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Question about Z68 SSD caching

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August 4, 2011 6:38:48 PM

Hi all, I just read the article written in May about the Z68 and the SSD caching feature:

Let's say I get the 20gb Intel SSD 311 product that was mentioned in the article. A Windows 7 64-bit installation takes up around 20GB by itself, and I'm sure a lot of those 20GBs are going to be read all the time when using your computer. Does that mean my SSD is pretty much going to be almost always full of Windows 7 system files, leaving little to no room left over for game level data?

What happens anyway when the SSD cache drive runs out of space because maybe you are trying to load some huge 5gb World of Warcraft MPQ file into it?
a b $ Windows 7
a c 717 V Motherboard
August 4, 2011 6:48:28 PM

Essentially, 'yes' but not ALL of Windows 7 will be placed as part of the 'cache' on the SSD; Windows 7 has a lot of unused bloat including unused libraries etc that won't migrate on the SSD. So you'll have 'few' frequently used Apps being accelerated as well.

Your 20GB SSD will be filled day 1 or 2 after you finish installing and running your Apps a few times.

Under SSD Caching and your small SSD I seriously doubt the entire "huge 5gb World of Warcraft MPQ file" will be copied over and if it's a single file then it won't be copied. Also the SSD in Caching is invisible and unmanageable.
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August 4, 2011 6:50:31 PM

You did say that you read the acticle?
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August 4, 2011 6:52:31 PM

topper743 said:
You did say that you read the acticle?


I read it. Didn't understand something, and came here for clarification.
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August 4, 2011 6:56:47 PM

jaquith said:
Essentially, 'yes' but not ALL of Windows 7 will be placed as part of the 'cache' on the SSD; Windows 7 has a lot of unused bloat including unused libraries etc that won't migrate on the SSD. So you'll have 'few' frequently used Apps being accelerated as well.

Your 20GB SSD will be filled day 1 or 2 after you finish installing and running your Apps a few times.

Under SSD Caching and your small SSD I seriously doubt the entire "huge 5gb World of Warcraft MPQ file" will be copied over and if it's a single file then it won't be copied. Also the SSD in Caching is invisible and unmanageable.


Thanks for the clarification.

When I read the article I was kind of hoping that SSD caching would be a good solution as I would like to install a lot of Steam games on my system and I don't think they would fit on the average $200 SSD with Windows 7 also installed. It seems like to get what I want out of SSD caching, I would have to shoot for the max Intel allows, which is 64GB SSD. But even then it sounds like any huge game files still won't get copied over, even if I play every day for a week?
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a b $ Windows 7
a c 717 V Motherboard
August 4, 2011 7:55:31 PM

Welcome to what we all face - Budgets! I have a 256GB SSD that I've had to delete stuff off of because it was full :( 

This is a Function of 'our' Wallets. IMO even a 64GB SSD Cache won't accomplish what you want. As an alternative, you could install just you Game(s) including the MPQ file and take control of what's allocated/accelerated on the SSD. I'm not a fan of SSD Caching, and again I honestly feel to use your SSD for your games if that's the primary concern.
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August 4, 2011 8:09:22 PM

onlywei said:
Thanks for the clarification.

When I read the article I was kind of hoping that SSD caching would be a good solution as I would like to install a lot of Steam games on my system and I don't think they would fit on the average $200 SSD with Windows 7 also installed. It seems like to get what I want out of SSD caching, I would have to shoot for the max Intel allows, which is 64GB SSD. But even then it sounds like any huge game files still won't get copied over, even if I play every day for a week?


Well the games you are playing most frequently should get loaded into the cache. I'm running SRT with a 64GB drive, and I'm very happy with the results. Windows loads incredibly fast, and the games I play do as well. To me, SRT is a great solution if you play lots of games and don't want to blow a ton of money of a huge SSD. The ones you are playing most frequently will get loaded into the cache, and you won't have to micromanage uninstalling and install stuff if you were to manage it your self.
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a b $ Windows 7
a c 717 V Motherboard
August 4, 2011 8:54:05 PM

See {Game Load Comparison} -> http://www.anandtech.com/show/4329/intel-z68-chipset-sm... ; I have seen this before this as the best example to the OP's situation. The time is not bad but to achieve the Testing results and is only after repeated {pattern -> cache} and those numbers go away after the cache is 'flushed' {new pattern -> new cache}.

Now if ALL you do is to run WOW then sure the SSD Cache will absolutely help. However, with a 20GB SSD and once the Cache is flushed the speed only comes after repeated use. The problem is with the Tests vs Real World use.

The feedback I see vs tests concludes USE dictates RESULTS.
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August 4, 2011 9:30:47 PM

Don't forget the first thing cached on the SSD will probably be the windows swap file.
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a b $ Windows 7
a c 717 V Motherboard
August 4, 2011 10:08:30 PM

^ Good point, IF RAM >4GB then set low -> 1GB~2GB, but OFF can be problematic from poorly written Apps.
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a b $ Windows 7
a b V Motherboard
August 5, 2011 3:57:27 PM

Most of the articles written about using SRT have a bottom line that it is better to go with a larger SSD and use it as a boot/program drive. If you pretty much limit your game play to a couple of games this would probably be the best route to go. Newegg currently has the SATA III Plextor 128 Gig SSD on sale for $180. This is not much more than you will pay for the Intel 311 @ $120 for only a 20 gig, or just over $100 for Samsung 470 64 Gig.

Couple of factors:
Intel 311 is designed for SRT caching. It is SLC NOT a MLC drive. But limited in size which will affect performance, how much compared to the max size of 64 gig will be highly user usage.

Using a larger drive means using a MLC drive. I know some are going this route (ie jamfan75) – It will defiantly allow for more data in the cache, But I have some reservations on long term effects regarding MLC drives and that can only be resolved by time.

My bottom line and recommendation would be IF POSSIBLE go for the $180 SATA III Plextor M2. That should allow for Operating system, programs, and a couple of games. And would be much a faster overall and for your couple of games. SATA III Agility 120 gig is close to this price and a faster drive, BUT NOT recommended due to current problems with the SF22xx controller.
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a b $ Windows 7
a c 717 V Motherboard
August 5, 2011 4:27:28 PM

^+1 I agree. Horse, Water -- Drink?!
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August 12, 2011 6:15:10 PM

jamfan75 said:
Well the games you are playing most frequently should get loaded into the cache. I'm running SRT with a 64GB drive, and I'm very happy with the results. Windows loads incredibly fast, and the games I play do as well. To me, SRT is a great solution if you play lots of games and don't want to blow a ton of money of a huge SSD. The ones you are playing most frequently will get loaded into the cache, and you won't have to micromanage uninstalling and install stuff if you were to manage it your self.


May I ask what 64GB SSD you are using?

I'm currently looking at the Crucial M4 64gb drive but I am not sure if it will be fast enough for SSD caching since it is MLC.

I definitely don't think a 128gb drive would be big enough to house all the games I want to install, as game installations are getting bigger and bigger these days. Just a few I want to list off the top of my head that I know I'm going to install:

-RAGE 22GB
-Witcher 2 16GB
-Deus Ex: HR 8.5GB
-Starcraft II 12GB
-Battlefield 3 15GB
-Guild Wars 2 15GB
-Diablo 3 (probably at least 10GB)

That's already 98.5GB.

I normally only play 1-2 games at a time, and I know I can just uninstall games after I'm done with them. But I don't want to do that because I may decide to revisit a game I've already beaten later, and I don't want to go through the hassle of re-installation. It's much more comfortable to just have a drive big enough to install everything I want, and I'm willing to sacrifice a small amount of performance for that (as long as it's a small amount).

RetiredChief mentioned having reservations as to using an MLC drive as a cache drive. I'm willing to delay this purchase by around 4-8 months, which may or may not make this entire discussion meaningless, but suffice it to say that the goals are as follows:

1) Comfortably install all the games/applications I want without worrying about storage space.
2) Gain as much speed and performance as possible.
3) Be reasonably certain that my HDD and/or SSD drives don't crash.
4) Spend between $180 - $250 on a combination of SSD/HDD boot drive setup.
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March 11, 2012 5:00:55 PM

Oh, you don't want to uninstall the programs and lose reg settings etc.
Install the progs to the SSD but just copy the ones you are not playing
off to the harddrive and delete them off the SSD.

Then when you want to play them again just copy them back to the SSD
as needed.


2005072,13,950771 said:


I'm currently looking at the Crucial M4 64gb drive but I am not sure if it will be fast enough for SSD caching since it is MLC.

I definitely don't think a 128gb drive would be big enough to house all the games I want to install, as game installations are getting bigger and bigger these days. Just a few I want to list off the top of my head that I know I'm going to install:

-RAGE 22GB
-Witcher 2 16GB
-Deus Ex: HR 8.5GB
-Starcraft II 12GB
-Battlefield 3 15GB
-Guild Wars 2 15GB
-Diablo 3 (probably at least 10GB)

That's already 98.5GB.

I normally only play 1-2 games at a time, and I know I can just uninstall games after I'm done with them. But I don't want to do that because I may decide to revisit a game I've already beaten later, and I don't want to go through the hassle of re-installation. It's much more comfortable to just have a drive big enough to install everything I want, and I'm willing to sacrifice a small amount of performance for that (as long as it's a small amount).

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a b V Motherboard
March 11, 2012 11:20:23 PM

onlywei said:
Hi all, I just read the article written in May about the Z68 and the SSD caching feature:

Let's say I get the 20gb Intel SSD 311 product that was mentioned in the article. A Windows 7 64-bit installation takes up around 20GB by itself, and I'm sure a lot of those 20GBs are going to be read all the time when using your computer. Does that mean my SSD is pretty much going to be almost always full of Windows 7 system files, leaving little to no room left over for game level data?

What happens anyway when the SSD cache drive runs out of space because maybe you are trying to load some huge 5gb World of Warcraft MPQ file into it?


The Win 7 OS should be installed on the HDD not in the SSD. This feature of Z68 was introduced when the price of SSD during that time is so high. According to articles and benchmarks the performance of SSD caching is not as high as if you install the the OS(Win 7) on a stand alone SSD. Nowadays you can buy a decent 64GB SSD SATAIII(6Gb/s) less than $100.00 and it's good eough for the OS(Win 7) only. And everything should be installed on the HDD.
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