about 250 Mbps and the larger SSD for apps writes at around 500?

Would one be better off leaving the cache out of the mix?

Thanks in advance!

March 18, 2013 | 10:44 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Quick questions:

1) what is faster, 2x HDD 7200Rpm in RAID or 1 HDD + small SSD for caching?

2) would a combination of 2x HDD 7200RPM in RAID + small SSD caching both be as fast as 2x SSD in RAID?

June 5, 2013 | 04:20 AM - Posted by antimo (not verified)

sorry, how can io access the option rom menu? generally it's "ctrl+i" but not on my laptop. thanks.

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