Today’s review is of MyDigitalSSD’s SuperCache 2 mSATA 128GB SSD, and the FNet HybriDisk caching software. A license key for the HybriDisk software is included with the purchase of the SuperCache 2.
How does a caching SSD work? It works in conjunction with a hard drive disk (HDD) to create what the operating system sees as a single, combined storage partition. A caching SSD utilizes specialized software to determine what programs, data, and/or files that the user accesses most frequently. This “hot” data will be held in a dedicated “caching” partition on the SSD for much quicker access when called for. Less frequently requested data will still reside on the HDD, until such time as it becomes frequently accessed enough to be moved to the SSD cache. What is stored on the SSD cache is dynamic, and changes over time based on actual usage.
Caching SSDs are even becoming much more prevalent in large data centers and enterprise storage systems, as much quicker access to frequently utilized data and routines is particularly beneficial for such usage scenarios.
Boot-up routines are the first and foremost example of what will be immediately moved to the cache and stay there. Boot-up routines run each and every time you power on or reboot your computer. Boot-up time is one area where we expect to see a significant improvement by utilizing a caching SSD and software. We will utilize Greatis Software’s Bootracer to log boot times. Our goal is to determine if the MyDigitalSSD SuperCache 2 and HybriDisk caching software can help a hard drive to attain SSD-like performance.
The MyDigitalSSD SuperCache 2 128GB mSATA SSD is a SATA III, 6 GB/s SSD in the standard 50mm mSATA form factor. It features Toshiba MLC NAND, utilizing the Phison PS3109 controller. The SuperCache 2 is rated for maximum read speeds of up to 550 MB/s, and maximum write speeds of up to 430 MB/s.
Power consumption is stated as less than 0.5w idle, and less than 0.9w active. The SuperCache 2 supports RAID, TRIM and S.M.A.R.T. It is reliability-rated for over 2,000,000 hours mean time between failures (MTBF), and features a three-year warranty.
The SuperCache 2 also features bit error monitoring and management, dynamic and static wear leveling, and dynamic bad block management. The 128GB version of the SuperCache 2 is currently priced on MyDigitalSSD’s website at $99.99, including the FNet HybriDisk caching software license key. The 128GB SuperCache 2 is currently available at Amazon for $99.99 (128GB) which is an excellent price. It is also available in capacities of 24GB, 32GB and 64GB.
Key features of FNet’s HybriDisk caching software include Smart-Swap Technology (SST), which customizes performance to align with the user’s usage patterns, and boot-up time reductions of up to 60%. HybriDisk is easy to install, use and maintain. The user can select the amount of SSD storage to be used manually, or go with the recommended default amount. Full security of all data is maintained if the SSD fails or is removed; or in the event of a power interruption or outage.
MYDIGITALSSD SUPERCACHE 2 COMPONENTS
MyDigitalSSD’s SuperCache 2 is in the standard 50mm mSATA form factor. The SuperCache 2 arrives with a “SuperCache 2″ label covering a large portion of the top side of the printed circuit board. The label also states model number, “128GB mSATA 6G SSD” (6 GB/s), and a reminder that we are about to void the warranty when we remove the label for the next image.
Once we remove the label, we can see a pair of Toshiba 32GB MLC NAND modules, as well as the Phison PS3109 controller.
In this image of the reverse side of the SuperCache 2 mSATA SSD, we can see the remaining two Toshiba 32GB MLC NAND modules.
In this next image, we have a close-up of one of the Toshiba 32GB MLC NAND flash memory modules. Two on the top side of the PCB and the two on the reverse side give us a total of 4 X 32GB modules, for the total capacity of 128GB. After formatting, we are left with 119GB of usable storage.
SATA III TO MSATA ADAPTER
Since our test system’s motherboard does not feature an mSATA slot onboard, it will be necessary for us to utilize a SATA III to mSATA adapter. It simply occupies an unused PCI expansion bay cover slot, and allows us to insert our mSATA SSD into the circuit board’s mSATA slot and secure it to the board with the two screws provided. After we attach our SATA power and data cables and secure the adapter into an unused expansion bay cover slot, we are ready for testing.
In the next images, we see the adapter with the mSATA SSD above it for size comparison, then the adapter with the mSATA SSD installed, and finally a close-up of the installed SuperCache 2 mSATA SSD.