SSD Types and Form Factors – An SSD Primer

DUAL DRIVES SYSTEMS, HYBRID AND DISK CACHING

It wouldn’t be fair to complete this article without mention of some of the other emerging technologies and considerations that could assist the consumer.  As much of a benefit as hard drive capacity is, it is simply a killer in performance.  As incredible as SSD performance is, higher capacity necessitates a higher price.  The key to this will definitely be the combination of both at a price the consumer is willing to pay.

For the desktop, OCZ tackled that with the RevoDrive Hybrid PCIe SSD which gives us the performance of the Revo 3 SSD coupled with the 1TB capacity of the hard drive.  This is a great solution for desktop users and utilizes NVELO Dataplex disk caching software to accomplish this.

Disk caching is simply the retention of ‘hot’ programs and data within the SSD cache while those files seldom used remain on the hard drive.  The advantage here is the fact that the frequently used data is learned, remembered and remains in the cache even after the computer has been shut down.  This is the beauty behind 17 second start ups and faster performance with a cached drive in comparison to those minute plus start ups we see in a typicle system.

NOTEBOOKS AND ULTRABOOKS

While disk caching is a huge benefit to desktop systems, it has not yet reached the notebook crowd and this may be due, in part, to the lack of portable systems that allow for dual hard drives or a mSATA SSD and a hard drive.  In our testing of the NVELO Dataplex software, we used a Lenovo X220 which contains both an mSATA SSD and hard drive.  During our testing, we switched off seven different mSATA SSDs and tested their performance as a standalone SSD as well as a caching SSD for the NVELO software.

Lets take a look at the results of each and every one of the mSATA drives we tested.  The darker bars represent read and write speeds of just the mSATA SSD while the lighter bars represent the performance of the hard drive while the mSATA SSDs were using NVELO Dataplex to cache.

For the desktop, disk caching certainly improves on our former recommendation of purchasing a moderate size SSD for a boot drive and hard drive for storage of larger media to include video, music and pictures.  For the notebook however, we have to look at options available to meet our needs.  This might mean a higher priced SSD, or purchase of a system with dual drive bays or a mSATA and HDD bay, or, we have seen many swap out their DVD drive for a hard drive and adapter in the past.

One thing appears certain though.  The future looks good!

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