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A Hybrid Approach For SSD Speed From Your 2TB HDD

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the bottleneck-feedback-loop dept.

Data Storage 194

Claave writes "bit-tech.net reports that SilverStone has announced a device that daisy-chains an SSD with a hard disk, with the aim of providing SSD speeds plus loads of storage space. The SilverStone HDDBoost is a hard disk caddy with an integrated storage controller, and is an easy upgrade for your PC. The device copies the 'front-end' of your hard disk to the SSD, and tells your OS to prefer the SSD when possible. SSD speeds for a 2TB storage device? Yep, sounds good to me!"

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Tiny penis (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31013316)

Rob Malda has a tiny penis.

Frpsty (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31013338)

Check out this shi-te /////////////

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31013342)

first post!

Re:first post (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31013366)

pheel the phailure...fucktard...

Save your money... (1, Informative)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013354)

To use this in a desktop, you need
  • An available 3.5" bay
  • A 2.5" hard drive
  • An SSD of whatever size you can afford

This seems like a lot of money to spend for potentially not a lot of speed. Generally, 2.5" hard drives aren't quite as fast as their 3.5" counterparts anyways, so you're spending a fair bit of money to speed up something that wasn't really made for speed anyways.

Sure, you can "drop it right in" to your existing computer, assuming that your desktop is for some reason already using 2.5" SATA drives. And if your desktop is currently using 2.5" SATA drives you probably didn't build it to be a speed demon anyways.

Re:Save your money... (2, Insightful)

GungaDan (195739) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013380)

I don't see where a 2.5" HD is required - 3.5" should be fine. The gizmo looks like a 2.5" to 3.5" adapter tray, but the HD is not installed in the gizmo.

Besides, have you ever heard of a 2.5" 2TB drive?

Re:Save your money... (-1, Flamebait)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013488)

I don't see where a 2.5" HD is required

If you RTFA, you'll see

The device takes the form of a 2.5in to 3.5in hard disk caddy with a couple of SATA connectors on the end

Which makes sense, as a 3.5 bracket with a 3.5 hard drive and an SSD would not fit in a standard 3.5 bay.

It may be possible instead to dedicate one of your 3.5 bays to this, running SATA cables from your 3.5 drive to it (and then to the SATA controller). But then you've just used a full bay for one SSD and a silly gizmo.

Besides, have you ever heard of a 2.5" 2TB drive?

No, but we don't let reality get in the way of a good slashvertisement around here.

Re:Save your money... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31013508)

I don't see where a 2.5" HD is required

If you RTFA, you'll see

The device takes the form of a 2.5in to 3.5in hard disk caddy with a couple of SATA connectors on the end

Which makes sense, as a 3.5 bracket with a 3.5 hard drive and an SSD would not fit in a standard 3.5 bay.

It may be possible instead to dedicate one of your 3.5 bays to this, running SATA cables from your 3.5 drive to it (and then to the SATA controller). But then you've just used a full bay for one SSD and a silly gizmo.

Besides, have you ever heard of a 2.5" 2TB drive?

No, but we don't let reality get in the way of a good slashvertisement around here.

If only they made 2.5" SSD's then you could put THAT int he caddy and use a regular 3.5" in another bay. If only such magical things existed.

Re:Save your money... (1)

lorax (2988) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013714)

According to the pictures, you put a 2.5 inch SSD in the caddy and daisy chain it to an additional 3.5 inch HD in a different bay

Re:Save your money... (2, Insightful)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014146)

If you RTFA you'd find the 2.5" drive is for the SSD, not the rotational drive.

The bracket mounts the SSD inside of it, and then passes failed requests to the HDD, which is external to the bracket.

Re:Save your money... (2, Interesting)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014122)

True, and everything sounded find until I read this [silverstonetek.com]
"Every time the system starts, HDDBOOST will initiate mirror backup automatically to ensure front-end data between the two drives are the same."

on every system start it's going to create a mirror backup, which sounded bad unless it works like Mirror RAID which doesn't take any time at all, it mirrors in real-time

So basically on every startup it mirrors the HD to the SSD, then pulls everything from the SSD until it needs to write data. Writing data goes on the HD, not the SSD. When starting up again the SSD mirrors all the new written data from the HD and continues on.

Sounds technically feasible and that should be faster and I'd love to see some benchmarks although I'm not sure how that'd work because reading data should look incredibly fast since it's on the SSD but written data goes to the HD so that'd be normal speed meaning a benchmark might not show amazingly fast speeds yet your PC should be noticeably quicker.

... and it's wondows-only (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014534)

You'd be better off just buying a second drive and doing a RAID 1.

Re:Save your money... (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013386)

Or, you can just use ZFS and turn on the L2ARC, which will use the SSD as a cache for the hard disks and not need any custom hardware.

Re:Save your money... (1)

kungfuj35u5 (1331351) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013430)

Or, you can just use ZFS and turn on the L2ARC, which will use the SSD as a cache for the hard disks and not need any custom hardware.

Exactly what I was thinking, I think you may have even beaten me to the post. This seems like something a good operating system can implement with relative ease without even needing a custom tailored filesystem to do so. Not that that doesn't help.

Good operating system compatibility? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013872)

This seems like something a good operating system can implement with relative ease without even needing a custom tailored filesystem to do so.

"A good operating system" isn't compatible with thousands of proprietary third-party apps and device drivers designed for the majority operating system for home PCs. Nor can the data on a drive set up for use with "a good operating system" easily be transplanted into another PC whose operating system is not aware of the look-aside SSD cache.

Re:Good operating system compatibility? (2, Interesting)

kungfuj35u5 (1331351) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014046)

There are a number of options: Firstly: Use a different machine with samba if you want to give the storage to your windows hosts. This option isn't for everybody, but over gigabit while it will be a third of the bandwidth with regular SATA, you definitely will notice the benefits (especially for async I/O, the dedicated slog device removes a lot of overhead). Secondly: It wouldn't be difficult to implement this as a software solution in windows to be quite honest. Caching models/algorithms are anything but complicated and one could easily write this in userspace or kernelspace. ZFS happens to do this on the file system layer, but it could easily be written on a much higher level of abstraction. There is nothing here that requires an ASIC design level of logic other than maybe freeing some bandwidth on your SATA bus for the bleeding in and out of cache to disk. Thirdly: Microsoft wrote off a feature in vista for moving swap to a dedicated disk (although this was forever possible since windows 2000 simply by specifying a different "page file"). Who's to say that microsoft wouldn't add that to their storage API under the disk management MMC. I can easily see an "add cache device" option being feasibly done.

Re:Good operating system compatibility? (1)

kungfuj35u5 (1331351) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014150)

Even further research indicates that microsoft DID do that. ReadyDrive/ReadyBoost can use mulitple devices for on disk caching with their disk prefetching.

Re:Save your money... (2, Interesting)

adonoman (624929) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013448)

Or just plug in a usb drive into any Windows 7 computer.

Re:Save your money... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31013814)

USB drives speeds are in the 20-30 MB/s. SSD drives are 150-250 MB/s. Conventional HDDs are 50-100 MB/s

Re:Save your money... (3, Informative)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013838)

Except that then you're at USB speeds instead of SATA speeds.

Re:Save your money... (0, Troll)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013960)

Great Idea. ... Computer management, clickly clicky, drop list.. NTFS or FAT. Which one of those is ZFS?

Let's try another option.
$ mkfs.zfs /dev/disk/by-label/MyMainDisk

No command 'mkfs.zfs' found, did you mean:
  Command 'mkfs.gfs' from package 'gfs-tools' (main)
  Command 'mkfs.hfs' from package 'hfsprogs' (universe)
  Command 'mkfs.bfs' from package 'util-linux' (main)
  Command 'mkfs.xfs' from package 'xfsprogs' (main)
  Command 'mkfs.ufs' from package 'ufsutils' (universe)
  Command 'mkfs.jfs' from package 'jfsutils' (main)
mkfs.zfs: command not found

Okay...hmm.

$ diskutil listFilesystems | grep -i zfs

hm, nothing.

I suppose it *should* be possible to do in software, and I'd even imagine that like RAID, the benefits of doing it in hardware become more dubious as tome goes on. However, there is the question of the least effort way of getting it done in "my" computer right now.

Just a cache? (4, Insightful)

Erich (151) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013374)

Haven't disk manufacturers been doing this forever, using faster memories to cache disk? I guess the difference now is that the memory is slower than DRAM and non-volatile so it isn't lost in the event of power failure? Or maybe you can get more flash storage at a low price point?

Re:Just a cache? (1, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013458)

Haven't disk manufacturers been doing this forever, using faster memories to cache disk? I guess the difference now is that the memory is slower than DRAM and non-volatile so it isn't lost in the event of power failure? Or maybe you can get more flash storage at a low price point?

"DRAM is yesterday's news. SSDs are the future. And they cost a lot more than a pile of memory chips, therefore they must be better. Order fifty." -- Some PHB

Re:Just a cache? (2, Insightful)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013598)

"DRAM is yesterday's news. SSDs are the future. And they cost a lot more than a pile of memory chips, therefore they must be better. Order fifty." -- Some PHB

SSDs are cheaper per Gb then DRAM. Compare the price of a 64Gb SSD to 64Gb with of decent DDR2/3 RAM. The per-Gb price difference is likely to grow too as SSD prices are falling more sharply than DRAM prices at the moment.

Re:Just a cache? (0)

Sandbags (964742) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013994)

Of course, you don't need DDRII/DDRIII RAM, as even the worst performance, cheapest, high capacity sticks you can get are still much faster than SSDs.

But actually, he said DRAM, not SDRAM or DDR SDRAM, but actually I think he means NAND, since SSD drives in fact ARE DRAM!

Re:Just a cache? (2, Informative)

amorsen (7485) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014268)

since SSD drives in fact ARE DRAM!

No. DRAM doesn't keep state across power loss, and it's a lot more expensive, just like the OP said.

Re:Just a cache? (1)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013464)

High-end storage devices have been using SSD for years to speed things up. It basically allows for a larger cache than RAM (for less money), and also means non-volatile cache like you noted. Of course, how much of a speed gain you get depends on what your workload looks like and how good their caching algorithms are. So, I'm not impressed at all by this little device, but I would be impressed if it came with a new and more efficient caching algorithm.

Re:Just a cache? (1)

Drethon (1445051) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013536)

I have a Lenovo laptop that has something like 2G flash drive doing basically that. So I'd say its probably pretty much just a cache...

Re: SSD vs DRAM as cache... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31014016)

Performance of disk systems is determined by the cache system almost entirely (er... given same data transport, etc).

Usually the write side is more complex because you don't want your device telling the o/s that the write committed when it is still in vulnerable cache. Storage system mfrs recognize this and put in batteries to make sure the write side cache is able to survive power outages. This adds weight as well as complexity and there is always residual risk in these systems.

If you can make a non-volatile cache write that is effectively equivalent to writing to the magnetic media and do it without external support (eg batteries) then you have a better device.

Also, this has the potential of bringing high performance writes to the disk device level instead of the storage chassis/system.

Re:Just a cache? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31014128)

Yes, it's been called a cache, and also a buffer.
It's even been done with non-volatile memory before as well.
This is just the latest version to come out, seems more 'universal' than many of the others, and has a much better price point than previous ones.
(I remember one from the late 80s made with volatile ram that cost around a $1000. Worked beautifully, but way to expensive for the public.)

Your sig (1)

nuckfuts (690967) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014404)

You know, you don't need a sig that announces "Slashdot reader since 1997". We can all see the number beside you nickname.

Sounds like bullshit to me (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31013376)

How would the disk supposedly know, which part of the 2TB I am going to need next?

Re:Sounds like bullshit to me (2, Interesting)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014002)

My guess is, it won't. It must be a dumb cache that just monitors which sectors/clusters are most often read, and caches those.

It may be better than the current use of SSDs though, which is to put a whole OS on them even though there's many parts of the OS that are barely used. If I had an SSD, IE8 would be on it !

2.5" drives only (0, Troll)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013392)

The device takes the form of a 2.5in to 3.5in hard disk caddy with a couple of SATA connectors on the end.

Good job Claave! You apparently didn't even get to the second paragraph before submitting the article. You can't use a 2TB hard drive with this because there are no 2TB 2.5" drives yet.

look at the picture accompanying TFA - it uses 3.5 (1)

GungaDan (195739) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013420)

This thing uses 3.5" drives, or you could slap it onto a 2.5" drive if you wanted to. The thing TAKES THE FORM OF a drive caddy - it is not a drive caddy.

Re:look at the picture accompanying TFA - it uses (2, Informative)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013462)

This thing uses 3.5" drives, or you could slap it onto a 2.5" drive if you wanted to. The thing TAKES THE FORM OF a drive caddy - it is not a drive caddy.

Actually, after looking at it more, it is a drive caddy -- for a 2.5" SSD. This device basically acts as a daisy chain controller that you hook both a 2.5" SSD and a regular 3.5" HD to. The controller then presents the combined device to the BIOS/OS as a single drive.

Re:look at the picture accompanying TFA - it uses (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013566)

This stuff all needs to be within the same hard drive.

Sell a 2TB 3.5" hard drive with a 64GB *fast* SSD cache on board (transparent to the OS), and then we will be talking.

Re:look at the picture accompanying TFA - it uses (1)

KingMotley (944240) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014204)

I'd rather it not. That way when I upgrade the hard drive, I can toss the old HD and keep the more expensive SSD part.

Re:2.5" drives only (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013432)

Derrrr. Nevermind. It helps to also look at the pictures [bit-tech.net] when commenting on TFA.

Re:2.5" drives only (1)

Cocoronixx (551128) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013506)

Also helps to comprehend WTF you are reading. The excerpt you quoted from the article states the availability of a 3.5in hard disk caddy for chrissakes!!?

Re:2.5" drives only (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013568)

Also helps to comprehend WTF you are reading. The excerpt you quoted from the article states the availability of a 3.5in hard disk caddy for chrissakes!!?

Read it again and look at the pictures. The caddy is the size of a 3.5" drive, in which you install a 2.5" SSD. That is what they mean by a "2.5in to 3.5in hard disk caddy".

Re:2.5" drives only (5, Funny)

Cocoronixx (551128) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013668)

Read it again and look at the pictures. The caddy is the size of a 3.5" drive, in which you install a 2.5" SSD. That is what they mean by a "2.5in to 3.5in hard disk caddy".

AGAIN!? How dare you accuse me of reading TFA. Are you trying to ruin my /. cred?

Re:2.5" drives only (0, Offtopic)

NitroWolf (72977) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013520)

The device takes the form of a 2.5in to 3.5in hard disk caddy with a couple of SATA connectors on the end.

Good job Claave! You apparently didn't even get to the second paragraph before submitting the article. You can't use a 2TB hard drive with this because there are no 2TB 2.5" drives yet.

Good job, GEvil! You didn't even read the article at ALL!

Please point to where it says you must use a 2.5" hard drive. Hmm, you don't think that maybe... JUST MAYBE... the 2.5" caddy is FOR THE SSD so that you can mount it in a 3.5" bay? Then you mount your 3.5" HD as normal!

Gosh... reading comprehension! Learn it. Live it! Love it! Take it home and call it George.

kthxbye

Re:2.5" drives only (1, Offtopic)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013626)

Hence the "Derrr nevermind" post I made six minutes before you posted this diatribe.

Re:2.5" drives only (1, Offtopic)

NitroWolf (72977) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013724)

Hence the "Derrr nevermind" post I made six minutes before you posted this diatribe.

Once again, you are full of fail. You don't think that maybe that was written just AFTER you made your uninformed post and PRIOR to when you decided to actually read the article and then post a correction?

Gosh, I dunno... maybe. We aren't in an IRC chat room. I know that's kind of hard to grasp for people with short attention spans, but really... we aren't. This is a message forum, it's not real time.

Re:2.5" drives only (3, Funny)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013816)

LOL, nerd fight. Someone call a doctor, they might get a paper-cut.

Pick the false statement (4, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013398)

No software or driver update is required

Some software is needed to achieve the magic

Re:Pick the false statement (4, Informative)

Seth Kriticos (1227934) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013642)

They are a bit confusing. The manual ( http://www.silverstonetek.com/downloads/Manual/storage/Multi-HDDBOOST-Manual.pdf [silverstonetek.com] ) though says, that the HDD has to be de-fragmented before usage. They don't mention other software, though they mention Windows here and there. The manual states though, that any OS supporting SATA will do.

(It's a Windows pussy thing again, you can freely ignore it).

You mean like in... (5, Informative)

kungfuj35u5 (1331351) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013402)

ZFS? Hybrid storage pools have been around for a long while, and exist as a pretty well balanced software solution to this problem. Hybrid solid-state/magnetic disks were in the market as well which used a similar technique. There is nothing new or impressive about this device.

Impressive is that it works with Windows (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013904)

There is nothing new or impressive about this device.

Other than that it is compatible with applications and peripheral drivers designed to run on the majority operating system for home and office PCs, which has no support for ZFS.

Re:Impressive is that it works with Windows (1)

kungfuj35u5 (1331351) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014112)

There is nothing new or impressive about this device.

Other than that it is compatible with applications and peripheral drivers designed to run on the majority operating system for home and office PCs, which has no support for ZFS.

Do you not remember the hybrid SSDs that were touted at the beginning of SSDs inception? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_drive [wikipedia.org]

Re:Impressive is that it works with Windows (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014246)

I remember them being shouted about with vista's release, being benchmarked with underwhelming results, resulting in the manufacturers playing a blame game with Microsoft over the poor results and who's responsibility it was to write good drivers for the drives, and the devices never actually appearing in stores, followed by the "vista sucks" brigade marching in and the entire concept getting buried as vista was the only thing that supported the drives.

I'll personally wait for the ATA-8 spec to be released and (hopefully) this implemented in a nice standard manner that plays nice with windows and linux.

Re:Impressive is that it works with Windows (1)

kungfuj35u5 (1331351) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014188)

Also, in case you don't read the replies above (which I suspect you haven't because you haven't acknowledged this reply to any extent, ReadyDrive already allowed for this feature in software.

ReadyDrive is not always available (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014302)

the majority operating system

ReadyDrive

As of last month, Windows XP still held two-thirds of market share [eweek.com] ; Windows Vista and Windows 7 combined made up about one-fourth. Of these, compro01 pointed out [slashdot.org] that ReadyDrive requires Windows Vista or higher.

Re:ReadyDrive is not always available (1)

kungfuj35u5 (1331351) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014394)

While I agree that vista is terrible and I could care less about windows 7, it is still implementable in XP. Even if nobody bothers to implement a utility to do this in software easily for XP (which can definitely be done with the win32 API using simple calls to generate "logical" folders without the need to even touch its driver API), why not put all the fast access stuff on the SSD and use hard disks for the bulky storage?

What 2TB HD? (0, Redundant)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013404)

This adapter is for 2.5" hard drives - if you put a 3.5 drive in it, you wouldn't fit drive+adapter+SSD into a 3.5" bay. Who makes a 2TB 2.5" SATA drive currently? I am not aware of any...

Re:What 2TB HD? (4, Informative)

NitroWolf (72977) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013534)

This adapter is for 2.5" hard drives - if you put a 3.5 drive in it, you wouldn't fit drive+adapter+SSD into a 3.5" bay. Who makes a 2TB 2.5" SATA drive currently? I am not aware of any...

Seriously... did not one read the article? You mount the fucking 2.5" drive in the caddy and mount your 3.5" HD where you would normally mount it and run a fucking cable from your HD to the caddy. Is this so fucking hard to get a grasp on? For christs sake.

dear kind sir (1, Funny)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013628)

Dear kind sir

I suspect we may have read different articles. Your assertion of

You mount the fucking 2.5" drive in the caddy and mount your 3.5" HD where you would normally mount it

Does not match the article [bit-tech.net] when it says

The device takes the form of a 2.5in to 3.5in hard disk caddy

So I thank you for your kind concern of

un a fucking cable from your HD to the caddy. Is this so fucking hard to get a grasp on? For christs sake

And I hope you have a very nice day kind sir.

Re:dear kind sir (1)

Sandbags (964742) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013698)

The 2.5" caddy is for the SSD and includes the controller card. A traditional drive bay is required in ADDITION to this caddy (which fits a second 3.5" bay adjacent to the HDD).

The man with the foul mouth is correct.

total internal PC space required is 2 x 3.5" bays. You can absolutely use a 2TB drive and a small SSD with this kit.

Re:dear kind sir (0, Offtopic)

NitroWolf (72977) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013706)

Dear kind sir

I suspect we may have read different articles. Your assertion of

You mount the fucking 2.5" drive in the caddy and mount your 3.5" HD where you would normally mount it

Does not match the article [bit-tech.net] when it says

The device takes the form of a 2.5in to 3.5in hard disk caddy

So I thank you for your kind concern of

un a fucking cable from your HD to the caddy. Is this so fucking hard to get a grasp on? For christs sake

And I hope you have a very nice day kind sir.

Dear kind sir,

You are a fucking idiot and can not read. Please do not continue to use the Internet, as even a short article is apparently beyond your comprehension.

You even go so far as to quote the point that refutes your assertion, trying to use it as an example of why you are correct. This is, perhaps, one of the ultimate forms of demonstration of your rank stupidity. Please destroy your computer now, or at the very least disconnect your computer from the internet so that you do not harm other people with your base ignorance.

Re:dear kind sir (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31013918)

You are being a bit of a cockbag about this all over the thread. Not saying you're wrong - the way you're expressing your opinion just has a bit of a cockbag feel to it. People generally don't take well to being abused so it's unlikely your attitude is going to inspire them to change their ways.

Re:dear kind sir (2, Funny)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014158)

Oh joy of joys, I was hoping you would be so kind as to bestow unto me the gift of another kind response.

You are a fucking idiot and can not read.

Clearly, you are the truest source of all wisdom. You are a gentleman of caliber previously unattained. I am not worthy of your kindness, dear sir and I bow to your civility.

Please do not continue to use the Internet, as even a short article is apparently beyond your comprehension.

You have graced us with so much kindness in so little space.

one of the ultimate forms of demonstration of your rank stupidity

Why thank you kindly sir. I hope you could be so kind as to continue to heap praise upon me.

Please destroy your computer now, or at the very least disconnect your computer from the internet so that you do not harm other people with your base ignorance

I am so glad that you devoted so much time to discussing the topic at hand. A lesser man might have resorted to slinging insults rather than actually talking about the (lack of) technical merit of the device that this slashvertisement is dedicated to. I am infinitely thankful to you for being so kind and considerate.

The depths of the technical aspects of this conversation are seldom reached or surpassed these days, I thank you for your immense insight and kindness in this matter.

Re:dear kind sir (0, Troll)

NitroWolf (72977) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014442)

Oh joy of joys, I was hoping you would be so kind as to bestow unto me the gift of another kind response.

You are a fucking idiot and can not read.

Clearly, you are the truest source of all wisdom. You are a gentleman of caliber previously unattained. I am not worthy of your kindness, dear sir and I bow to your civility.

Please do not continue to use the Internet, as even a short article is apparently beyond your comprehension.

You have graced us with so much kindness in so little space.

one of the ultimate forms of demonstration of your rank stupidity

Why thank you kindly sir. I hope you could be so kind as to continue to heap praise upon me.

Please destroy your computer now, or at the very least disconnect your computer from the internet so that you do not harm other people with your base ignorance

I am so glad that you devoted so much time to discussing the topic at hand. A lesser man might have resorted to slinging insults rather than actually talking about the (lack of) technical merit of the device that this slashvertisement is dedicated to. I am infinitely thankful to you for being so kind and considerate.

The depths of the technical aspects of this conversation are seldom reached or surpassed these days, I thank you for your immense insight and kindness in this matter.

tl;dr. np.

RTMFA already (4, Interesting)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013752)

They even have a fucking picture. [bit-tech.net]

The 2.5 caddy is for your SSD. Mount your 3.5 wherever you like.

Re:RTMFA already (0, Flamebait)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014230)

The 2.5 caddy is for your SSD. Mount your 3.5 wherever you like.

So the caddy is just a collossal waste of space and money, then. You should be able to fit a 2.5 HD with a 2.5 SSD into a single 3.5 bay. Instead you're going to use a 3.5 bay for your SSD, so that you can achieve some minor performance gains on your regular HD?

Why not just buy a caching HD controller instead?

Re:dear kind sir (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31013760)

Please explain, from your point of view, what is going on in the top-right corner of this picture from the article [bit-tech.net] .

Re:dear kind sir (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013778)

It's a caddy that goes into a 3.5" bay, and accepts a 2.5" SSD. Your regular spinning HD goes into its normal 3.5 bay, and connects to the caddy.

Thank you for your attention. Can we now go on and discuss the interesting things about that gizmo ?

Re:dear kind sir (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31013948)

Dear kind sir

I suspect we may have read different articles. Your assertion of

You mount the fucking 2.5" drive in the caddy and mount your 3.5" HD where you would normally mount it

Does not match the article [bit-tech.net] when it says

The device takes the form of a 2.5in to 3.5in hard disk caddy

So I thank you for your kind concern of

The 2.5in SSD goes into the devece; the 3.5in HDD goes somewhere else.

Holy carp! (1)

NitroWolf (72977) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013408)

Well... it looks like there finally might be a reason to spend the money on an SSD. Up until now, it would be a nice speed boost, but the cost:performance ratio is so out of whack for SSDs, it just makes purchasing one ridiculous unless you have some very specific needs. For 95% of the people who have purchased them, they just want the biggest e-peen. That's fine and all, but my days of swinging around the biggest e-peen are over, so I've held off buying an SSD until the prices drop and capacity goes WAYYYY up.

However, with this particular device, it actually makes it worth it to spring for a lower capacity, fast SSD (for naturally less money than the higher capacity ones) that will cache the files I use the most. The question is, and it wasn't really clear from the article unfortunately, is it a real time "mirror" - in so far as over time, if I start using more file and others less, will the drive start caching those newer files that I use more than the older ones I am using less? Assuming it does (since it would be kind of useless if not), this makes an 80 GB SSD a viable option!

However, the one drawback I see to this is my current RAID 0 setup would be unusable and I'd have to switch back to using one drive. That's not a terrible thing, as I've never been too thrilled with the whole RAID 0 thing and if the minor speed advantages it imparts are fully mitigated by the SSD - switching over to a single 2TB drive is awesome.

I would definitely shell out some bucks for this solution, assuming it works as advertised.

Re:Holy carp! (2, Insightful)

radish (98371) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013758)

Well... it looks like there finally might be a reason to spend the money on an SSD. Up until now, it would be a nice speed boost, but the cost:performance ratio is so out of whack for SSDs, it just makes purchasing one ridiculous unless you have some very specific needs

"Very specific needs" like wanting my OS & apps to load as fast as possible? Putting OS, apps, pagefile etc on the SSD greatly improves system responsiveness. FLACs, MP4s & JPGs can stay on a spinning disk, I don't need to access them so quickly. A couple hundred bucks on a smallish SSD gives you a MUCH better performance kick that spending the equivalent on RAM or CPU, in my experience (provided of course you have at least an average spec machine to start with).

Re:Holy carp! (1)

Phleg (523632) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013792)

RAID 0 is for chumps. You get a similar read speed boost from RAID 1, and you don't have the dramatically increased risk of failure.

Re:Holy carp! (2, Informative)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014054)

RAID 0 is for chumps. You get a similar read speed boost from RAID 1*

* read performance only

Re:Holy carp! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31013836)

Only a fucking dipshit would use RAID 0 for a system drive.

Re:Holy carp! (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014030)

Holy carp indeed... always loved that fish symbolism for the Christians.

Isn't this just a fancy cache? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31013418)

I DNRTFA, but this really just seems like a fancy version of cache to me....

Re:Isn't this just a fancy cache? (2, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013490)

No, it's a simple version of cache that doesn't actually do proper caching. All it does is preloading, and only over part of the device. Most of the volume of the hard disk will have no performance boost at all. You'd almost certainly be better off just having two devices, and using junction points on Windows or soft links on UNIX to move the frequently accessed files to the smaller disk.

Windows Only (2)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013480)

In order to appear as one storage device in Windows, SilverStone has needed to use some software to...

There is the turn off for me. If I were to use something like this I would want an OS agnostic solution. Of course that would mean the caching would have to be done at the block level rather than the file level so it might not be able to be as bright (a block level cache manager wouldn't know to deallocate space on the SSD immediately when a file is deleted for instance), but it should be quite practical to design an algorithm that keeps the most often used blocks in the cache (the SSD) without the whole thing being needless wiped first time you copy a massive data file in (you wouldn't want that 20Gb file to be written to the SSD first time it is laid down, at the expense of dropping blocks frmo OS startup files and such, in case it is hardly ever accessed again - for instance an image of a blueray disc that you are copying to another disc would not want to touch the cache as it'll probably be written one, read once then wiped. How this block-based cache management algorithm would work in detail is left as an exercise for the reader...

Waste of money and data safety (2, Insightful)

KDN (3283) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013600)

Would it not be more cost effective to add more main memory to the machine? Main memory would be a lot faster than SSD ram. Also I have a concern that frequently updated blocks (like your file system superblocks) would not get written out to disk in a timely fashion.

Now, maybe you could do it safely if the device had RRD ram to handle the caching, SSD flash ram to handle power outages, a rechargable battery or ultra cap to provide power to write the RRD ram to flash ram after a power outage, and a controller to handle all this. You would need to implement all the normal os buffer caching and writebacks as well.

Re:Waste of money and data safety (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013806)

Would it not be more cost effective to add more main memory to the machine?

I've never had a machine with capacity for more than 12GB RAM.

Also I have a concern that frequently updated blocks (like your file system superblocks) would not get written out to disk in a timely fashion.

That's a bigger problem with your RAM-based approach than with a flash-based one.

Now, maybe you could do it safely if the device had RRD ram to handle the caching, SSD flash ram to handle power outages, a rechargable battery or ultra cap to provide power to write the RRD ram to flash ram after a power outage, and a controller to handle all this.

You can get this with ZFS, a DRAM disk with a backup battery (volatile disks do exist that you load with DIMMs) and a caching raid controller with a backup battery.

Re:Waste of money and data safety (1)

Seth024 (1241160) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014436)

This would provide a speed boost to machines that already have enough memory (and most do). Part of your operating system would be copied to the SSD (persistent storage!). A system boot would be much faster because the data can be accessed from the SSD and doesn't have to be read from the HDD.
Having more memory, which only solves capacity problems, wouldn't be helpful in this case.

Move along, nothing to see here folks. (1)

Velorium (1068080) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013682)

Come back when there are some benchmarks to look at.

File system (1, Insightful)

olau (314197) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013704)

There was a paper some years ago about building the file system in such a manner that smaller files were placed on an SSD ( 1 MB) and large files were placed on a harddisk. At that time, SSDs were a lot smaller than today though.

Generally, it can make sense to discriminate your files because they don't all have the same space and access characteristics. Maybe 100 files is taking up 90% of the space compared to the other 9900 files. Maybe it's similar for the access pattern.

Still, for the idea to fly, you need to a robust algorithm and it needs to be clever about the strengths of the hardware. For instance, SSDs aren't so hot at random writes, sadly. Less than 0.1 msec write time would be neat for an ACID database.

For those that didn't RTFA (3, Informative)

HannethCom (585323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013708)

This solution uses two 3.5 inch drive bays in your computer, one for your large platter drive, the other for the caddy with a SSD drive.

Some software is installed (Windows only) that makes the two drives look like one.

The most used files from the large drive are copies to the smaller SSD drive. When files cached on the SSD drive are requested, they are read from there, if they do not exist there the request is passed onto the bigger drive. If the file is being used enough it will be copied to the SSD drive at the same time as the information is getting sent to the computer. You will not get SSD drive speeds in this case.

Yes, this is just using a SSD drive as a cache.

The product does not come with SSD storage, you have to buy a SSD drive of your choosing as well as this caddy.

Re:For those that didn't RTFA (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014198)

Really it sounds and I RTFA, like an extension of RAID0.

Shouldn't this be integrated into the controller? (1)

blackketter (72157) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013710)

It seems to me that the natural evolution in hard drives would be to build the flash cache on to the controller board on the hard drive. Is any drive manufacturer building this kind of hybrid flash/magnetic drive?

Re:Shouldn't this be integrated into the controlle (2, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014118)

Microsoft has a concept they call readydrive for this, mostly for laptops. It was released with vista (Not in XP and I never heard anything about Linux support) and seems to have kinda died. Last I heard anything about hardware was in 2007 with releases from the usual names (Samsung, Seagate, etc.), and I saw a few reviews (which appeared rather underwhelming (supposedly due to poor drivers), which resulted in a blame game between Microsoft and the manufactures over who's fault that was), but I don't think I ever saw the devices for sale.

There's also plans to include this type of functionality in the ATA-8 spec.

It seems logical (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013884)

1- RAM systems work that way too: L1 cache, L2 cache, slow RAM, to compare to RAM cache (OS or controller), SSD, HD.

2- SSDs right now are very un-optimized: you've got to put, for example, your whole OS on them, even though I'd guess 20-30% of the files are actually read frequently enough to justify being on the SSD... and probably 5-10% of the files are *written* frequently enough to justify NOT being on the SSD. So seeing the SSDs as a cache rather than a hard disk makes a whole lot of sense, and probably doubles or triples their efficiency, by letting them hold only files that best fit the SSD strong points, and hence a lot more of those files.

My concern is that this "cache"- or "ready-boost"-like mechanism requires quite some intelligence, either, at the most basic level, to keep count of which sectors get read a lot and written not so much, or even, at a higher level, to identify usage patterns and cache the appropriate files (boot, app launch, game play). I'm not sure where that intelligence goes on with the product described... if it goes on at all.

Re:It seems logical (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013924)

Another question:

it seems SSDs are mainly good at boosting boot times, app load times, and game level loading. Why don't HDs load the OS in their cache during POST ? It must be quite simple to memorize which sectors get read first after power-up ?

Re:It seems logical (1)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014172)

It would require much more complex firmware on the hard drive.

Re:It seems logical (1)

SlashDev (627697) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014406)

"Why don't HDs load the OS in their cache during POST ? It must be quite simple to memorize which sectors get read first after power-up ?" Well that's because POST needs to perform certain critical functions and recognize hardware (such as drives) in order to boot up the computer.

Breakthrough (4, Funny)

thethibs (882667) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013932)

Good Grief, Alice! They've invented cache!

'front-end'? (1)

janap (451953) | more than 4 years ago | (#31013952)

"'front-end' of your hard disk"?

What does that even mean?

Re:'front-end'? (1)

gimmebeer (1648629) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014084)

All files that begin with an "A", obviously.

Re:'front-end'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31014354)

That would be the purple part.

Oh, disk...sorry.

zfs hybrid pool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31014096)

Opensolaris can use SSD as cache device for zfs volumes. More details here http://www.filibeto.org/~aduritz/truetrue/solaris10/zfs/zfs-what-next-sdc09.pdf

Makes no sense... (1)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014280)

From http://www.silverstonetek.com/qa/qa_contents.php?pno=HDDBOOST&area=usa [silverstonetek.com]

After the initial mirroring of data is completed, SSD and HDD will have the same front -end data. HDDBOOST's controller chip will then set data read priority to SSD to take advantage of SSD's much faster read speed. HDDBOOST's priority will be determined by the following rules:

1.When data is present on both drives, read from SSD.
2.When data is not present on both drives, read from HDD.
3.Data will only be written to HDD.

[...]

In normal operating system environment, a system drive gets written onto constantly until the system is turned off. Compared to using SSD only as the main system drive, HDDBOOST will only write to SSD once sequentially during system boot up when it activates mirror backup. This significantly reduces the wear and tear that normally occurs when writing data to SSD.

This makes no sense. How is it supposed to read from the SSD if the SSD doesn't have a current copy of the data because you only wrote it to the hard disk?

Been There, Done That (2, Interesting)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014524)

Sounds a lot like the CacheCard from SiliconDust for Series1 TiVos [9thtee.com] , except instead of an SDRAM DIMM it uses an SSD. And the CacheCard doesn't sit between the devices but instead connects to the TiVo motherboard's card-edge connector, provides an Ethernet port, and is designed only to cache a particular 0.5 GiB part of the drive.

But since the SDRAM loses its contents on power off, it does add significant time to test and fill at startup, while the SSD would be ready nearly immediately.

writes to disk (1)

cenc (1310167) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014526)

I am not sure about the speed advantage of reads from disk, given the problem of what to prioritize; but I could see the advantage of writes to disk.

Does that make any sense?

Why not just make an SSD cache controller? (1)

DutchUncle (826473) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014572)

Why hasn't someone already made this, just like caching IDE controllers? (Terminology wrong, of course, in that SATA doesn't need a "controller" in the IDE sense because it's host-to-host)

An inline device that you plug in the SATA line. Should be the size of a USB memory stick with a connector at each end, or with an extension cord & connector at one end. Give it 2 to 8 GB of memory, again like a USB memory stick. Different sizes could be different price points.

Monitor all reads. Cache them while you have empty pages. Obviously the first thing to be read and cached will be the boot sequence on the first powerup after installation, which is probably what you want most anyway, and 2GB is bigger than your core working set even on Windows. On any read, if in cache, return cached copy (obviously), otherwise pass along to disk. Best design will completely avoid delay on the return data by letting it pass through and monitoring it multidrop. Maintain a reference counter on the N pages cached, and on the next favorite N pages (at least); any time a page in cache (or reference count list) is written, invalidate it, replacing the next time you see one of your "next favorite" pages go past. Ditto if a "next favorite" reference count gets higher than the lowest of the N live pages.

Remember, this thing never instigates action on its own, just piggybacks on system activity. Eventually it stabilizes on your OS, your most-used programs, etc. When you do an update, things get invalidated for a while - your next-frequently-used replace them, until the reference counts go back up. It's self-tuning. The operating system doesn't even know it's there - no driver, no changes, no special code. The disk drive doesn't know it's there. For a frame delay on the SATA request you get acceleration on everything; and if you parse the request in parallel to match you can keep the delay below a full frame.
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