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Data Storage Upgrades

A Hybrid Approach For SSD Speed From Your 2TB HDD 194

Claave writes "bit-tech.net reports that SilverStone has announced a device that daisy-chains an SSD with a hard disk, with the aim of providing SSD speeds plus loads of storage space. The SilverStone HDDBoost is a hard disk caddy with an integrated storage controller, and is an easy upgrade for your PC. The device copies the 'front-end' of your hard disk to the SSD, and tells your OS to prefer the SSD when possible. SSD speeds for a 2TB storage device? Yep, sounds good to me!"
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A Hybrid Approach For SSD Speed From Your 2TB HDD

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  • Save your money... (Score:1, Informative)

    by damn_registrars ( 1103043 ) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @02:59PM (#31013354) Homepage Journal
    To use this in a desktop, you need
    • An available 3.5" bay
    • A 2.5" hard drive
    • An SSD of whatever size you can afford

    This seems like a lot of money to spend for potentially not a lot of speed. Generally, 2.5" hard drives aren't quite as fast as their 3.5" counterparts anyways, so you're spending a fair bit of money to speed up something that wasn't really made for speed anyways.

    Sure, you can "drop it right in" to your existing computer, assuming that your desktop is for some reason already using 2.5" SATA drives. And if your desktop is currently using 2.5" SATA drives you probably didn't build it to be a speed demon anyways.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @03:01PM (#31013386) Journal
    Or, you can just use ZFS and turn on the L2ARC, which will use the SSD as a cache for the hard disks and not need any custom hardware.
  • You mean like in... (Score:5, Informative)

    by kungfuj35u5 ( 1331351 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @03:02PM (#31013402)
    ZFS? Hybrid storage pools have been around for a long while, and exist as a pretty well balanced software solution to this problem. Hybrid solid-state/magnetic disks were in the market as well which used a similar technique. There is nothing new or impressive about this device.
  • by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @03:07PM (#31013462)
    This thing uses 3.5" drives, or you could slap it onto a 2.5" drive if you wanted to. The thing TAKES THE FORM OF a drive caddy - it is not a drive caddy.

    Actually, after looking at it more, it is a drive caddy -- for a 2.5" SSD. This device basically acts as a daisy chain controller that you hook both a 2.5" SSD and a regular 3.5" HD to. The controller then presents the combined device to the BIOS/OS as a single drive.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @03:10PM (#31013508)

    I don't see where a 2.5" HD is required

    If you RTFA, you'll see

    The device takes the form of a 2.5in to 3.5in hard disk caddy with a couple of SATA connectors on the end

    Which makes sense, as a 3.5 bracket with a 3.5 hard drive and an SSD would not fit in a standard 3.5 bay.

    It may be possible instead to dedicate one of your 3.5 bays to this, running SATA cables from your 3.5 drive to it (and then to the SATA controller). But then you've just used a full bay for one SSD and a silly gizmo.

    Besides, have you ever heard of a 2.5" 2TB drive?

    No, but we don't let reality get in the way of a good slashvertisement around here.

    If only they made 2.5" SSD's then you could put THAT int he caddy and use a regular 3.5" in another bay. If only such magical things existed.

  • Re:What 2TB HD? (Score:4, Informative)

    by NitroWolf ( 72977 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @03:12PM (#31013534)

    This adapter is for 2.5" hard drives - if you put a 3.5 drive in it, you wouldn't fit drive+adapter+SSD into a 3.5" bay. Who makes a 2TB 2.5" SATA drive currently? I am not aware of any...

    Seriously... did not one read the article? You mount the fucking 2.5" drive in the caddy and mount your 3.5" HD where you would normally mount it and run a fucking cable from your HD to the caddy. Is this so fucking hard to get a grasp on? For christs sake.

  • by Seth Kriticos ( 1227934 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @03:22PM (#31013642)

    They are a bit confusing. The manual ( http://www.silverstonetek.com/downloads/Manual/storage/Multi-HDDBOOST-Manual.pdf [silverstonetek.com] ) though says, that the HDD has to be de-fragmented before usage. They don't mention other software, though they mention Windows here and there. The manual states though, that any OS supporting SATA will do.

    (It's a Windows pussy thing again, you can freely ignore it).

  • by HannethCom ( 585323 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @03:27PM (#31013708)
    This solution uses two 3.5 inch drive bays in your computer, one for your large platter drive, the other for the caddy with a SSD drive.

    Some software is installed (Windows only) that makes the two drives look like one.

    The most used files from the large drive are copies to the smaller SSD drive. When files cached on the SSD drive are requested, they are read from there, if they do not exist there the request is passed onto the bigger drive. If the file is being used enough it will be copied to the SSD drive at the same time as the information is getting sent to the computer. You will not get SSD drive speeds in this case.

    Yes, this is just using a SSD drive as a cache.

    The product does not come with SSD storage, you have to buy a SSD drive of your choosing as well as this caddy.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @03:36PM (#31013814)

    USB drives speeds are in the 20-30 MB/s. SSD drives are 150-250 MB/s. Conventional HDDs are 50-100 MB/s

  • by jgagnon ( 1663075 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @03:38PM (#31013838)

    Except that then you're at USB speeds instead of SATA speeds.

  • Re:Holy carp! (Score:3, Informative)

    by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @03:58PM (#31014054)

    RAID 0 is for chumps. You get a similar read speed boost from RAID 1*

    * read performance only

  • by compro01 ( 777531 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @04:03PM (#31014118)

    Microsoft has a concept they call readydrive for this, mostly for laptops. It was released with vista (Not in XP and I never heard anything about Linux support) and seems to have kinda died. Last I heard anything about hardware was in 2007 with releases from the usual names (Samsung, Seagate, etc.), and I saw a few reviews (which appeared rather underwhelming (supposedly due to poor drivers), which resulted in a blame game between Microsoft and the manufactures over who's fault that was), but I don't think I ever saw the devices for sale.

    There's also plans to include this type of functionality in the ATA-8 spec.

  • Re:Just a cache? (Score:3, Informative)

    by amorsen ( 7485 ) <benny+slashdot@amorsen.dk> on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @04:18PM (#31014268)

    since SSD drives in fact ARE DRAM!

    No. DRAM doesn't keep state across power loss, and it's a lot more expensive, just like the OP said.

  • by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @04:46PM (#31014592)

    Who the hell creates a ZFS drive by using mkfs.zfs?

    zpool create tank mirror sdb sdc works just fine under Debian.

  • by mariushm ( 1022195 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @06:24PM (#31015882)

    From what I read in the article, you have to defragment the big hard drive because the SSD will fill up with the data at the beginning of the drive. The read and write requests are just caught by whatever chip they use so when the OS requests a read from the start of the drive, the data from SSD is sent instead. Same for writes.

    So the SSD acts just like level 2 cache for the first 32-64-whatever GB of the big disk. The rest will never be optimized.

  • by complete loony ( 663508 ) <Jeremy.Lakeman @ g m a il.com> on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @06:46PM (#31016174)
    Yeah, it simply mirrors the start of your HD, up to the size of the SSD. It doesn't look like there's any intelligence in the way it caches content. So if you have more data stored on the HD than the size of the SSD, the performance of reading this data will be ever so slightly slower than reading from the HD directly.
  • Re:Holy carp! (Score:3, Informative)

    by radish ( 98371 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @11:39PM (#31018606) Homepage

    Putting your swap file on a RAM-Disk has long been the stereotypical geek example of human stupidity...someone who knows just enough to be very dangerous.

    Likewise declaring someone stupid when it turns out YOU are the one who needs to do a little learning. Quoting the Windows Engineering Blog [msdn.com]:

    Should the pagefile be placed on SSDs?

    Yes. Most pagefile operations are small random reads or larger sequential writes, both of which are types of operations that SSDs handle well.

    In looking at telemetry data from thousands of traces and focusing on pagefile reads and writes, we find that

            * Pagefile.sys reads outnumber pagefile.sys writes by about 40 to 1,
            * Pagefile.sys read sizes are typically quite small, with 67% less than or equal to 4 KB, and 88% less than 16 KB.
            * Pagefile.sys writes are relatively large, with 62% greater than or equal to 128 KB and 45% being exactly 1 MB in size.

    In fact, given typical pagefile reference patterns and the favorable performance characteristics SSDs have on those patterns, there are few files better than the pagefile to place on an SSD.

    Read that last sentence to yourself a few times, let it sink in. Now you can say sorry.

    Additionally, if you have excess amounts of RAM available, every modern operating system will cache all disk reads, thereby offering instant access to your apps/files, the SECOND time you open them

    Indeed useful. I get the last 2-3GB's of accessed files at RAM speed, if I'm lucky. That doesn't help boot time, that doesn't help sleep time, and that doesn't help when I launch an app for the first time in a while. All of which ARE helped greatly by using an SSD. Why can't I have both?

    and it's not hard to make the case that more RAM is more beneficial for most common usage patterns.

    Yeah, except I have one, and you're wrong. Caching is great for files you hit a lot, but you know what? My system drive has 40-50GB on it, and adding 40-50GB of RAM isn't really an option for most people, certainly not an economical one. You'll be lucky to get 10% of that in the cache - VERY lucky (seeing as all those media and data files will be pushing out the useful stuff you actually stand a chance of wanting to read again).

    You seem to have a problem with SSDs, that's great, don't buy one. I wouldn't trade mine for 16GBs of RAM, never mind 8 (which is the equivalent cost).

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant