Corsair Accelerator Series 30GB Cache SSD Review – A Second Wind For Your System

COMPLICATIONS

As with everything new and unexplored, researching before interacting is a good idea. Before getting to the actual data, let me start by saying that the Corsair Accelerator is a great SSD cache drive. Seriously, even without the need for caching, it functions exceptionally as a normal SSD. So, I do not have a problem with the Accelerator, but rather NVELOs Dataplex. Unfortunately, Corsairs Accelerator has to take the hits as it is associated with it.

Now, here is what I meant about reading, and in this case, understanding what you are installing:

Dataplex is licensed on a perpetual, single-user basis. Dataplex may not be used on more than one machine at the same time. Unlimited product activations are allowed on the same PC.

If you wish to transfer the product key for use on another PC, you must first deactivate the original product key by uninstalling Dataplex while you are connected to the internet so that the Dataplex license manager can properly log the request. Then, you may install Dataplex on the new machine.

It is essentially DRM…on hardware. Take heed that Dataplex only works for authorized SSDs, as it checks hardware during installation. Therefore, having to put in the serial code twice, once for software download and once during installation is not needed. If anything, the hardware check is enough of a security check, and perhaps even an integrated code within the SSD would have sufficed. Even then, there is no need as the software will not install unless the SSD is registered with NVELO.

Now, the software is relatively new and unexplored, so difficulties are to be expected. In accordance, NVELO has provided a list of restrictions and limitations:

Concerning my experience, something went haywire during the install process, where the BIOS could not locate any partitions on either of the drives present. It persisted, eventually leading to the Windows Repair console, which did not recognize any of my drives, or their partitions.

I did notice something interesting here. Both the WDC Black and Corsair Accelerator were renamed to Unallocated Space, showing 100% empty (which clearly was not the case). Oddly, the System Reserved partition had grown from 100Mb (the usual) to 1006Mb. Thankfully, all of my data was still intact, but I still have no clue what exactly happened during installation to corrupt the process.

Again, this has nothing to do with the state of the Corsair Accelerator directly. All of this, however, is something you should make note of before and after installing it.

Luckily, one of our Forum Administrators (Sean) received a beta copy of NVELO’s upcoming Dataplex release, which solves many of the restrictions in the table above and introduces a plethora of new features. You can read his incredibly comprehensive write-up here.

With that out of the way, let us check out what makes the Accelerator such a tantalizing option for breathing new life into an old system.

BENCHMARKS AND RESULTS

The synthetic benchmarks are listed first, followed by real-world tests. For consistencys sake, many of the results from these various benchmark programs will yield virtually the same results, and test the same areas of the hybrid setup.

ATTO DISK BENCHMARK VER. 2..47

The ATTO Disk Benchmark measures storage performance with various transfer sizes and test lengths for reads and writes. Several options are available to customize performance measurement including queue depth, overlapped I/O and even a comparison mode with the option to run continuously. ATTO is rated to test RAID controllers, storage controllers, host adapters, hard drives and SSD drives.

Western Digital Caviar Black (Normal)

Western Digital Caviar Black (Cached)

The speed difference is gigantic. Normally, the WDC Black performs at 85MB/s read and 75MB/s write. With the Corsair Accelerator, it blasts to 275MB/s read and 240MB/s write!

8 comments

  1. I got this SSD and I think that with time there is a degradation in term or performance (probably from NVELO). I bought it more than 2 months ago and this week I uninstalled NVELO and reinstalled it.

    I did run ATTO Disk Benchmark, before that I change anything, after while I was on my HDD only and after the reinstall.

    Before the reinstall: 94MB/s read and 144MB/s write (50MB/s more in write? Seems strange to me)
    On HDD only, I got : 76MB/s read and 75MB/s write
    After the reinstall: 205MB/s read and 208MB/s write. (I also have a lot more reactivity, and game are loading faster)

    I would like to know, if you have ever got a loss of performance with NVELO (Corsair, Crucial or OCZ)!

    • Hi Golden,

      Sorry for the late reply. I have been running Dataplex/Accelerator for about a month now. I took a quick test and here are the results: https://bit.ly/MypDRZ

      Not a big loss of performance, and everything seems to be running well for me. As I’ve said in the review, I’m not a big fan of Dataplex and it still needs some work, because there are bugs like the one you have. I noticed that after waking-up from sleep/hibernation, and after a system restore, the cache gets messed up and starts under-performing and bogging down until you’re forced to reboot.

      I do neither of those on a regular basis. I always shut-down my computers, and I tried system restore to mimic your performance. I can say that there is a bit of a performance loss (again possibly due to the way Dataplex handles the cache), but not as extreme as yours.

      Like you, I also found that reinstalling Dataplex after a system restore, or anything directly affecting the system for that matter, will give you the performance back.

      I believe it’s a good idea to reinstall Dataplex every month or so. Takes about a minute total, and it’ll ensure it runs properly. It’s a hassle, and keep in mind Dataplex is somewhat new, but hopefully the beta/newer versions take this into consideration.

      I’ll keep you updated if I find anything new.

      • Hi Deepak,

        My computer is regularly in sleep mode so maybe that’s why it got so slow. But when I did the test it had reboot before so it’s just strange. It looks like when a computer got in sleep mode even if rebooted it still got a little loss and with time it becomes a big loss. For me, my loss are not from a system restore since I have not use that for more than a year.

        Thanks for the information.

      • No problem, and yes that is very unusual.

        The only answer I can think of is, perhaps the system considers the hybrid set-up as a hard-drive set-up (since the SSD isn’t present in disk management), and still uses the normal healthy functions meant for a hard-drive (defragmentation, for example), which could be leading to drive/cache degradation.

        I can’t really say as I don’t know how Dataplex is built from the ground up, but just theorizing.

        The good thing is that the new version is released (1.1.3.7):

        https://www.corsair.com/accelerator-software/

        https://www.nvelo.com/dataplex-download/corsair/ReleaseNotes_v1.1.3.7.txt

        My favourite updates:
        – Dataplex Collect Logs – System information collection utility
        – DR – Dataplex Recovery utility (bootable USB)
        – Resolved: Incompatibility issue with Acronis.

        Give it a shot. Hopefully it fixes your issue. I will update as well. Remember to uninstall the previous version first.

        Good luck!

  2. I bought a 30Gb Corsair Accelerator a few weeks ago and changed the SATA to ACHI as recommended and installed Dataplex etc. At first all was ok untill one day the PC would not boot. I treid all ways to fix it but in the end rebuilt it from an image I created before installing Dataplex. The problem now is that the Dataplex software will not allow me to use the SSD. It says ‘not recognised’ but it is recognised by the PC. There is obvious a block on using it twice and that is unfair to anyone who has to rebuild their system. Therefore I would not recommend using it at this time.

  3. I’ve got a stupid question about this test and Dataplex. When you mention “primary drive” or “single drive”, you’re speaking about logical and/or physical drives (hard drives and/or partitions). If I have 1 single HDD but 2 partitions on it (C: and D:), I can only cache one of these. Not both. And it must be the boot one. Is that correct?
    What if I have my system on C: and my games dir on D:? (I think I can guess the answer to this one).
    Thanks in advance to anybody who takes the time to answer to this one.

    • At present, this caching software ONLY caches the boot drive of the system.

    • I would like to mention also that partitioning a hard drive while it may prevent fragmentation it also will slow down the overall performance by increasing the average seek rate. Using the right software you can place your files that you use the least often to the inner tracks. It is estimated that people use 20% of their files 80% of the time. Partitions are great for storing back up images or similar files but overall are going to be unwanted if you access that partition on a daily basis.

      It’s a similar concept to windows “superprefetch” and the caching that occurs with these accelerators.

      It is also worth mentioning that you can create a ramdisk from installed memory that will be faster than any other possible option. It is recommended to have 6+GB but if you want to run a game and have the fastest possible speeds I recommend looking into the software that creates a virtual disk out of extra ram and loading it within that. Of course data loss can be expected if any sudden power outages occur.

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