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Z68 SSD Caching: Intel 311 or OCZ Vertex 3 SATAIII 60GB?

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October 18, 2011 7:41:03 AM

Hello,
I'm looking to set up a second drive for SSD caching: I will have a i7-2600K CPU running on an ASUS P8Z68-V PRO, and will be using various computationally intensive non-gaming programs.

I see a sale on the Intel 311 20GB SLC for $60, and the OCZ Vertex 3 SATA II 60GB can be had for $100. Does it make sense to spend the extra $40 for the OCZ?
a c 523 G Storage
October 18, 2011 2:30:51 PM

With regards to SSDs, the larger the drive, the better the performance.
A drive with 60GB will have more NAND chips in it than a drive with 20GB.

Go with the Vertex 3. OCZ just released a new firmware version 2.15 yesterday; makes sure the drive is on that version before you set up your caching.
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a b G Storage
October 18, 2011 2:38:38 PM

Do you already have an SSD for your OS? I think it would be more profitable to have a dedicated drive for OS and software than use SSD caching.
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a c 353 G Storage
October 18, 2011 3:09:49 PM

^ 2nd that motion.
On SRT.
.. Increases HD performance up to 4x max, but that is HIGHLY depended on what is in the cache - you have no say so.
.. Intel's 311 is limited to only 20 gigs, but on the flip side it is SLC based vs the Agillity III which is MLC. The 311 is speciffically designed for caching, the agillity III is not.
.. I believe that when the agillity III is is used in this mode, you would lose trim as it is not under ahci control. This is diff than when a SSD is set to SATA and is not a member drive of a raid array which DOES allow trim to be passed. As a cache drive it may be 100% utilized which is not a good thing for MLC SSDs (the recommended "free" space is around 10% and in this configuration you would not have any controll unless you partition it to only use 54 Gigs (dec value). Only what is in cache is speed up, all else will be at the normal SLOW speed of the HDD.

An SSD is generally 20 to 40+ X faster than a HDD when use by itself as a OS + program disk, and YOU get to select what goes on the SSD, NOT some SEMI intelligent caching algorthum.
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a c 523 G Storage
October 18, 2011 3:16:14 PM

RetiredChief said:
Intel's 311 is limited to only 20 gigs, but on the flip side it is SLC based vs the Agillity III which is MLC. The 311 is speciffically designed for caching, the agillity III is not.


Sorry, didn't know that. Thanks!
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a c 168 G Storage
October 18, 2011 3:28:58 PM

The Intel 311 is specifically designed to be used as a hard drive cache. In particular, it is a slc drive which can write well. 20gb may well be sufficient to hold the currently commonly used blocks from the hard drive. It all depends on the individual usage pattern.

On the other hand, if the budget will allow a 60gb or greater ssd, then it makes more sense to me to use that as the os drive, and not as a cache.
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October 18, 2011 5:07:20 PM

+1 for intel 311 since is cache oriented
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October 18, 2011 5:07:21 PM

I imagine if I want to set up an SSD as a separate OS + program disk, 60GB might not be sufficient.

Since I'm not willing to spend more than $100 on SSD for now, my real question is whether the Vertex 3 SATA III drive will perform better for caching than the Intel 311. I understand that the 311 uses the more stable and robust SLC's, but I've seen the Vertex 3 with some unbeatable benchmarks. Unfortunately, I see no info on the 60GB.
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October 18, 2011 5:10:00 PM

Caching is different from common usage, look for some chipset Z68 benchmarks instead (usually SSD reviews don't test caching capabilities)
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a c 353 G Storage
October 18, 2011 5:28:42 PM

The Agillity III are cheap compared to many of the Sata III SSDs for a reason.
I have 2 120gig agillity III - Benchmarks are overblown. My Curcial M4s run circles around the agillity III, while laughing at me for buying them!!!

While I agree 60 gig for a Boot + program drive is the minium, it is workable. I'm only using around 35 gigs for my systems (2 desktops and two laptops all with SSDs).

3 Things that save space requirements are:
.. (1) disable hibernation - save 4 -> 6 gigs
.. (2) Set page file (virtual memory) min and max to the same value, ie 4 gigs ram set it to 1024 mb. > 4 gigs ram set to 512mb. And you can redirect it to the HDD to save alittle more (Very slight performance hit - but compared to HDD even with SRT you would think its a race car). This save upto 6 gigs
.. (3) manage restore points. limit the number of restore point or disable. This one if not done can eat up space in the long haul.

Bottom Line - $100 is $100, But don't flush it down the lew and be dissapointed. Save a little longer and get a decent SSD be it a 60/64 gig SSD, or a 90/110/128 gig SSD.

The 64 gig m4 is only $109: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Check the satifaction ratio between the two - no contest.
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October 18, 2011 5:48:04 PM

Yeah, the separate drive sounds like the way to go. But I'm still leaning towards caching for the time being; later on when the bigger SSD's prices come down, I'll buy a high-capacity one and set up a boot drive.

For now I'm opting for the short-term caching solution. I like the ease-of-use of the Intel 311, and $60 is pretty cheap. I also see this OCZ Vertex Plus SATA II drive for $70...how would that compare? I'll bet the SATA III drives would put it to shame, but would it at least beat the Intel 311?
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October 18, 2011 6:03:56 PM

Best answer selected by mnhoff.
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October 20, 2011 9:46:07 AM

RetiredChief said:
The Agillity III are cheap compared to many of the Sata III SSDs for a reason.
I have 2 120gig agillity III - Benchmarks are overblown. My Curcial M4s run circles around the agillity III, while laughing at me for buying them!!!

While I agree 60 gig for a Boot + program drive is the minium, it is workable. I'm only using around 35 gigs for my systems (2 desktops and two laptops all with SSDs).

3 Things that save space requirements are:
.. (1) disable hibernation - save 4 -> 6 gigs
.. (2) Set page file (virtual memory) min and max to the same value, ie 4 gigs ram set it to 1024 mb. > 4 gigs ram set to 512mb. And you can redirect it to the HDD to save alittle more (Very slight performance hit - but compared to HDD even with SRT you would think its a race car). This save upto 6 gigs
.. (3) manage restore points. limit the number of restore point or disable. This one if not done can eat up space in the long haul.

Bottom Line - $100 is $100, But don't flush it down the lew and be dissapointed. Save a little longer and get a decent SSD be it a 60/64 gig SSD, or a 90/110/128 gig SSD.

The 64 gig m4 is only $109: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Check the satifaction ratio between the two - no contest.


RetiredChief, did you ever get a chance to test using one 60GB+ SSD drive for OSboot+apps, AND a 2nd Intel 311 for caching of a 3rd HDD drive?

I read another thread you were on that said this was pointless, but the source PCSTATS article was wrong on the apparent mobo IGP - SRT requirement (and isn't even posted anymore)....maybe they were wrong on both counts?
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a c 353 G Storage
October 20, 2011 12:14:45 PM

No, I did not test SRT using either a 311 or a 60 Gig MLC drive. Based my read of several reviews of SRT implimentation - The bottom line in all of them was that if you could afford a large enough SSD to use as a OS + Program drive, that was the way to go. One of the reviews did compare the 311 vs a MLC 60 or 64 gig drive. The 311 won out on startup, the MLC drive only won out if the task were highly repedative. No data on long term usage.
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October 20, 2011 6:42:24 PM

k thanks.
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November 3, 2011 2:07:28 AM

Well, I got caught up in the hype and bought a 120gb Kingston HyperX today for $195. Was wavering between the Mushkin Deluxe for $185 and the M4 for $190, but I went for speed. So no SRT :( 
Thanks y'all.
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