Intel plans to offer its SSD caching functionality on the upcoming desktop Z68 platform, and only that platform. HighPointâ€™s RocketHybrid solution claims to achieve the same functionality, and itâ€™s available as a PCI Express add-in card for only $59.
Everyone is waiting for Intelâ€™s next LGA 1155 chipset announcement, which we previewed in Intel Z68 Express Chipset Preview: SSD Caching And Quick Sync. Z68 is expected to fix shortcomings of the existing H67/P67 Express models and add SSD caching capabilities to the LGA 1155 platform (Ed.: here's a hint: keep your eyes open for more in the next 24 hours). As of right now, you can either build an overclocked system on P67 Express or use the integrated graphics engine on H67, giving up processor overclocking entirely. Z68 is expected to rectify that major marketing-driven oversight and support more flexible combination's of the integrated graphics unit, external graphics, and overclocking.
Regardless of these expected additions, Intel is aiming at maximizing storage performance by utilizing hard disks and a solid-state drive, which can be utilized as a high-speed cache. While we expect this feature to be an attractive option, it will be limited to the Z68 Express chipset. Consequently, if you've ignored our recommendations to "wait for Z68" and already made the jump into a Sandy Bridge-based platform, you'll be forced to buy a new motherboard in order to get access to SSD caching.
Fortunately, that's not your only option. HighPoint recently launched a PCI Express-based storage controller that performs the same task at a fairly modest price.