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My Unusual setup - Using Intel SRT with a Non OS Hard drive

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August 5, 2013 10:56:01 PM

Hello, I just picked up a Dell XPS 8700 at Costco for $700. It was a pretty good deal since I plan to just use it for Lightroom/Photoshop/etc.. and don't care too much about gaming. It's a 3.4 i7-4700, 12GB RAM, Windows 8, & a 1TB 7200rpm drive. It's a great processor but the bottleneck is the hard drive.

I Ran the CrystalDiskMark benchmark on the 1TB drive and below are my results.

Seagate Barracuda 7200 rpm 1TB (ST1000DM003)
Sequential Read : 134.1 MB/s
Sequential Write : 129.4 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 27.75 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 61.82 MB/s
Random Read 4KB (QD=1) : 0.275 MB/s
Random Write 4KB (QD=1) : 0.979 MB/s
Random Read 4KB (QD=32) : 0.970 MB/s
Random Write 4KB (QD=32) : 0.876 MB/s

First upgrade I wanted to do was upgrade the Hard Drive to an SSD and use the 1TB as a secondary drive. I shoot photos in RAW so each file is about 25MB. A typical photoshoot is like 250-500 photo's or around 10Gigs on the camera's memory card. I figure I'll save and process the RAW files on the SSD drive, then delete the RAW files and save the processed jpegs into the secondary drive which I backup regularly.

I went with the Samsung 840 Pro, 256GB and below are the results.
Sequential Read : 509.8 MB/s
Sequential Write : 492.3 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 443.5 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 451.3 MB/s
Random Read 4KB (QD=1) : 29.56 MB/s
Random Write 4KB (QD=1) : 77.50 MB/s
Random Read 4KB (QD=32) : 383.3 MB/s
Random Write 4KB (QD=32) : 342.0 MB/s

I noticed I had an extra msata slot on the MB and was wondering how it would affect my workflow if I threw in an SSD for Caching my secondary drive. I searched on Google and I couldn't find anyone who has done it and most say it's pointless to do so. So I picked up a Crucial M4 32GB SSD to test out.

With SRT enabled to accelerate the 1TB secondary drive, below are the results.

Sequential Read : 387.6 MB/s
Sequential Write : 57.38 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 318.1 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 56.44 MB/s
Random Read 4KB (QD=1) : 20.73 MB/s
Random Write 4KB (QD=1) : 47.64 MB/s
Random Read 4KB (QD=32) : 247.9 MB/s
Random Write 4KB (QD=32) : 57.49 MB/s

The 1TB secondary drive seems more responsive and I can barely tell the difference from working with files from my OS SSD drive or files on my cached 7200rpm drive. I'm not sure but I think it's because when I save the 5-10GB of files into the secondary drive, those same files are stored in the Cache. So when I process them, it's pretty quick. I can live with the slower write speed since my memory stick from my camera is a Sandisk Extreme which reads/writes at around 45Mb/s max anyways when I save the files over.

So am I missing anything here? SSD Caching a non OS drive seems to work quite well and I'm wondering why hardly anyone is doing it....


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a b å Intel
August 6, 2013 4:57:11 PM

Thanks for an informative post.
It sounds like you have the ssd caching in enhanced mode which writes to the SSD and the HDD, hence the reduce write speed. In Maximized mode the writes would go to the caching SSD and the the writes to the HDD would occur 'later'. Enhanced mode is much more secure because in max mode if the ssd suddenly dies then data could be lost if it hadn't been written to the hdd yet.

Also, I'd like to suggest you backup your raw files to dvd/bdr and not just delete them when you're done. Sometimes they're nice to have when you want to try something and a jpg has lost to much 'information'.
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