SilverStone HDDBOOST
Author: Jakob Barnard
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 06-16-2010
Provided by: SilverStone

Test machine:

Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ 2.4ghz
3.00ghz RAM
750gb 7200rpm Seagate Barracuda SATA3.0 drive
OCZ Solid 2 60gb SSD (Boost drive)
Windows 7 Home Premium

In testing, I took a look at benchmarks before and after installing the HDDBOOST. The one thing I feel important to mention here is that the device is truly seamless. You don't notice what it does in the background on a daily basis but it works on a pretty simple concept. While the initial synchronization was running, I did note the occasional latency issue and a general degradation of performance. There was also an odd hang-up when the sync was at 99% which was solved after a reboot. Now that the synchronization is complete, data reading should follow the rules outlined below:

1. When data is present on both drives, read from SSD.
2. When data is not present on both drives, read from HDD.
3. All data will be written to the HDD and rewritten to the SSD as necessary. When the computer is in operation, HDDBOOST will initiate mirror backup automatically to ensure front-end data between the two drives are the same.

For testing I used HDTune 2.55 and HD Speed 1.6. HDTune Pro is mentioned by name in the SilverStone HDDBOOST manual so I felt it was a valid test but didn't want to rely on just one benchmark application recommended by the manufacturer.

With HDTune our results are fairly typical with this sort of drive. We have an average transfer rate of 58.9 MB/sec and an Access Time of 15.4ms. Do note that the graph is all over the place. The Seagate hard drive used had a relatively fresh OS install (installed about a week before testing) but was loaded with all of the normal applications that this system would use on a daily basis.

I like this utility because it is pretty basic, but taking screenshots can allow for some easy contrasts. HD Speed reports an average transfer rate of 162.6 MB/s - quite a bit more than HD Tune shows. Let's see how things change when using the HDBOOST.

We have an average transfer rate of 62.8 MB/sec (original was 58.9 MB/sec) and an Access Time of 12.6 ms (original 15.4ms). So while they aren't very large gains in the benchmark results, there is a noticeable improvement in the graph being plotted. We now see a much smoother trek across the test with very few spikes.

I found the results of the HD_Speed test very interesting. With the HDDBOOST we actually ended up with a lower average of 149.4 MB/sec (Pre-HDDBOOST was 162.6 MB/sec/s).

There are a few things to note with the benchmarks. First, it is highly likely that with the nature of the HDDBOOST internals that we really won't see anything much improved upon in synthetic benchmarks. For example, the benchmarks could be totally excluding the SSD benefits or on the opposite end, could be excluding the HDD and totally benching based on the SSD. This is a new product idea that we haven't really seen before so honestly we don't know what to expect number-wise.

We can, however, comment on a few things that we are comfortable stating. The test system was a little snappier with the HDDBOOST installed. Applications did open a little faster but the difference wasn't staggering. A few things likely contribute to this.

First, the operating system on this computer was just installed about a week prior to testing the device. Anyone who has reinstalled an OS knows it is much snappier on a fresh install versus an OS that has been on a disk for quite some time. Second, the drive we tested with was a 7200 RPM unit and the test system itself was fairly modern. Toss the HDDBOOST into an aging system with a 5400 RPM drive and I am almost certain that results would be much more noticeable. Unfortunately we don't have a system fitting that description for testing.

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