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SSD Caching?

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May 31, 2011 12:20:56 AM

I bought a Crucial 64GB SSD Sata 6 for my new system I am building.

I am also going with a Z68 MoBo.

I have a quick question on SSD Caching, I understand that regular SSD is faster, but that SSD caching with a HDD is faster then regular HDD.

So, is it possible to partition the SSD into 2 smaller drives, one that is solely SSD for the OS and the second which will be Raid 0 with the HDD for Intel's SRT ssd caching.

For example, I take 40GB for the OS of just the SSD, then with the remaning 20GB of SSD I raid is with the HDD getting SSD Caching from it.

Thanks

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a c 353 G Storage
May 31, 2011 2:49:47 AM

Not a good Idea. A 64 gig SSD is on the low side for operating system + programs.

(1) For operating system plus programs - 64 Gig min, recommend 100 gigs or greater.
(2) Yes with z68 MBs you can cache the HDD ad it will be 2x -> 4x faster, BUT that is with the HDD as the boot + programs drive. When coupled with an SSD as the boot drive and the HDD as storage performance gain is questionable and highly dependent on user. Your 24 gig idea is on the short side. Intel's 311 SSD is SLC and designed for that purpuse. To equal the 311 performance in an MLC SSD you need at least 40 gigs.

Bottom Line: Use your SSD as boot drive and HDD for storage.
PS: Adding the SSD (as a Cache drive) to a HDD is not raid0.
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May 31, 2011 3:01:04 AM

He won't be able to do what your asking, he's already purchased the 64GB SSD. 64GB is too small for a proper OS drive due to windows annoying tendency to want to put everyone on the same drive.

His only option now is to use the Intel SSD caching mechanism on his board. He could try to split his FS up using NTFS nodes and branching, but I highly recommend not doing that, its complicated and Windows really doesn't like having "C:\Windows", "C:\Users" and "C:\Program Files" on different volumes.

The SSD caching isn't a bad idea, technically it should be the exact same speed as a SSD when reading data. Problem seems to be the driver isn't intercepting windows file system calls properly, you get lots of cache "miss's" even when the data is available on the SSD. They'll most likely fix it over the next 6 months to a year.
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a c 179 G Storage
May 31, 2011 3:04:23 AM

idjlee96 said:
I bought a Crucial 64GB SSD Sata 6 for my new system I am building.

I am also going with a Z68 MoBo.

I have a quick question on SSD Caching, I understand that regular SSD is faster, but that SSD caching with a HDD is faster then regular HDD.

So, is it possible to partition the SSD into 2 smaller drives, one that is solely SSD for the OS and the second which will be Raid 0 with the HDD for Intel's SRT ssd caching.

For example, I take 40GB for the OS of just the SSD, then with the remaning 20GB of SSD I raid is with the HDD getting SSD Caching from it.

Thanks


Yes, it is possible to partition the drive for two functions like you indicated.
Why not try it? Start with the OS on one 40gb partition, and allocate the 20gb second partition to a cache. If you are not happy, you should be able to delete the cache and recombine the cache into the OS part.
I don't think it would work the other way around.

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May 31, 2011 9:31:42 AM

Okay, well first of all, thanks for the answers so far, but it seems I am getting some mixed answers.

Some are telling me I won't be able to because Windows 7 is too big, and others I saying that 20GB for the SSD cache is too small.
And you are saying that I should try it.
I thought windows 7 only took about 20-25 gb WITH all the extra crap Microsoft adds on.
I also thought SSD caching was meant for smaller drives (20GB-40GB)

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May 31, 2011 9:46:03 AM

The SSD that Intel developed specifacly for SSD cache is 20 GB. The cache does not hold your entire windows OS, only what it needs to start up and shut down faster. The same for programs. For example, it will start CS5 faster, but not hold the photos which are on another drive. So, yes, go for it.
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May 31, 2011 10:46:19 AM

Alright. Would what I am planning to do work?
40 GB for just the OS
20 GB for SSD cache with a 1GB HDD for programs
HDD 2TB for just pure storage
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a b G Storage
May 31, 2011 12:33:04 PM

I think you have it exactly right.

I actually have the exact same drive partitioned out in the exact same way. 40Gb for my win7 64 OS and the rest is used for whatever programs I deem need to be faster. I still have 5GB of space left on the 40GB partition and that is with a bunch of the 'dumb' programs that do not let you chose the directory you install them into. Personally I would never give windows more than 50Gbs to install on, it doesn't need it and windows can do some screwy stuff when it has a lot of free space to be installed on (it is getting better but by no means perfect yet).

I am very diligent about not installing very many programs in the default C: directory as that would obviously fill up the SSD quite quickly. Like you I have a separate set of HDDs that I store information and other programs on.

I also moved the default user folders onto the HDDs as well. This was a lot harder to do in win XP but it is very simple with win7 just open the properties of the windows folder you want to move and go to the location tab. Click move and find where you want to put it, windows will automatically move everything to the new location and everything will work perfectly.

I think you have a very good scheme for partitioning your SSD. I don't know how well the SSD cache system works right now but I would agree with fly that it can only get better with time and so I think it would be worth experimenting with.
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May 31, 2011 1:09:58 PM

Alright sounds good.
Is it possible to Partition a drive from the UEFI/BIOS?

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a c 353 G Storage
May 31, 2011 1:17:43 PM

(1) SRT and caching. Intel develops the 311 SSD, a 20 gig SSD, especially for this purpose. It is an SLC, NOT the cheaper MLC, SSD. The algorithm used for storing is designed with this in mind. You will NOT get the same performance with a 20 gig MLC SSD, even if it was the fastest Sata III SSD. The link below shows a comparison between the F40 and Intel’s 20 gig 311 when the HDD is used as the main Boot drive... The F40 is a good 40 gig SSD, bear in mind, you only plan on using 20 gigs. When a SSD is used as the Boot drive and this is coupled with SSD (cache) and a HDD all bets are off on what the user will see in terms of Performance gains on the HDD which is then being used as a storage device. Don’t forget that 10->15% of an SSD should be UNUSED which brings your available space down to 58->53 gigs.
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4337/z68-ssd-caching-with...

Caching storage HDD, when a SSD is used as a boot drive. – “… No advantage..”
http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?articleid=2594&p...
My take on the above Link. Quote from another thread:
Decided to re-read the article.
Quote from PCSTATS
“Incidentally, if you have more than one hard drive installed on your computer system, say for example with programs installed to the secondary non-OS drive, applying Intel SRT to accelerate the non-boot volume will have little impact according to PCSTATS' tests.”
One thing that is missing – Any supportive data, Latter part of this thread (link below) discusses this.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/forum2.php?config=tom...

(2) Yes, you can use a 40 gig SSD as a boot drive. I just checked (my laptop) and yes a bare install of win 7 is about 15->16 gigs. This is with disabling hibernation (Normally done anyways with an SSD) and limiting the size of the page file. The laptop is for specialized use and I have a 2nd SSD that I swap in/out. Some say 40 gigs is fine, but also others that kick their self for buying this size and end up buying a 2nd one.

As geofelt indicated, you can try it. The only down side is that you would have to “wipe” the drive and reinstall Win 7. I do think you would be better served, with a 64 gig SSD, to use the Whole 64 gig as a boot drive and skip the caching.

Note: j2j663 Usage is not the same as your intended use. In his case he has decided what to put in the SSD, and could have done the same thing without partitioning; I your case you are at the mercy of the caching algorithm.
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May 31, 2011 2:05:03 PM

Ok. so just to clarify something.

What is faster? A regular MLC SSD running by itself, or the SLC SSD running in SSD Cache?

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a c 353 G Storage
May 31, 2011 2:18:45 PM

Easy: A MLC SSD used for Operating system + programs is faster than a HDD with with a SLC SSD as a cache drive. The Anandtech link also points this out.
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May 31, 2011 2:27:41 PM

Alright. also, I have heard that you can add a SSD cache on to a HDD later.
So like you could have a HDD with data on it, and then put on a SSD cache onto it later on.
Is this true?

(Sorry for all the questions)
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a c 179 G Storage
May 31, 2011 2:36:54 PM

idjlee96 said:
Ok. so just to clarify something.

What is faster? A regular MLC SSD running by itself, or the SLC SSD running in SSD Cache?


I agree, a mlc by itself will be better. The reason is that the ssd cache needs to do do double operations, a write goes once to the ssd cache, and then again to the main hdd.
The performance penalty can be reduced by turning off the need to wait for the hdd completion, but you run the risk of a missing update to the hdd if a failure should occur at an inopportune time.

For what it is worth, I installed windows-7 32 bit on a 40gb Intel X25-V. It took about 13gb which included microsoft security essentials. It transformed an old laptop.


As to trying it painlessly, if you install windows on the first 40gb partition, and later want the whole 60gb, you should be able to extend the 40gb to 60gb, just like you can with a partitioned HDD.

You also have the option to later add a cache specific 20gb 311 SSD and get the best of both worlds.
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a c 179 G Storage
May 31, 2011 2:37:42 PM

idjlee96 said:
Alright. also, I have heard that you can add a SSD cache on to a HDD later.
So like you could have a HDD with data on it, and then put on a SSD cache onto it later on.
Is this true?

(Sorry for all the questions)


True.
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May 31, 2011 2:51:10 PM

Ok, so deducing from what you guys are saying, this is what I am planning to do.

The drives I have ATM are a
64 GB Crusical C300 SSD
500 TB WD
2x2TB WD (I do alot of video rendering/editing)

My original plan was partitioning the SSD (40GB for the OS) (20GB for the cache with 500 GB for games, programs etc). and ofcourse all the storage to the 2TB harddrives.

This is what I am thinking of doing now.

Use the SSD (all 64 GB) for OS and most commonly used programs (svp, photoshop, after effects)
Then use the 500 GB for other programs, games.
And of course the 2 TBs for storage.
That way, I can later just add on the 20GB Intel SSD as a cache for the 500GB and as geo put it, get the best of both worlds.

now the final question is, would it work?
:) 
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a c 179 G Storage
May 31, 2011 2:53:44 PM

Looks good to me.
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a c 353 G Storage
May 31, 2011 3:04:06 PM

You final concept is fine.

For what it is worth You indicated "(I do alot of video rendering/editing)"
If these files are .VOBs (DVD movie files), or Blu-ray files (can be upto 40 gigs for a single file) and are on the cached HDD, it may drastically reduce the cache effectiveness. Speed up is only on what is in the cache at time it is requested. When used with large file manipulation the data in the cache will be swapped in/out. If this is the case then the cache SSD should be a 64 gig drive, not the 20 gig Intel drive - It's faster, but holds a lot less than a larger drive. Reference the anadtech review that shows the slower F40 beating the Intel 311 when the smaller drive does not have in cache the requested data.
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May 31, 2011 3:10:55 PM

@Chief, Video files and such are going to be stored on the regular HDD that I will be using for Storage.
the 500GB HDD that I am planning on SRTing will only be for other programs I do no use as much and games.

All the answers were REALLY helpful and wish I could choose multiple best answers, but unfortunately I cant.
So I guess I'll just give it to Chief since he helped out first. But Thanks again to everyone.
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May 31, 2011 3:20:50 PM

Best answer selected by idjlee96.
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