Originally Posted by SeeK
Originally Posted by givmedew
If you had a z68 or z77 and maybe some other motherboards you could use Intel's technology that allows you to use the large drive for everything but it automatically puts the files you use onto the SSD. The first time you run the file or program it is normal speed the next time you run it then it will be near SSD speed. The thing with programs and especially windows is that a large majority of the information barely gets used. To make matters worse if you don't change your desktop, my docs and everything else to store on another drive it is difficult to manage a small SSD.
The reviews are very favorable and to the point so there really isn't much argument in the fact that the Intel cache system is a useful and well performing system. Especially for SSD drives 64GB and under.
Nope. Do not
This is going to end up degrading your OS performance vs. OS boot from the SSD. Here's why:
1) These awful gimmicky caching systems are going to turn all your would-be SSD reads from your OS drive into writes and then read them off
again. Windows is already designed to use your RAM to cache files, which is MUCH faster. At best, that's a speed gain of zero, but due to the extra writes your performance will be somewhat reduced. It's not magic, the slower drive will still need to be read -- a lot. If it didn't then you wouldn't need the cache at all, you could just install everything to the SDD (which would be faster/better than caching anyway).
Yea, after a few reads apps and files are put on the SSD. They then stay there. Only data that is mostly used is cache, not everything. And it takes a few uses before the data is actually written. I wouldn't say it is gimmicky at all. It works quite well. I've used intel's system on a RAID 0 array and expresscache in my laptop and it is night and day sometimes. In my laptop with expresscache i see 20 second boot vs 1 min 30 sec. lol The experience is similar to my SSD in my desktop overall. Without the caching in the laptop it is extremely slow to the point that it is unbearable for me to use. With the RAID 0 array games from steam and apps load much faster.
2) SSDs are essentially a matrix of re-writable non-volatile memory cells. Each of these cells can only be written to a certain number of times before they become unwritable -- in a word, they die. Now, in addition to that, the number of writes adversely affects drive operation (read/write) speed. For example, a drive that's worn near the end of it's lifecycle can perform very slowly. SSDs also need to use a wear algorithm to spread drive writes as evenly as possible in order to make them last longer. Now, normally, the lifecycle of the drive is intended to be more or less comparable to your average magnetic HDD under normal use, but there are things you can do that will severely shorten an SSDs life. I've seen SSDs die or reduced to unusable speeds in a matter of weeks of heavy/inappropriate use. Storage device caching requires a lot of writes to be effective, which is going to wear your drive out more quickly.
You are blowing it out of proportion. as a cache device they will not die due to writes. Even then when the SSDs die it is usually from component failure (usually the controller), not NAND being written to its max.
3) There are a number of tweaks you can do to increase performance/lifespan of SSDs under Windows, among them is disabling the swap file where possible (usually 8GB+ with Win7) to reduce the number of writes to the drive (and possibly improve performance). So, when used as a dedicated cache/swap, essentially most of the things you can do to improve drive life and performance evaporate, but you gain a system that will degrade it more quickly.
Disabling the page file only improves performance if you use the page file a lot. If you monitor your page file usage you would notice it is rarely used in windows 7 and 8. For the average user it does not affect performance or increase life by disabling it. I suggest not disabling it completely and just having it set to 1GB or so, not just for SSDs, but for all systems. It is an extra buffer in case you need more RAM.
4) There are many types of files/activities that just don't need to be cached at all. For example, It's harmless when a video file is cached to RAM, but there's simply no need for better performance from this file in almost all practical cases. Writing that video file to SSD cache will cause wear on the drive, but since you could easily stream it from a MUCH, MUCH slower device without performance issues it's a complete waste to read it back from the SSD.
Usually that file wouldn't be cached to the SSD. And depending on the setup it wouldn't make a difference if it or part of the file were cached anyways. You are really blowing the whole write thing out of proportion.
SSDs can write hundreds of terabytes to the NAND and still run fine.
5) If you want better drive performance, buy better drives. Want games to load with SSD speed? Buy a large SSD and just install games on it.
Couldn't agree more.
More RAM == better caching anyway, 8GB is usually more than enough for most people, and 16GB is really a ton (for now, haha). This advice may seem obvious, but it is so because it really is just that simple. It's simply the better solution in all cases.
After a certain point more RAM doesn't mean more being cached. I have 32GB of RAM. When I am not using it on projects Windows rarely caches much to it at all.