With its Z68 chipset Intel introduced SSD caching (Smart Response Technology), a feature that would allow you to use an ultra small SSD as a read/write cache in front of a larger mechanical drive or array. We tested the feature earlier this year and came away impressed. While we still prefer a large SSD, if you can't afford one or aren't willing to deal with a SSD + HDD combo then SSD caching is a good alternative.

Unfortunately Intel's technology is limited to the Z68 chipset and some mobile chipsets. This is where Diskeeper comes in. At Computex this year we came aross a demonstration of ExpressCache. Like Intel's Smart Response Technology, ExpressCache is a software layer that lets you cache HDD reads/writes with a small SSD. Diskeeper partnered with SanDisk to demonstrate its technology, but the software doesn't have any specific SSD or chipset requirements. At the time we were told that the first systems preloaded with ExpressCache would begin shipping later this year.

Today Samsung announced that its new Series 7 GAMER notebook will be the first to officially license ExpressCache for use in an OEM system. I've been testing an ExpressCache system here and hope to have a review comparing it to Z68 in the not too distant future.

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  • MrSpadge - Wednesday, August 17, 2011 - link

    This is interesting, smart technology. Especially for laptops with mSATA slots this makes so much sense. I'll be grateful for any reviews.. much more so than for another Smartphone (going to keep mine some more time) or tablet (totally not interested) ;)

    MrS
    Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Wednesday, August 17, 2011 - link

    By the time you've purchased an mSata drive you might as well have gone with a larger SSD.

    P.s. This is only adding more complexity to something that is currently simple.
    Reply
  • MrSpadge - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    mSATA prices should approach these of regular SSDs as soon as demand rises.
    And everytime a new SSD is presented, how many people are whining "This is too small and I don't want to (or can't) pay for the larger ones"? This is their solution.

    MrS
    Reply
  • Mumrik - Wednesday, August 17, 2011 - link

    It's not for gamers, it's for GAMERS.
    I take it that is some sort of expression for how hardcore the target audience is...
    Reply
  • Mugur - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    I think that expanding this approach would be beneficial to all and also keeps things simple instead of messing with another software layer... Reply
  • MrSpadge - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    The Momentus XT is (currently) limited to 4 GB cache and 3 capacities. Pairing a larger SSD cache with e.g. a 1 TB 5400 rpm drive would be an interesting option.
    I agree, though, having everything in one drive without additional software sounds better.

    MrS
    Reply
  • name99 - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    You what AnandTech could do that would be really helpful?
    Benchmark this Samsung system for REALISTIC conditions.

    The Momentus solution is, I'm sorry to say, crap. I have one of those disks, and I rarely see the sort of performance I see from my "real" SSDs. As far as I can tell the problem is that the caching just isn't very smart. One wants to be VERY sure, with this sort of product, that one-time reads do not wipe the cache. One-time reads (copy a large number of files, play a DVD image, backup, etc) are really common, and as far as I can tell Momentus does fsckall to ensure that what it's caching is not simply a one-time read.

    All of which means that there would be value in a review that investigated this aspect of how the tech works, rather than simply telling us: "yeah, when we ran our standard benchmarks it got 150MB/s". If you're using a setup like this, you don't give a fsck about the MB/s --- we assume Samsung is using flash that works at the level of current tech. The ONLY thing of interest is how well the caching works, and the circumstances under which it stops working.
    Reply

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