Please bear with me folks, I'm relatively new at PC builds and have a question regarding a dual SSD set up. A question as in "Is it possible?"
I'm in the process of a new build, and I recently ordered a 240gb SSD to be used in the ASUS P9X79 DELUXE LGA 2011 Intel X79 mobo. Now, this board has a built in caching feature specific to the X79. It allows a second drive for caching without the support of Intel's Smart Technology. My question is this. CAN I utilize another SSD of equal or smaller storage for this boards caching feature? Would doing this be a benefit to performance?
The use of the second small SSD for cpu caching does not give as much of a performance boost if you are using a SSD as your boot drive. You would see more of a performance boost if your boot drive was a conventional hdd. But that not to say that you cannot or should not use a SSD for caching if your boot drive is an SSD. The purpose of the SSD for caching is to have data ready in an acessable place for the cpu without having to search for it on the hdd , therefore boosting performance. The fact that an SSD is faster to begin with cuts into that performance boost just because it is so fast and it doesn't have to search through hdd platters for the info. So the option is there if you want to take advantage of an increase in performance.
Finally, another feature of a Z68 chipset is known as SSD caching which is where it allows the use of a small (say 10 or 20 GB) Solid state hard drive to act as a cache for a larger ‘traditional’ hard disk. If you are already planning the use of a Solid State drive this feature is redundant.
Before ya invest heavily in expensive SSD's it might be worth investigating a bit. My son for example was hot on a new SSD and bough one fo the 550 MB's models they day they hit the stores. He was excited about the new 7.9 Windows experience index (IIRC was 7.4 w/ HD) but the "real life" impact can be disappointing if ya already have fast Hard Drive(s). Dual booting via BIOS to Win7-64 took 21.2 seconds on the Barracuda XT (2TB) and dropped to 15.6 seconds with the 550 MBps SSD. MMO load times were identical. And yes, the dual boot is set up completely independent with everything existing independently on both drives and
All of the answers you have received so far have been 100% correct, But I would like to add a few things.
With the advent of the new Intel sata III controllers (the old Marvell ones were crap) I would opt for Raid 0 with 2 sata III ssd's. From a real world stand point one is already really fast and you wont see a lot of difference with 2 in raid 0 since access time for 2 in raid 0 is no faster than one ssd although sequential read/write times will double. This is really good for fast transfers between hard drives such as another storage array however it would take approximately 8 Samsung F4's in raid 0 to make full use of all that speed. So would I do it? My answer is yes! But will you see a big difference? If lightning was twice as fast would it make a difference? If your answer is yes, Go for it, but to 99% of people it will make little to no difference at all.
If all that hasn't deterred you, here is a post I made recently somewhere else on the same subject:
As far as 2 SSD's in Raid 0 not providing any benefit, as a HEAVY user of SSD's in both single and raid 0 configurations I can assure you, you are wrong and although the benefit of using one drive for the OS and another for the programs is a very good viable alternative to Raid 0, it is still no where near as fast.
About one year ago I took the plunge and bought my two SSD's for raid 0 and except for the week or two it took to RMA the one, (during which time I used the remaining SSD for my OS) they have been in very heavy use (about 10 hours a day for audio/video editing and more). With the exception of the one RMA they continue to run and bench just as fast today as the first day I bought them.
I did a lot of research before I bought them for a Raid 0 configuration which is exactly why I made sure I bought SSD's with SandForce firmware.
There are certainly risks to using SSD's in raid 0 but if they are properly addressed they are are minimal and don't out-way the benefits. The risks as I see it are #1: Raid 0, #2: No TRIM.
Risk #1 can be addressed by:
(A): Have a good battery back up, I have a 1500-Watt/ 2200VA /Pure Sine Wave/ battery back up.
(B): Since hardware failure is twice as likely and almost always catastrophic with 2 drives in Raid 0, you need to make sure you have a good back up of everything on those drives. I use Acronis to clone my entire Raid 0 array C drive to one single 7200 RPM "spinner" and back again if necessary (yea, Acronis can do that and the single "spinner" is even bootable as a raid 0 drive, go figure) then I remove the "spinner" from my system for safe keeping. I also use Acronis to keep an incremental back up of my C drive for total restoration. It might sound like a lot of work but once it's set up its incredibly trouble free and everyone should at least back up their C drive (raid or no raid) anyway.
Risk #2 can be addressed by:
(A): Don't buy small drives, I believe 2 x 120GB was/is the perfect choice for my OS and a little extra. After one year of use I still have only 49.8GB's of space used out of a usable 233GB's.
(B): Optimize your windows settings for your SSD's. There is a little free app called "SSD Tweaker" that will do this for you.
(C): Turn off your Virtual memory/paging file for your SSD's (if you have enough ram, all drives). Since some apps require a paging file and windows requires at least some paging file, download and install "Dataram RAMDisk" (also free) from here: http://memory.dataram.com/products-and-services/software/ramdisk and make a ramdisk up to 4GB's (depending on your available ram) for your paging file.
(D): Buy SSD's with SandForce firmware, SandForce firmware has built in garbage collection that acts somewhat like TRIM. While its true SandForce garbage collection is not TRIM or anywhere near as good, these steps have enabled me to run 2 x SSD's in raid 0 with very heavy usage for 1yr with no slow downs what-so-ever.
(E): If after 1yr or more, (hopefully much more) you do experience a slow-down you can "securely delete" everything on you drives (you have a back up right) to restore their original speed and then reload your OS (C drive) from your back up. ALL BETTER!
(F): Intel has just announced that it is developing new drivers that support TRIM for raid on sata II & III ports on mother boards already using Intel drivers that don't support TRIM, so all this may become moot soon anyway. With the exception of steps B & C which are good steps regardless of whether you have a single or raid configuration for your SSD(s).
All this might sound like a lot of trouble but I assure you it's not and the benefits far out way the effort/risks!
Whether the OP actually needs 1110MB/s read and 1030MB/s write is subjective anyway, besides sometimes it's nice when life is just about what you want instead of what you need.
So should you do it? If you are an extreme enthusiast in that top 1% maybe but, only you can answer that.
Now back to "built in caching feature specific to the X79".
All SSD manufacturers (that I know of) recommend that you turn off or limit caching to the smallest allowable size to minimize unnecessary wear and tear (read/writes) and therefore extend the life of the SSD. So with that in mind using much smaller cheaper SSD's for the "built in caching feature specific to the X79" is a really good idea. Since they are much cheaper to replace it could save you money in the long run, not to mention the added benefit of not taking out your OS if it does crash.
What this won't do is : If your already using SSD(s) for your OS it won't give you extra speed. In fact if you are using 2-SSD's in raid 0 for your OS it will actually slow things down unless you also use 2-SSD's in raid 0 for your "built in caching".
Since allot of the new LGA 2011 platforms allow you the ability to use as much as 64GB's quad channel ram, the best alternative (in my opinion) would be to create a RAMDisk to dedicate to caching. Since ram is about 10 times faster than the fastest Sata III SSD this will make a huge (lightning analogy x 10) difference.
Another positive benefit to a RAMDisk as opposed to an SSD for caching is that most (if not all) of the top RAM manufactures offer a full lifetime warranty, where as for SSD's it's usually only about a three year warranty.
And I think it's also worth mentioning that: for me, creating a 4Gb RAMDisk for caching has completely eliminated all video micro stutter. With two HD6870's in CrossFire. It was quite severe before I created a RAMDisk.
I hope some of this helps!
P.S. The link I posted for "Dataram RAMDisk" is for a free app for the creation of up to a 4GB RAMDisk and can be purchased for $14.99 for the creation of a larger RAMDisk.
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 ssd like their M11 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 and the promise of a larger boost in performance.
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 or larger ssd, then Windows 7 and software applications should be installed on the ssd to take full advantage of the ssd capabilities.
We now have several caching variations but the concept is the same.
I know this thread is old but I thought I would update it a little since I no longer use "Dataram RAMDisk" and any issues that it solved with micro stutter for my two HD6870's in CrossFire have been resolved with AMD's driver updates. And even if the OP's long since forgotten about this thread others might still find it interesting.
If you really want to speed things up a little there's a program from a company named SuperSpeed called SuperCache 5 that will help if you have enough ram in your system to dedicate some to it. I dedicated about 8GB out of 24GB ram to it. It's also very easy to turn on or off depending on your needs. It costs $79.95. Not cheep! But, it does help and you can try it for free for 10 days. The Benchmarks on the left are without SuperCache 5 and the ones on the right are with it enabled.
You do want to turn off your Paging File or your Read Access time will suffer slightly.
I think it's also important to note that the Benchmarks I've posted are not representative of real world use. There is a very real performance boost but, it's certainly nothing earth-shattering like the benchmarks seem to suggest. When it comes to the speed/response of your OS the most important benchmark (Read/Acc. time) is the only one that doesn't change at all. That said, It still does make a difference and I think it's worth it. Of course that's me. If you want to see if you think it's worth it or not try the 10 day free trial.
Acronis True Image Home 2012 Update 2.1 (that's the most current version ) DOES NOT support restorting to a RAID 0 set of disks using the Recovery Boot Media (or Universal Restore).
Your system may be backing up using Acronis, but if you use RAID 0 and the Intel x79 / C600 RSTe driver based chipset, you can not restore your system with Acronis.
There are MANY post about this, and most people are using CASPER if the need to copy or backup with the native Intel x79 SATA controllers.
(Acronis has known about this since the begining of the year and doesn't seem remotely intersted in fixing the issue.... but they have no problems taking your money.)
Well what I said was
I use Acronis to clone my entire Raid 0 array C drive to one single 7200 RPM "spinner" and back again if necessary (yea, Acronis can do that and the single "spinner" is even bootable as a raid 0 drive, go figure) then I remove the "spinner" from my system for safe keeping. I also use Acronis to keep an incremental back up of my C drive for total restoration.
Meaning I clone the (raid 0) C drive once a month and just use the incremental back up for any thing that might be added in that one month period.
Although I was just on Newegg wish listing my new $10,000 X79 build (which really amounts to wishful thinking since I don't have anywhere close to 10 grand to through at it in the foreseeable future LOL) I'm still using an X58 board.
However about 3 months ago after updating from Acronis 2011 to 2012, I went to back up (clone) my C drive and every time the clone operation failed. I checked on the internet and from what I see I'm not alone. Is this what your talking about?
Update: Acronis 2010 & 2011 work fine for me to clone a OS SSD raid0 array however, Acronis 2010 seems to have the least reported problems (none at all) for this feature.