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Intel Z68 SSD Disk Caching Showdown
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by Ryan Perry on June 20, 2011 in Solid-State Drives

When we tested out Intel’s ‘Smart Response Technology’ last month, we liked what we saw. But at $110 for a 20GB SLC SSD, we wondered if a larger, more cost-effective option could still make the best use of the technology. With that, we’re pitting Kingston’s SSDNow V+100 64GB drive, at $150, against Intel’s, to see if we retain SRT’s effectiveness.

Introduction

Last month we had a look at Intel’s new disk caching technology available on the recently introduced Z68 Express chipset. Rapid Storage Technology (RST), as it’s called, allows data to be read from a standard mechanical hard disk drive (HDD) and then be cached or written to a solid-state drive (SSD) to be accessed again but at a much faster speed. There’s more to RST than just caching data, but I want to jump right into the purpose of this article.

RST did provide noticeable performance gains in some benchmarks but not all tests showed that this is a must-have technology. General usage was certainly speedier but disk caching is not an ideal solution for every user in every instance. In my opinion, RST is extremely useful for average folks like myself who access the same files and applications over and over, so this article is for them.

Intel had sent along its new 34nm 311 Larson Creek SSD to use during our initial testing. According to Intel, this 20GB drive was specifically made for caching data but it carries a hefty estimated $110 price tag due to the use of single-layer cell (SLC) NAND chips.

Intel Smart Response Technology

Even though SLC SSDs offer increased speed and lifespan, not many people will be willing to drop this amount of money on a drive with such a small storage capacity. But, there are many mainstream alternatives from other vendors, such as Kingston.

Our friends there were kind enough to send along their 64GB, 32nm multi-layer cell (MLC) NAND-based SSDNow V+100, which we are putting up against Intel’s offering in our RST SSD showdown to see if the SSD used to accelerate the HDD will really affect performance to a degree that it is noticeable to the user.

Intel Smart Response Technology

Without further ado, let’s get to the test setup and benchmark results and see how the two drives compare.


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