TechSpot: Crucial Adrenaline Review, SSD Cache for your HDD

Last year we reviewed OCZ's RevoDrive Hybrid, which saw the marriage of a 1TB hard drive and a pair of 50GB SandForce SSDs on a PCI Express card. Potentially achieving performance close to that of a SandForce SF-2281 SSD with a 1TB storage capacity was very appealing; however, there were some notable drawbacks that prevented us from recommending that solution.

Then on January, Crucial announced the Adrenaline SSD series. Not meant to replace their existing and well regarded m4 drives, the Adrenaline is a cache solution meant to work along your existing disk drive, using a 50GB SSD to act as solid state flash-based cache for your larger primary hard drive.

The Adrenaline doesn't require any special drivers as it uses the SATA interface - it can be installed at any point and can therefore be fitted to any computer without the need to reinstall Windows.


Read: Crucial Adrenaline SSD Review: Solid State Cache for your Traditional Disk Drive

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Waste of time with annoying licensing ****? No thanks, I'd rather just buy a regular SSD and avoid all that.

Got this function on my motherboard that I bought last year, not bothered to use it yet as I was dubious to its benefits

that's not the way to torture a ssd drive. why not just get a ssd drive as boot disk and platter drive(s) for everything else.

Hmm, doesn't seem to be worth the cost, as you're basically paying for a regular SSD, but not using it as a regular SSD, so you don't get all the benefits. If I had the choice, I'd just get a regular SSD and using it as the OS drive, like Albert mentioned above. They're still too pricey for me though, and I don't fancy going through all the trouble of cloning my Windows 7 installation to an SSD, especially as it's currently on a 1TB HDD that's full up, so I'd probably have to shell out for a new HDD to put all the non-Windows stuff on, plus I bet I'd have to reinstall everything again.

Probably better to just do a new build and start off with an SSD, but when the time comes for me to want to actually build a new PC, SSDs will probably be as cheap and as big as HDDs (read, many years from now)!

This is nothing new though. The OCZ Synapse caching SSD has been out for months, and it uses the same software (Dataplex). From my experience, it works REALLY well -- you just got to see it to believe it. It's only useful if you're going to pair it with a really large HDD though, and you have a definite need for frequently accessed data that cannot fit into one large SSD.

Also, as far as Dataplex is concerned, you can easily deactivate it within the program. If you have issues, at least for OCZ, they'd be happy to help you out if you forgot to deactivate it the previous time. Never had experience with Crucial though.

Ok, people do realize they could plug in a 32,50,64gb SSD SATA drives, and turn on 'Readyboost' in Windows 7, and it would provide effectively the same, if not better functionality?

Readyboost is 'not' a RAM supplement technology, which is how it is talked about even by some technical writers. It is a 'caching' technology that uses Windows ability to notice random r/w latency along with applied concurrency to bridge the performance gap of SSD and traditional drives?

I am not sure if people are confused by ReadyBoost being incorrectly talked about as a way to boost 'RAM', or if they only see it working via a USB Flash Drive or SD Card, and don't connect that it can work on SATA and other higher performance interfaces that make it far more productive than USB 2.0.

With Windows 7, you can also aggregate several ReadyBoost devices, and if you have a multiple USB 2.0 or 3.0 Flash Drives and SATA or eSATA SDD drives, you can turn ReadyBoost on them, and then they create a virtual ReadyBoost caching Array, with the performance and the precise speed of each device used with respect to the fastest desired read and write time effect.

As USB 2.0 is not super fast, people have discounted ReadyBoost's abilities, but even you consider just the Flash random read/write times and I/O concurrency with your traditional HDs, it can add a bump in performance. (Especially with the newer high speed off the shelf USB/SD sticks.)

Mix USB 3.0 and/or SATA/eSATA into the mix, and you have a lot more bandwidth and a great OS managed caching solution that is also failsafe.

There are probably measurable benefits to this device when used with the MFRs HD technology, as it will be calibrated to assist in the weakest read/write speed areas; however, one thing it won't be able to do that Windows 7 can is do cross utilization monitoring and tap the SSD or the HD in additional latency areas that are created by specific Application concurrency issues.

PS - Users also realize that most of the technologies to optimize performance and reduce degradation of flash based block and cell R/W used by SSD makers originates from Microsoft?
**Do a little research on Windows on embedded devices going way way back and then WinCE days, and the modernization of the algorithms that were used in the XBox 360 and Vista, that have been improved in Windows 7, adding in new trim concepts and sharing the changes with SSD makers.)

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