OCZ Synapse Cache SATA 3 64GB SSD Review – Top Caching Solution At a Great Price

This morning, I awoke to test my computer as I had installed the OCZ Synapse Cache the night prior.  My hard drive is a Samsung M8 1TB hard drive and the typical start time was just under two minutes.  It started in 14 seconds!

Our review today is on the OCZ Synapse Cache SATA III 64 GB SSD and our report methodology is simply, “Can the OCZ Synapse Cache give a hard drive the performance of an SSD?”  Your going to be surprised!

 INTRODUCTION

Analyst predictions showed as much as a 25% increase in hard drive prices in result to the flooding in Thailand.  Just this morning, our SSD Forum Moderator, Hameister, continued his investigation of rising SSD prices to demonstrate New Eggs rise of HDD prices by an amazing 300%!  This is GREAT news for the SSD industry as it gives the ‘SSD First’ concept equal footing in the consumers performance vs. capacity dilemma when selecting a storage medium for their PC.  But what about present day hard drive owners?

Not even three weeks have passed since our review and release of the OCZ RevoDrive Hybrid 1TB PCIe SSD where the idea of performance and capacity became an affordable computer option.  As great of a drive as the Hybrid is, however, the consumer searched for a similar option where they could gain the performance of a SSD yet don’t want to lose their data or use of the hard drive they have already invested in.

OCZ thinks they may have found just that in their SATA III Synapse Cache SSD. It’s release is meant to appeal to the consumer who already has a well established computer system yet would like the performance of an SSD without breaking the bank. Having just searched the internet for initial pricing of the Synapse Cache and finding the 64GB version we are testing today at $154.99, we think OCZ may be on the right track.

SPECIFICATIONS

The OCZ Synapse Cache is available in capacities of 64GB and 128GB and we immediately found their pricing to be about $155 and $229 with a bit of a comparison search.  It is a SATA III SSD, fully compatible with SATA II systems and performance is listed at 550MB/s read and 490MB/s write with up to 75,000 IOPS at 4k random write disk access.  The drive caches through use of the integrated Dataplex Caching software, has a standard 3 year warranty, is TRIM compliant and comes with a 2.5″ to 3.5″ desktop adapter.

SSD ARCHITECTURE

The Synapse Cache SSD has a hard plastic casing face with metal back plate which protects the printed circuit board (PCB) of the drive.  To disassemble the SSD, destruction of the OCZ security sticker is necessary along with removal of four screws located on the back of the drive.  Any damage of the OCZ security sticker voids your warranty.  Further removal of four internal screws then release the PCB from the shell itself.

The PCB contains the SATA 3 interface, SF-2281 processor and eight pieces of Micron 25nm 8GB asynchronous NAND flash memory (29 F64G08CBAAA).  There is nothing situated on the back of the PCB.

Of interest is the fact that, once formatted, the user is only left with just over 29GB of available disk space. The reason for such is that 50% of the capacity is allocated to over provisioning while the remainder is utilized for SandForce firmware needs.

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Anonymous
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Anonymous

Nice review. I immediately thought I need to get one 🙂 Then I realized that it might not work for me as I have a number of drives in my PC. I only really need to cache two drives for this to be effective. Can you confirm that it can only cache one drive?

Les@TheSSDReview
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When you install the Dataplex software, it asks you to identify a single hard drive to cache. It was only through experimenting that I learned that all logical drives on that hard drive are cached as well.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Thanks for the review. This is a nice product. As an HDD user I still find the price a little high for my taste, but it’s a more convincing product than an SSD for me, because the size of the virtual SSD can be as large as the HDD I install, which means I can don’t have to worry how I arrange my disk, and if I upgrade the HDD to a larger one I get more cached space. So I’ll try to remember to keep an eye on this for when the opportunity arises to get something from the… Read more »

Anonymous
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Anonymous

From OCZs website: Your Dataplex licensing key is only valid on one machine. Dataplex uses various components to identify a PC (memory, OS, CPU Id, BIOS, Ethernet card); if two or more components change, it is considered a different machine. If you wish to change only one component, Dataplex will automatically revalidate the license as long as there is an internet connection when the PC is rebooted. You must uninstall Dataplex to release the license prior to changing two or more components in your system. Licenses cannot be released after the system is no longer valid. Please contact OCZ tech… Read more »

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Thanks. This doesn’t discuss changing the drive that is cached, but I assume from this that you can uninstall and reinstall and change drive that way. If that’s possible then it’s possible there’s also a simpler way to do it.

Ryan Lewandowski
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Thank you so much for the review. I have been waiting for a review before picking on of these up. The only last question! Is it worth it to get a 128gb drive? or is 64gb sufficient? I have a 1tb hdd. Will the 128gb give better performance?

Les@TheSSDReview
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The only benefit one may gain between the 128GB and 64GB is overall lifespan of the drive IMHO as the 64GB provides just under a 30GB cache which is plenty to ensure the hard drive reaches top SATA 3 speeds.

Egoroff
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Egoroff

Would you consider the Synapse in a new build. The price difference between a Synapse 64GB and Vertex 3 90GB is only $20 locally. I’ve been considering the Vertex 3 90GB as a boot/application drive with HDD as file storage, with a new Z68 MOBO. Can you imagine any advantage using the Synapse to cache via Intel SRT instead. It seems the cache setup would make disk management easier as one wouldn’t have to monitor disk space on the SSD as boot drive or configure the file system to store on HDD only, as all practices with the cache setup… Read more »

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

The3 key is that the cache is tied to the drive you identify. The benefit is that it provides SATA 3 performance over the entire hard drive, whereas, otherwise only the boot drive and its contents enjoy the speed of the SSD and any hard drive would not.

As a comparison to Intel SRT, we did not do any comparison in the Synapse review.

Egoroff
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Egoroff

Using Synapse for cache in a new build rather than an SSD as boot drive is starting to seem more and more reasonable, kind of elegant really. Also way more cost-effective than having to go high-end on price for a large capacity SSD to get full effect of SSD performance. Cool. Hopefully the licensing policy doesn’t turn out to be a hindrance. Thanks for your reply.

Shamsc
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Shamsc

what happens if you remove the Synapse Cache drive after using it for few days but do not uninstall the software? The system will continue to work as it was working before the drive and software was installed?

i am basically wondering if I can use it as an external cache drive, i will hook it up when i am at home and disconnect it when i take the laptop outside. 🙂

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

If you remove the Synapse cache drive once all is installed, the system will not boot and this is the same if you elect to remove the hard drive. Dataplex ties both together for the computer to function properly.

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