Earlier this week Crucial announced its first SSD caching solution: the Adrenaline SSD. The drive will be available in a single capacity: 50GB with 64GB of 25nm MLC NAND onboard.   The controller is identical to the Marvell design used in the m4. Crucial tells me that the firmware is identical to what you'd get on a normal m4. Adrenaline will ship with some SSD caching software for Windows 7 but Crucial wouldn't tell us which package will come with the drive.
 
The target market is users who want a simple way to upgrade their slow hard drive based machines without the hassle of migrating data or the price of a high capacity SSD. Expect to see the drive ship before the end of Q1.
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  • djc208 - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    50 GB is enough for Windows and most core programs, why use it as a cache? If you've got room for a second drive, why not just use it as a boot drive? Reply
  • hechacker1 - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    Because it isn't enough for many people.

    I have way more than 50GB of programs, not including any user data.

    What's the point of loading Windows and a select few programs onto an SSD if I can't have any of my frequently used data on the SSD too? It kind of defeats the purpose of it to move everything outside of the SSD just so Windows can function fast by itself.

    I see people do "tweaks" like move everything off the SSD, like their user files and page file, but that's just defeating the purpose of having really fast access times and speeds.

    These caching solutions appeal to me, because I can keep my large HDD, but still have an SSD cache for frequently accessed stuff. And the killer feature is that I don't have to micro-manage my data or programs to get benefits.

    Really, Windows just needs to build this feature in already. RAM already caches a lot of stuff, but an SSD could be the next level "L5" cache after RAM. With the HDD being the slowest device but cheapest to store data.
    Reply
  • mailman65er - Monday, January 16, 2012 - link

    "... I have way more than 50GB of programs, not including any user data..."

    You "think" you have 50GB worth of data and applications, but actually, you probably only actually use a fraction of that. Remember, caching typically happens at the "block" level and not necessarily at the "file" level, which means that while your files and apps may add up to more than 50GB, your hot data may be much less than that. Consider an Outlook .PST file, if the file size shows 1GB, you might think that you need 1GB of cache capacity. However, a block level cache solution could effectively keep all of your most recent (months?) emails and contacts in the cache SSD, without having to store the entire 1GB file in the SSD. This mechanism is true of all apps and data, including the OS. Caching can be VERY efficient at keeping all hot data (at the block level) on the SSD without wasting capacity on unused data. This is the source of a lot of misunderstanding about caching and "boot" drives; software caching is MUCH more efficient than boot drive configuration (not to mention faster/easier to setup, more consistent system performance, and no end-user data management requirements)
    Reply
  • Plushpants - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    SSD caching is a great option for gamers like myself who have several hundred gigs of games. You don't want to have to muck around with Steam moving the current games you're playing to and from the SSD.

    I've being using Intel's SRT technology with a 60gb SSD for 6 months or so and am very happy with it. Not quite as good as a dedicated SSD but still a HUGE performance increase. BF3 level loads are at least 3-4 times faster and Windows boot is noticeably improved.
    Reply
  • MrSpadge - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    "I've being using Intel's SRT technology with a 60gb SSD for 6 months or so and am very happy with it. Not quite as good as a dedicated SSD but still a HUGE performance increase. BF3 level loads are at least 3-4 times faster and Windows boot is noticeably improved. "

    +1
    Reply
  • EnzoFX - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    "without the hassle of migrating data" Reply
  • Alexvrb - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    Exactly. This isn't something you use for a new build. This is for a well-established computer that just needs a little storage I/O help. It's quick and easy, and since it doesn't need to be very large, affordable. Reply
  • joe_dude - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    Agreed. SSD caching is a cheaper and more reliable. The money you save means you can get a faster CPU, video card, and/or upgrade to a faster SSD in a year's time. Reply
  • mtoma - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    Migrating what data? The OS and applications, settings, and so on? It takes about 30-45 min. to fresh reinstall those on a PC. So, why bother with the migration of data? However if Anand is referring to migrating the documents, pictures, mp3s, I have to wonder why would anyone would keep there files on the boot partition, in the Windows specified directories (My Pictures, My Documents, My Music). Because Microsoft says so? I don't think so. Much better would be to keep these files onto a different partition/HDD, so the need to migrate would not exist. Reply
  • keysurfer - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    30-45 mins reinstall time. You must not have much stuff on your computer. I figure reinstall time on my computer would be days of work not minutes or hours. A number of applications require deactivating on old setup before they can be used on the new. With 15 main applications and at least 30 smaller ones along with all the update and patch time re-tweaking well I'm all for caching. 30-45 mins give me a break. Reply

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