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Need some SSD caching advice

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#1
My new 240gb Kingson HyperX 3K arrived today and I've already cloned windows from my old 120gb OCZ Solid 3 onto it, and so far so good. But I'm interested in using my Solid 3 (SF2281) either has a cache drive paired with my 1TB velociraptor, or trading it with the 40gb Corsair F40 (SF1200) and using that as my cache drive. I know there are limitations toward how much physical nand can be used as cache (60gb?), but given the Solid 3 offers a lot more performance and that my HTPC is limited to SATA II I'm not going to see much increase in performance putting the Solid 3 in my HTPC.

But my question is what is the best approach? I have a Z68 motherboard (Asus P8Z68-V Pro Gen3) so I could use the Intel Smart Response built in, or I could buy a dedicated card such as the HighPoint RocketCache 3240X8. I can't seem to get a clear answer if the Intel route supports configuration as a non-boot volume, or if it HAS to have Windows on it. The HighPoint card is apparently not bootable, and can only be used as a storage volume. This is what I really want, to be able to have the SSD cache for my raptor which stores all my games and some secondary applications.

So can anyone confirm for me that you can use Intel's SRT on a storage volume alone? Also one thing that I found interesting about the HighPoint card is that it supports using multiple SSDs as cache, essentially allowing me to raid multiple SSDs as the cache for my raptor, which I imagine would boost performance considerably. So I could track down a few more F40s and really get some nice performance.

Thanks for reading, and I hope someone has some insight that can help me move forward. :)
 

Phusius

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#2
If it were me, I would use both the extra SSD and 1 TB HDD as just storage drives, and keep the games I play currently using Steam Mover, etc on my new 240gb SSD. pics/movies/music/documents leave in storage drive. Just my two cents.
 
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#3
Hmm I hadn't considered that, but it might be a bit tricky in my case. I mean, I regularly play a number of games and for instance SWTOR is 40gb, Shogun 2 is 30gb, BF3 is 20gb, and TF2 is 11gb so just those 4 alone would fill the Solid 3 and they are always getting bigger with new DLC and content adding patches. So I thought having it all software managed might be best. That way I can keep all my games installed and the ones I play most often would be adapted to get the best performance, and if I grow bored of a game and want to play something else for a while presumably the software would adapt to that and I wouldn't have to spend time swapping folders and deleting/reinstalling things.
 
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#4
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#5
Thanks Anusha, everything I had found thus far had only discussed using it as a boot volume, I guess that is what most people would use it for but I would rather have standard SSD for my boot volume and main applications and hybrid storage for my secondary applications and games. All my music, movies, photos, etc are all stored on my 12tb server in my office, so I have very little in the way of media on my desktop.

So I guess now the question is, is Intel's SRT sufficient or should I drop $170 on the highpoint card? Does anyone here actually use SRT that can chime in and share their experiences thus far? Intel tends to do a lot of high quality engineering and validation so I'd probably put them above the usual 3rd party software solutions, but then again I've also had nightmares trying to use the HD 3000 on my HTPC, drivers were horrible, I'd get artifacts on and off between driver upgrades and I know it wasn't cooling because its a 35w TDP chip (i3 2100T) cooled with a twin fan Antec 620.

Thanks a lot for your input so far guys
 
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#6
Intel's is sufficient.
 
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#7
Great article and looks like SRT can do what you want. Better off trying the Intel before blowing $170 on an add in card.
 
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#8
I'll expand a bit on "Intel's is Sufficient".

Intel has a history in the RAID controller space. Much more so than in the graphics space.

I'm currently using SRT to accelerate my boot 'device'. It works wonderfully. Using the larger Solid drive will definitely help vs the 20GB intel drive I'm using. (with regards to data eviction, at least).

Also, since you're accelerating the non-boot drive you won't need to worry about your Windows files 'clogging' up the cache. It'll only be filled with your specific game blocks.

It's super easy to set up, you can always change your mind, and it uses effective algorithms. You really don't have a reason not to at least try it.
 
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#9
I will add to Eldest's information.

I'm using Intel SRT on my Windows Server 2008R2 box to pair up a 750Gb RAID1 array and a 240GB Agility 3 SSD for accelerating all of my virtual machines (ie: a non-boot volume.) Rather than speeding up the boot time of the host server itself, which almost never reboots, I'm instead speeding up the disk performance of all of my virtual guests.

The performance is drastically different when comparing the VHD performance from the spindles themselves versus SRT in caching mode. I highly suggest it.

EDIT: The storage subsystem of that server looks like this:

Intel ICH10R Controller
  • 320GB RAID 1 array (OS boot + apps)
320GB WD Scorpio Black
320GB WD Scorpio Black​
  • 750GB RAID 1 array (VHD storage)
750GB WD Scorpio Black
750GB WD Scorpio Black
240GB OCZ Agility 3 (SRT acceleration enabled)​
  • LG 12x BDRW

HighPoint 2720SGL SAS RAID Controller
  • 6TB RAID 6 Array (WHS storage)
1TB WD Scorpio Blue
1TB WD Scorpio Blue
1TB WD Scorpio Blue
1TB WD Scorpio Blue
1TB WD Scorpio Blue
1TB WD Scorpio Blue
1TB WD Scorpio Blue
1TB WD Scorpio Blue​
 
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#10
I will add to Eldest's information.

I'm using Intel SRT on my Windows Server 2008R2 box to pair up a 750Gb RAID1 array and a 240GB Agility 3 SSD for accelerating all of my virtual machines (ie: a non-boot volume.) Rather than speeding up the boot time of the host server itself, which almost never reboots, I'm instead speeding up the disk performance of all of my virtual guests.

The performance is drastically different when comparing the VHD performance from the spindles themselves versus SRT in caching mode. I highly suggest it.

EDIT: The storage subsystem of that server looks like this:
<snip>
Does the enterprise version of SRT still have the 64GB limitation?
 
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#11
I'm not actually using the enterprise version. It's a Z77 chipset, so I'm using the commodity / standard version of RST that installs without issue on a Server 2008R2 OS. Thus, I'm using 64GB for cache and the other ~160 usable for scratch space.