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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just wondering of this is possible
 

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yes. But the capacity will be 2x as large as the smaller drive and 2 x as fast as the slowest drive. (in RAID 0)

Complete waste of time.
 

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So, if I understand you correctly... you're currently booting off of an SSD, and you want to pair it with a [magnetic] HDD to create a single volume? Presumably RAID1 for data redundancy?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes, when my buddy added his 1tb HDD he had to Rene it and go to steam to name that drive :f so can I make them 1 theoretical drive?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by PCBuilder94 View Post

Yes, when my buddy added his 1tb HDD he had to Rene it and go to steam to name that drive :f so can I make them 1 theoretical drive?
yes but it is a complete waste to do so.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Webster View Post

yes but it is a complete waste to do so.
Pretty much.

Essentially you would be chaining yourself to the slowest performance in the set. You would be losing the speed of the SSD; how much would depend on a the RAID controller, HDD cache, interface, OS, etc -- but more than enough to basically negate the whole purpose of an SSD.

Additionally, you would probably be running into volume size and partitioning issues, resulting in unused space or a completely self-defeating multi-partition scenario, not to mention having to completely wipe the drives. If you extended the logical volume via the OS, you're going to just completely cripple the performance by making all volume transactions occur in software. Really, there aren't any options here that improve your setup.

You're much better off using the SSD as boot/OS and running a second drive for games/media/whatever.

I would strongly recommend that you do some solid reading-up on how RAID controllers and RAID levels work. Based on what you're saying/asking I think it might be a bad idea to start messing around with your install just yet.
 

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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.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by givmedew View Post

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 do that.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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. 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.

I could go into detail for many pages, but I shan't. Instead, I refer back to previous advice for this case.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeeK View Post

You're much better off using the SSD as boot/OS and running a second drive for games/media/whatever.
thumb.gif
 

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I am not necessarily disagreeing with you but the reviews are fairly straight forward and in my opinion not really skewed. You def have to try it before you knock it. Also the system doesn't work in the manner that you present it as maybe it is because you thinking of cache as a very very temporary storage facility where as with the Intel software it will write what you use to the SSD since you have 64GB of room that is a lot. One of the nice things about this is you are not using your SSD to store the 80-90% of the unused Windows files. I have installed quite a few windows installations using RT Se7en Lite or similar programs to severely reduce the unused junk there is a lot. For example I don't think most people need voice recognition, touch screen components, HUGE libraries of printer drivers, and tons of languages on a SSD. It doesn't stop there play World of Warcraft and want it on an SSD? Good luck it is huge and a lot of people don't know to go into it and delete the already installed updates that make it even bigger. Then what about the areas you never visit in a game or files that are wasted in a game because it never uses them? Do they need to be on a SSD? No they don't. This is not like windows caching files to memory. These files stay on the drive when you shut down and they stay on the drive for a very long time. Intel doesn't explain how but they do claim it is smart enough to know not to cache files that are being accessed by virus scanners. So it isn't exactly as you think it is.

I also only used SLC drives for builds using that system. It is management free and the second time you load a file it is not writing to the SSD. Also by default Intel doesn't use it for write caching but you can enable that and it will boost your write speeds for a very limited amount of time then Intel will defer those writes to the main drive.

It seems intel put a lot of thought into the system but it ultimately failed to take off as 120+ GB drives went down in price and people just didn't like adopting the system. As early as it was released on laptops a few years ago it was instantly evident that it made a huge difference.

I will not argue that running off your SSD is faster that is obvious because it never writes to the main drive. The thing is though that the Intel caching system greatly improves performance and greatly increases ease of use. It isn't an opinion it is fact. Also I do agree with you that most of the caching systems are very very gimmicky and I honestly saw little to no improvement from my hybrid drive and even the reviews of the PCIe hybrid where not good.

It is just an option and it def is a viable option for owners of SSD drives who feel it is difficult to manage what goes on the SSD and what does not.

I don't use that system anymore as I switched to a 240GB SSD but even a 120GB to me is just not enough to just install and forget. 120GB is plenty if you manage it correctly and set all the desktop, documents, downloads and media folders to another drive but that removes the ease of use.
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I have used this many times on builds and the difference is obvious to the user. Also if you don't think it works just disable it grab stop watch and load an newly installed application then enable it run the application again (they will be the same speed) now run the application a 3rd time! Same with windows experience run it the first time normal hard drive score run it again score goes up run it one more time 2 weeks late guess what same improved score.

Can you honestly say that sounds like it reduces performance?

The only truly very very short term cache on this is the very small amount of room that Intel reservers for write caching if you actually enable write caching. It will make the system perform like an SSD for writes on smaller files. Start moving a several GB file and it will start out at a few hundred MB a sec and then after a GB or few it slows down to the EXACT same speed the normal HD was capable of that way Intel isn't writing huge amounts of data to the SSD and reducing its lifespan. Yet at the same time offering a balance that makes small burst writes as fast as an SSD.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
This
Quote:
Originally Posted by bstover17 View Post

I have 2 1tb mechanical drives in RAID 0 with a SSD boot drive and it works flawlessly. Is this what you are planning on doing? See below....

Intel X25-M 80GB SSD

2x Spinpoint F3 1TB Raid 0
is what I want to do.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeeK View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by givmedew View Post

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 do that.

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.
Quote:
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.
Quote:
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.
Quote:
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.
Quote:
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.
Quote:
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.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by PCBuilder94 View Post

This
Quote:
Originally Posted by bstover17 View Post

I have 2 1tb mechanical drives in RAID 0 with a SSD boot drive and it works flawlessly. Is this what you are planning on doing? See below....

Intel X25-M 80GB SSD

2x Spinpoint F3 1TB Raid 0
is what I want to do.
No that is not what he wanted to do.

What he wants to do really is only possible the way I explained it. It really is just a flat out WIN by doing it. It sounds like exactly what the person would want BUT he has the wrong motherboard and would have to buy a z board and sell his p board.

So basically he either has to trust Intel that they didn't just create this caching system as smoke and mirrors and buy a Z board or he has to just deal with managing his SSD.

The original reason I ended up doing it is because steam would ONLY let you install apps to one drive so I had to choose 64GB SSD or 300GB Velociraptor. If steam had been able to install games to different directories back when I started using the Intel cache I would have never learned how wonderful it was.

Anyways the OP hasn't said anything for a while so he probably figured out what he wanted to do... who knows though.

Oh one thing I forgot to add about the Intel cache system to make sure nobody worries about the drive life. With the Intel cache system write caching is turned off by default in case the system crashes or the power goes out while you are writing. The reality is it recovers this info upon boot anyways but they just don't want to take a chance.

Anyways with write caching off everything still loads quickly but the only thing that ever gets written to the drive are the files that are cached. Since this isn't as much files as you think I would not be surprised if an Intel cached SSD lasted longer than if it was used under normal conditions.

Also it doesn't cache media files Intel is not ******ed! I really feel Intel had laptops in mind originally when they designed this technology because I remember the first laptop that came with it and there was no such thing as z68 back then.
 
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