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

INITIAL HARD DRIVE TESTING

On migrating the Test Bench over to the Samsung HDD, the first thing I took note of was the reboot.  It was long.  I actually restarted it three times aft the initial reboot to capture the time.  None of the tests were less than 1 minute and 40 seconds.  Remember now, this is a well established system and not a fresh install.

ATTO DISK BENCHMARK VER. 2.46

ATTO Disk Benchmark is perhaps one of the oldest benchmarks going and is definitely the main staple for manufacturer performance specifications. ATTO uses RAW or compressible data and, for our benchmarks, we use a set length of 256mb and test both the read and write performance of various transfer sizes ranging from 0.5 to 8192kb. Manufacturers prefer this method of testing as it deals with raw (compressible) data rather than random (includes incompressible data) which, although more realistic, results in lower performance results.

CRYSTAL DISK BENCHMARK VER. 3.0 X64

Crystal Disk Benchmark is used to measure read and write performance through sampling of raw (0/1 Fill/compressible) or random data which is, for the most part, incompressible.

ANVIL STORAGE UTILITIES PROFESSIONAL (BETA)

Over the last little while, we have been assisting with beta besting new benchmark software called Anvil Storage Utilities which is an absolutely amazing SSD benchmarking utility.  Not only does it have a preset SSD benchmark, but also, it has included such things as endurance testing and threaded I/O read, write and mixed tests, all of which are very simple to understand and utilize in our benchmark testing. Today it gets a crack at hard drive testing as well.

The final results of HDD testing shouldn’t be much of a surprise as we have been stating for years that the disk access time of the SSD is about 90 times faster than that of a typical SSD.  The access time is primarily responsible for the largest visible upgrade that you will see when moving from hard drive to SSD.

The next key element is the small 4k random write disk access which,  in an SSD, now averages somewhere in the 80-90MB/s range.

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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
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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
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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.