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What is the best way to partition an SSD for SSD Caching on Z68?

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June 10, 2011 7:22:59 PM

Hello,

I am going to buy a new PC soon and I was wandering how I should set up storage. I want to use the new SSD caching option of the Z68 Intel Motherboards.

Im buying an SSD and an HDD: The SSD is 60GB OCZ Agility 3 SATA III 2.5" SSD and the HDD is Caviar Black 1TB 7200RPM, 64MB, SATA III WD1002FAEX.
The Motherboard is Asus P8Z68-V PRO.

I am planning to partition the SSD into 2 partitions of 30GB each. I will install the operating system (windows 7 ultimate) and other software that doesn't take too much space on one of the partitions and use the other partition for SSD caching.

I wanted to make sure this is the right way to do it.
What do you think?

Also, should I install Office 2010 on the SSD, or it takes too much space? I have the Professional version and I'm planning to install all the features. How much space do you think it will take?
If it takes too much space, is it possible to install some of the office programs (such as Word and Outlook) on the SSD and the others on the HDD?

Thank you.
June 12, 2011 6:01:08 PM

No replies?
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a b G Storage
June 12, 2011 8:05:58 PM

Missed this one.

Ok. imho chaching is best done for the BOOT DRIVE. If you are caching a storage drive (ie your boot drive is on the ssd and the other partition is caching a storage device) the benefit is much less.

So, you may do well to cache the entire 60gb. OR best would be to use the entire drive for boot/office/game or two. And have raw storage elsewhere. If you are willing to live with a 30gb boot partition and doing all the file moving necessary, you should be more willing to live with a 60 gb boot partition whereas 90% of the PROGRAM files you use are on the ssd. The media files can be spinning on hdds.

This would be the best practical use of your setup. Boot on ssd. Store on spinners.

However, to answer your question more directly. Yes, you can do this. And, depending on your use of Office, yes outlook will benefit and yes, it is probably my most used program too (although I hate it sometimes).
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June 12, 2011 9:26:23 PM

adampower said:
Missed this one.

Ok. imho chaching is best done for the BOOT DRIVE. If you are caching a storage drive (ie your boot drive is on the ssd and the other partition is caching a storage device) the benefit is much less.

So, you may do well to cache the entire 60gb. OR best would be to use the entire drive for boot/office/game or two. And have raw storage elsewhere. If you are willing to live with a 30gb boot partition and doing all the file moving necessary, you should be more willing to live with a 60 gb boot partition whereas 90% of the PROGRAM files you use are on the ssd. The media files can be spinning on hdds.

This would be the best practical use of your setup. Boot on ssd. Store on spinners.

However, to answer your question more directly. Yes, you can do this. And, depending on your use of Office, yes outlook will benefit and yes, it is probably my most used program too (although I hate it sometimes).


Thanks for the reply!

The reason I was planning to cache the storage drive is that the PC is going to be mainly used for gaming. If I don't use caching Ill have to put games on the 60GB SSD to benefit from it, and since I tend to have a lot of games installed on my system at the same time Ill have to constantly move them from the HDD to the SSD manually to benefit from it. I was hoping that by caching the HDD Ill have faster loading times on the most commonly played games.

According to what I heard there is no point in more then about 30GB for caching. Also, if I cache the system drive, the benefit will be much less then by placing the operating system on the SSD. I was hoping I could buy a 60GB drive and benefit from both worlds - to have fast startup times for programs and PC and to have fast loading times for games.

However, you said that there is little benefit from caching the storage drive, so I'm not sure about my plan now. What do you think?
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Best solution

a b G Storage
June 13, 2011 1:50:19 AM

The reason for my anti 'caching the storage' post stems from what I read from this review.

PCSTATS reviewed a gigabyte z68 mobo and came up with this statement regarding SRT.

"Incidently, 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."

Here's the page from their review. http://www.pcstats.com/articleview [...] 594&page=3


Unfortunately, they did not back this up with any evidence. But follow the logic. If you have 60gb, more or less, of windows, office, and a couple of most played games, followed by 200gb of other games and much used files, you are MUCH further ahead to have the 60gb of stuff on a raw ssd and the other 200gb on an hdd. Because, the ssd can only cache so much. And, if you play a few random games the ssd will never cache efficiently.

So, two things come into effect. A:)  Ssd's do not directly affect gaming. And B:)  Caching is effective for your boot drive and most used programs as it needs repetitive tasks to work well.

If you have $120 for an ssd and $170 for an hdd, I would suggest buying the 20gb intel 311 caching disk and a nice 2tb cav black hdd. Cache the hdd on the 311 and you have a nice, simple, fast, system which requires NO thought to moving files and such.

If you have $200 for an ssd your options open up to a proper 120gb crucial M4 or something awesome. But you need some spinning storage for your files AND you need to keep track of where things are in terms of c: drive or d: drive.


z68 adds some interesting new twists to the already interesting ssd, hdd world.
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June 13, 2011 6:26:03 PM

Ok, thanks for the suggestions. I think Ill probably go with my original plan and try to see how much caching the games helps with loading times. If I see that it is indeed insignificant Ill do as you suggest.

However, there is something that a worries me a little: Will the Z68 caching software know that the OS is installed on the SSD and will not try to cache it? Because I'm afraid it will try to cache the OS files on the separate partition and might actually reduce performance.
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a b G Storage
June 13, 2011 6:52:48 PM

It will cache whichever drive you connect it to. It will become part of your d: drive.. or whatever.
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June 13, 2011 9:23:06 PM

adampower said:
It will cache whichever drive you connect it to. It will become part of your d: drive.. or whatever.


hmm... What do you mean? Do I need to connect the cache partition to a specific drive? So if I had the SSD partitioned into C and D (Each 30 GB) and Ill choose to use D as a cache for the E drive (1 TB HDD), Ill now see my PC as having 2 drives - 30GB and 1TB?
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a b G Storage
June 15, 2011 1:40:43 PM

That's how I read it. I personally haven't built a z68 yet.

To confirm. Your pc would have two drives a 30gb c: drive and a 1tb (d or e) drive which is cached.

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June 15, 2011 6:36:41 PM

Ok, Thank you for the help :) 
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June 15, 2011 6:37:13 PM

Best answer selected by MikeL1.
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April 17, 2012 4:23:13 PM

No, this will not work as you describe. I'm struggling to get this to work, and so far no go. See this thread, which describes the same experience I've had -- except that when I choose the HDD that I want to accelerate, the Intel app freezes and the disk never gets accelerated:

http://forums.anandtech.com/archive/index.php/t-2172381...

In a nutshell, you need to know the following about Smart Response Technology (SRT):

For the cache size, you will have only the choice of 18.9GB or 64GB (or the entire SSD if it is smaller than 64GB). There is no way to choose an intermediate value. So your SSD must be of a total size to handle either OS-requirements plus 18.9GB, or OS-requirements plus 64GB.

When you set up SRT, the SSD is wiped. So you can only set it up from an OS that has booted from another drive.

The size (18.9 or 64) of the cache becomes a pseudo-partition invisible to the OS. The remainder of the SSD capacity acts like a regular drive.

To use your SSD for both the OS and SRT cache, you temporarily load the OS on another drive. From there, you can enable SRT on the SSD, choosing one of the two cache sizes.

Then you disconnect the temporary OS drive, boot from OS installation DVD, and load the OS on whatever space remains on the SSD.

Then you connect your data HDD and choose it from the SRT application as the drive to be "accelerated". If you're lucky, it works (see the quoted thread above). If you have my luck, it doesn't work, and you spend hours on the web finding postings like these that don't help...
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April 19, 2012 3:48:31 PM

Thanks, stoobiedood. We are currently building a system at work for a new engineer and are unfamiliar with the Z68 setup. We have a lot of very large and intense programs but would also like to take advantage of the cacheing. We have in it an i7, 64 GB ram, a 240 Gb SSD and a 2 TB HDD. Would the following setup work?

1. Partition the SSD for 18.9 GB Cache to connect to the 2 TB HDD.
2. Use the second partition of the SSD for the boot device and major programs (Inventor, 3ds Max, MathCad, Abacus).

To me, this sounds like the best of both worlds but would it work? We'd have the unadulterated speed of the SSD with 221 GB for boot and major programs, plus the benefit of a 'hybrid' system for the 2TB spinner.

Do you expect any difficulties in setting this up? Anything I should know?
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