SSD Smart Response (caching) vs. OS Drive

I am in the process of upgrading my motherboard to a Z68 based board. I want to purchase a Revo PCI Express based SSD. I would like to know if it would be better to install the operating system on the drive or use it for Smart Response (SRT) caching?

I understand SRT limits the usable size to 64GB. I have read articles that say the drive may only be used for SRT, if enabled, and other articles that say to can use the portion not utilized for SRT as another drive. I would be interested to know if anyone here had experience with this? I need to decide whether to buy a smaller or larger capacity SSD. It wouldn't make any sense to buy a 120GB drive and only utilize 64GB.

In the event you can use the unused portion, would it be advantageous to load the operating system on this drive?
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  1. Best answer
    1) I would not think that a pcie based ssd could be part of a smart cache because of driver differences.

    2) It is a moot point, since a dedicated ssd will perform much better as an OS and app drive than part of a smart cache system.
    A ssd of 60gb or higher is large enough to be very good as a stand alone drive.

    3) If you want help on the large hard drive, look into one of the small ssd's designed expresly for the smart cache, a intel 20gb 311 slc ssd.
  2. I'm also getting a Revo with a Z68, definitely do a dedicated OS drive, even if you were able to get smart caching to work on the PCIe device, it would completely kill your performance. It would better than whatever the underlying storage is, but no where near as fast as the PCIe card by itself. Same goes for SSDs.

    The smart caching really only make sense if you have a small, cheap SSD to use for the caching like a 16 or 32 GB and want to increase performance on a large drive versus trying to get optimal performance.
  3. Best answer selected by kenharman.
  4. I was wondering this same question. My next question would be, is there any performance difference between an a PCIe card based SSD vs a SATA III 6.0 GB/s connection?
  5. gfisher00 said:
    I was wondering this same question. My next question would be, is there any performance difference between an a PCIe card based SSD vs a SATA III 6.0 GB/s connection?

    If you are talking synthetic benchmarks, the pci-e based cards will seem faster.

    If you are talking real application or desktop performance, then no difference.
    The reason is that the os and desktop operations do mostly small reads and writes. The bandwidth available for sequential operations will be irrelevant.
  6. PCI-e based solid state drive performance will depend on the configuration. The problem with the high end, high performance, PCIe based ssd's is they are primarily enterprise class drives designed for business applications. In addition, they are very expensive. Prices start at about $1,600.00.

    On the consumer side we have PCIe 2.0 x1 and PCIe 2.0 x4 ssd's. The PCIe 2.0 x1 drives only use one channel and are pretty much ignored. There are some PCIe 2.0 x 4 ssd's using 4 channels that will definitely outperform SATA based drives. The problem is that you really need to have a software applications that require that sort of performance. In addition, it is expensive.

    A few manufacturers have announced brand new consumer oriented PCIe based ssd's that should become available sometime after October 1st. Technical details are not yet available.

    EDIT - OOPS! I forgot about cache - Geofelt is correct. According to Intel, the concept of using a small capacity ssd that cost $100.00 was only meant for individuals who could not afford a larger capacity, stand alone ssd. There's also a performance hit to consider. Intel believed if clients saw some improvement then they might be inclined to purchase a larger capacity ssd. I consider it to be a marketing gimmick.
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