Thread: SSD hybrid
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Old 10-20-2011, 05:44 AM   #8
THoff
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My OCZ Synapse drive arrived on Monday and I've had enough time with it to give an initial impression.

For starters, I was under the impression that the software to handle the caching was part of the OCZ Synapse firmware and that the drive to be cached would connect to the OCZ Synapse. The product page states that
Quote:
The OCZ Synapse Series integrates Dataplex™ caching software to dynamically manage the use of both SSD and HDD for superior overall storage performance.
In reality, the OCZ Synapse is connected as a discrete drive using a separate SATA connection, and you must install the Dataplex software on your PC. Please note that the only environments supported are 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 7.

There is no convenient way to disable the software in case you need to temporarily boot into a different environment from a USB thumbdrive or CD in order to run a backup or antivirus tool for instance. The method described in the helpfile requires you to interrupt the normal boot process and using the Windows Repair options, or worse doing a forced power-off using the power switch without shutting down Windows and then using the Windows Repair options:
Quote:


In order to temporarily disable the software, please follow the following steps -
  1. Restart Windows
  2. After the message "Starting Windows" appears, press CTRL-ALT-DEL within the first 2 seconds. This will cause the system to reboot again.
  3. During boot, Dataplex will enter a repair/diagnostic window. Allow Datpalex to complete repairs, if any.
  4. When prompted to press "D" to disable Dataplex cache, press any other key.
  5. Press CTRL-ALT-DEL when the Windows Repair messages come on the screen.
  6. Allow the PC to proceed to Windows or boot from your alternate media.
Alternately, you may temporarily disable the software from within the Windows environment -
  1. Press and hold the POWER button for 5 seconds.
  2. Reboot the machine.
  3. During boot, Dataplex will enter a repair/diagnostic window. Allow Datpalex to complete repairs, if any.
  4. When prompted to press "D" to disable Dataplex cache, press any other key.
  5. Press CTRL-ALT-DEL when the Windows Repair messages come on the screen.
  6. Allow the PC to proceed to Windows or boot from your alternate media.
The throughput numbers that OCZ quotes for the 128GB Synapse (Max Read: up to 550 MB/s, Max Write: up to 510 MB/s) are when using the drive as a straight SSD, and OCZ makes no specific claim for speeding up reads or writes when using it in conjunction with the Dataplex software. In fact, I don't believe that write performance is affected at all, I believe data is still written directly to the HDD and then possibly cached for subsequent reads.

In terms of performance improvements I've measured a roughly 25% reduction in system boot time, and applications like Edius and Adobe Lightroom start up noticeable faster during initial load. Basically data that is read frequently and never written will be available more quickly, so application loads will be sped up, but probably little else.

The OCZ RevoDrive hybrid drive uses the same Dataplex software and concepts, but the SSD and HDD are combined on a PCI-E card. It uses a 1TB laptop hard drive, but from what I've been able to determine it is only a 5400RPM drive, ultimately hampering disk (especially write) performance.

It is still too early for me to completely make up my mind regarding the OCZ Synapse, but I could not currently recommend it as a transparent system performance booster.

PS: In my earlier post I stated that you could use the OCZ Synapse with a RAID array (I had read that online somewhere). This is not the case, the drive being cached must be a single SATA drive.

Last edited by THoff; 10-20-2011 at 05:51 AM.
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