I am currently running a Z68XP-UD3 with a 1TB Seagate barracuda 7200 RPM HDD. This is a single drive setup with no RAID enabled. I am considering adding a 64GB SSD to use SRT and SSD caching. My question is: how easy is this to do? My understanding is that you need to have RAID enabled in the BIOS to use SRT. Is it as simple as popping the SSD into the mSATA port and enabling caching in the BIOS? Any help/feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
A 64 GB SSD is big enough to install the OS on. You will get better results from installing the OS and most annoyingly slow-to-load apps on the SSD than from using a cache SSD. That feature was (according to article on Tom's) meant for making small SSDs useful.
Please keep in mind that if you do use an SSD for caching and your current OS drive is configured in IDE compatibility mode in the BIOS, you have to make changes for it to work in the AHCI mode that changing the BIOS to RAID will enable. Otherwise, it won't boot.
There is a lot of misunderstanding about caching. Intel developed caching for clients and businesses that could not afford a large capacity ssd. Back when the concept was on the drawing board, Intel hoped clients and businesses would purchase a small 10Gb or 20GB for about $100.00. Microsoft Windows 7 and all software applications would remain on hard disk drives. The cache only produced a minor boost in performance. Intel hoped that once clients saw the slight performance boost they might be inclined to purchase a larger ssd.
Intel also researched the size of the cache. Intel determined that a 60GB ssd was the point where it made no sense to use the ssd as a cache for a hard drive. Instead if you have a 60GB ssd, then Windows 7 and software applications should be installed on the ssd to take full advantage of the ssd capabilities.
Since you are thinking of purchasing a 60GB ssd, it makes more sense to install Windows 7 and your software applications on the ssd. The ssd performance boost is much higher than the hard disk drive performance increase.
Windows 7 will use up a just a little over 21GB leaving some room for software applications.
I do not know if you are a gamer but I hope you know that an ssd will not improve actual game play and it will not improve FPS. The only thing that happens is that the game will launch faster and levels, maps, or charts will load faster. If you participate in online gaming, then the ssd will not improve anything. You'll still be at the mercy of your Internet Service Provider.
A few days days ago Tom's Hardware published "SSD Performance In Crysis 2, World Of Warcraft, And Civilization V". It is an analysis of ssd's and gameplay. Here is the link:
There are ways to clone your current Win 7 setup to a SSD. In short you have to manipulate your boot drive to place everything you want on the SSD in a single partition with some slack for the OS. I transferred a Win 7 setup from a 640 GB HDD to a 128 SSD. In order to do so I had to create a partition on the 640 HDD about 115 GB in size. You do a windows backup of the boot disk to this partition. Then when you install the SSD you want to install from the DVD and force it to restore your system from the backup.
This will mnake a clone of your present system without the hassle of reinstalling all the OS and apps individually on the SSD boot disk.
I would like to know with the new z68 and Intel's SSD caching. Is there a performance gain in using a 64gb SSD for your boot drive and then partitioning 25-30gb's for SSD caching? Then having a 2nd Hard drive for storage, games, files, etc.
Would the benefits transfer over of having your OS boot times greatly reduced but at the same time have that game (installed on the storage drive) you always play load up much faster from caching? This way not forcing you to spend a fortune on a larger SSD that would hold all your games?