Should I use a small SSD for booting and running OS n HD for storage of big files or intel smart technology and SSD for cache?

Posted on 2011-10-17
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-06-21

Should I use a small SSD for booting and running OS n HD for storage of big files (like my iTunes library) or intel smart technology and HD for booting and storage while SSD for cache? I plan to add RAM and have a total of 8 to 12 GB, could I also boot from HD and have no cache? I guess there is a few ways to use RAID0 (mirroring) or intels new SSD smart cache tech. There is a few ways I can set this up, would like the fastest one for me, I don't have to mirror my drive but would like back up RAID even if its software. I am using a Gigabyte Z68MA-D2H-B3 and an i3, the RAM and SSD make them fly. Building another one with the same set up but would like your advice as to what drive should serve as what. I am running both Windows 7 and Mac 10.7.2 on that machine. I will mainly boot into OSX n use a virtual machine for 7 but will sometimes have to boot to 7. This board has 6 hard drive SATA 6gb slots and I have a SATA 6 GB )Sata III) 60 GB SSD. As for the HD I have many many options! Any advice would be helpful.

Thank you!!
Question by:kaosmadness

Expert Comment

ID: 36978505
The fastest possibility is to set up the SSD as the boot disc and for programs (my programs start in 1 sec) and put all your data (movies, music and so on) on a classic hard drive (if you need a lot of space).
You can of course add multiple SSDs in a raid to boost performance even more

Author Comment

ID: 36978544
Cool!!! Any experience which disabling cashing??? Cause I read that you can boot off HD all into RAM, run apps from SSD (cause like you said they open in a sec) and all the caching would be done in RAM I guess which is faster and either of them. I haven't experimented so thats why I am asking for help.

Expert Comment

ID: 36978841
What exacly do you want to cache to RAM? The whole Operating System?
Because loading the whole OS to RAM takes a couple of seconds to read from the SSD and if you want to do that during boot, you're just increasing your boot time.
And the OS is loading most of the heavily used parts to RAM by itself to increase performance during usage. I tried that several years ago and couldn't get a noticable performance boost.
If you have "enough" RAM you can disable the swap drive (RAM caching to HDD) but some Apps have trouble with that, for example past Photoshop versions didn't really like that, don't know about current versions though...
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LVL 93

Expert Comment

ID: 36984421
while i use an SSD for OS and programs + 1 TB drive for storage (and love it); keep in mind that there are some things not so nice about SSD's also :   http://cybernetnews.com/speed-comparison-solid-state-disk-ssd-vs-hard-disk-drive-hdd/

Expert Comment

ID: 36985850
Hey nobus,

your post of the comparison is actually really old back when SSDs were very expensive and had slow write speeds (in that comparison with 18MB/S...). Current SSDs removed almost all disadvantages except the higher price and read/write speeds easily exceed 500MB/s nowadays.


Author Comment

ID: 36998220
So I have been playing around and I can't seem to tell too much difference except that I guess Mac only supports TRIM on SSD they ship out with some systems (like macbook air) but I found an app that enables it and it makes a difference SSD wise.
LVL 84

Accepted Solution

David Johnson, CD, MVP earned 2000 total points
ID: 37015936
Note: we cannot help you with any mac questions on non apple hardware you are in violation of the Terms of Service of the software.

as far as SSD vs small SSD caching a Hard drive it depends upon your price point.  Z68 with SSD caching offers the general public a good alternative and gives very good performance in comparison to pure SSD.

it all comes down to price/performance.. and personally my bare install is 120+G so I use a 40G SSD caching a 1.5TB hard drive and performance is perfectly acceptable (Asus p8Z68-Pro V/I7-2600K o/c 4.5Ghz, 16G Ram)

Author Closing Comment

ID: 37110303
Thanks... BTW, just as clarification, Apple has not stopped this practice since you have no work around or break their software code signatures but rather load it to a simulated EFI which now Z68 lets you do even faster. They say not to load it on non-apple branded hardware however this is a gray area since people buy non apple spare parts from their machines (even a logic board on my g4 years ago). So if you replace your logic board, ram and HD does that mean you can't load OS X on it since none of it is apple hardware? I mean gray area since I do own 4 apple machines and bought the software and installed it with out a hacks, tricks or cheats that apple has had an objection about. As long as you own apple hardware and pay for the software specifically for that machine (not use another machine's disk) then apple won't put a stop to this practice (i hope)... Thanks for the insight and input!!

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