I'm about to build a new system. I have an ASUS P8 Z68-V Pro Mobo, 2 x 1TB SATA III HD's, and a Crucial M4 64GB SATA III SSD.
As I have the option to configure SRT - I wondered what's the best config? Initially I was planning to have the 2 HDs in RAID0, and then use the SSD for caching - but as all devices are SATAIII I don't have enough 6 gb/s ports. Hence the quandary!
1) Put the 2 HDs on the 6 gb/s ports, and the SSD on 3gb/s port
2) Put the SSD on 6gb/s port, and the 2HDs on 3gb/s ports
3) Scrap the RAID0 idea, put 1 HD on 6gs/s port, the SSD on 6gb/s port, and the other HD on the Marvell 6gb/s port.
4) Not bother with SRT, put the 2HDs on RAID0 on the Intel 6gb/s ports, and the SSD on the Marvell 6gb/s port (and just use the SSD for OS).
Which do you guys think you provide best performance?
First, a word about Intel's Smart Response Technology, which we used to call ssd cache. Using a small capacity ssd as a cache for a hard disk drive has an interesting background. Intel has an awful lot of business clients with millions of desktop pc's containing hard disk drives. Intel really wants all of those clients to upgrade to ssd's. Intel knew some clients could not afford to upgrade to large capacity ssd's. Intel came up with SRT as an alterantive. For about $100.00 the client could have a small ssd that would improve hard drive performance. It was a compromise that came with a performance hit. The improvement in hard drive performance is minor and cannot compare to a stand alone large capacity ssd.
Intel limited the capacity of the ssd cache to 64GB. However, that was not what Intel originally intended. Originally the ssd cache was to be much smaller. Intel also researched much larger ssd caches and concluded it wasn't worth it. The 64GB limit was the point of diminishing return. According to Intel if you had a 64GB ssd you would be better off intalling your OS and software applications on the ssd so you could take advantage of the SATA 3Gb/s and 6Gb/s capabilities.
That pretty much takes care of your ssd. Install Windows 7 and software applications you use the most on the ssd. If there is sufficient room left over you might be able to install your favorite game. Everything else gets stored on your hard drives. If you get tired of playing your favorite game you can swap it out for a different game. The 60GB capacity is going to make things a bit tight so you'll have to keep an eye on disk usage and capacity.
I guess I should mention the SSD ports on your new motherboard. Two of the SATA 6Gb/s ports on your new motherboard use Intel's own controller that is integrated with the Intel Z68 chipset. Connect your Crucial M4 ssd to one of those two ports. That is the preferred method. I know the Crucial M4 has a Marvell controller and the motherboard has a Marvell controller. You would think the two go together but that is not the case. Performance will be a little bit better using the Intel controller on the motherboard.
To raid or not to raid.......that is the question........ What is your justification for setting up your hard drives in a Raid array? What do you think you will be doing that requires a Raid array?
Regarding the RAID array - on a couple of previous systems I built it definitely made a big improvement in read and write performance. (And when I say raid array, I mean RAID 0 - I don't need any type of redundancy).
I'm getting the feeling with SRT in the mix, there's no additional benefit (or very marginal) in having RAID 0 as well. So I might go for my options #3 above?
You could try it both ways - with and without Raid 0. By experimenting you will be able to find out which configuration works best for you. Being able to experiment is part of the fun of doing things yourself.