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Old 06-18-2011, 07:10 AM   #1
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Default SRT (Smart Response Technology/SSD Caching) Setup

Okay. Here's the dealio. I've got the new rig coming as per this post.

Briefly, again, here's the drives I'll have to play with. And here's the board's actual page.

3 x 64GB Crucial SSD
2 x 1TB WD Black HDD

Now, FOR SURE, there will be 2 x 64GB SSD in RAID0, and the 2 x 1TB WD Blacks will be in RAID1.

The SSDs will hold my OS partition (which would then include the Adobe Suite and other programs). The HDDs will hold data. This would be music, movies, documents, photos, etc.

QUESTION: I don't know if any of you will have an answer for me because the technology is so new, but will I have a bigger performance boost my adding the extra SSD to the RAID0 array (so 3 x 64GB SSDs) OR by caching the 2 x 1TB RAID1 WD HDDs to the extra SSD (if that's even possible to do...not sure if you can cache a RAID array or not).

Now, I THINK that I remember hearing that you can actually set aside a particular amount of an SSD for caching. So, could I theoretically RAID0 all THREE SSDs and then set aside, oh, 32GB for the caching of the 2 x 1TB HDDs? I feel as though that would be the best of both worlds, but I don't know if it's possible. Help me out guys. I've tried to get familiar with the technology but there's just not much out on it right now. I've read a few things from anandtech, but that's about it.

Thanks in advance for any advice, hints, clues, or articles to read up on.

'Preciate it, fellas.
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Old 06-18-2011, 02:53 PM   #2
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Default Re: SRT (Smart Response Technology/SSD Caching) Setup

I've not got an awful lot of advice to give... but this video:

might help you!
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Old 06-19-2011, 04:00 PM   #3
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Default Re: SRT (Smart Response Technology/SSD Caching) Setup

So, upon further digging and digging on Google to try to find out what I can and can't do, it looks like this system is fairly open. Unfortunately, there's not much out there for performance benchmarks and such. I cannot seem to find whether or not the caching drive has to be on the same SATA set to be used. For instance, I'm not sure if I can put the caching SSD on the SATAIII channel and use it as the cache drive for HDDs that are on the SATAII channel.

Numbers that I'll be using to calculate speed are due to a few things. My SSDs are rated at 355MB/s read and 75MB/s write. SATAII (3Gb/s) is equal to 384MB/s, while SATAIII (6Gb/s) is equal to 768MB/s. Those are the numbers, if I am interpreting them correctly. (And yes, I do know that write/read is theoretical in nature.)

Here are what I've narrowed my options down to:

Option 1:
2 x 64GB SSDs in RAID0 on the Intel SATAIII (6Gb/s) channels.
2 x 1TB HDDs in RAID1 on the Intel SATAII (3Gb/s) channels.
1 x 64GB SSD on Intel SATAII (or, if possible, the Marvell SATAIII) channel acting as the cache drive for the HDDs.

Pro: I wouldn't cap my read speed (710Mb/s on the SSDs with RAID, but I would only double my write speed (to a theoretical 150Mb/s with RAID). I would also have a dedicated SSD for caching, instead of a partition if I RAID0'd all three of the SSDs (which I'm not sure is possible since the HDDs would need to then be on the SATAIII channel with the SSDs on the SATAII--capping the read speed).

Con: Would not take full advantage of RAID setup and SATAIII, but that is a limitation of these boards having split SATAIII channels (2 on the Intel, 2 on the Marvell). Would not be able to span the RAID array to 3 x 64GB (so I would have only around 120GB for my OS and programs, which to be honest, is plenty though).

Option 2:
3 x 64GB SSDs in RAID0 on the Intel SATAII (3Gb/s) channels.
2 x 1TB HDDs in RAID1 on the Intel SATAIII (6Gb/s) channels.
Let SRT set aside 32GB or 64GB of the SSD RAID0 array to cache for the 2 x 1TB HDDs.

Pro: Would be able to theoretically triple write speeds to 225MB/s. If didn't want to set aside all 64GB for the cache, I would have that option.

Con: Read speeds would be capped at the speed of the SATAII controller. In fact, if I'm understanding the speed of the SATAII channel (384MB/s), then ONE SSD would be approaching that cap. Besides, as mentioned above, I do not know if this is possible since the cache drive would be on a separate SATA channel from the HDDs I want to cache with the SSD.

___

So. After weighing these options, which seems like it makes more sense? I know that a good analogy is stock diversification or "don't put all your eggs in one basket." I feel like option 2 is going to be "putting my eggs in one basket." Not to mention that my speeds will be capped due to the SATAII channel. I do feel as if option 1 makes the most sense. I don't know if I'll even "feel" that extra 75MB/s increase in write speed that would theoretically be present in option 2.

Anyways. Let me know if I'm thinking this through correctly.
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Old 06-19-2011, 06:17 PM   #4
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Default Re: SRT (Smart Response Technology/SSD Caching) Setup

Have you considered RAID5? You'd loose some capacity, but you'd be allowing for the failure of one of your SSD's! You would also get RAID0 (between two devices) speed.
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Old 06-20-2011, 12:29 AM   #5
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Default Re: SRT (Smart Response Technology/SSD Caching) Setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by j03 View Post
Have you considered RAID5? You'd loose some capacity, but you'd be allowing for the failure of one of your SSD's! You would also get RAID0 (between two devices) speed.
There are a few reasons I haven't considered it in this particular setup. First and foremost, I'd have to run them on the SATAII channel, as that's the only channel to allow for 4 devices in RAID. Second, losing capacity may really be a downfall, especially since I'm planning on caching the 2 x 1TB HDDs with an SSD. I would lose one SSD to the RAID5 array, and then out of the roughly 120GB that is left, I would want to allocate 32-64GB to cache the 2 x 1TB HDDs (and that's even if I can do that since they'd be on a different channel)...leaving me with under 100GB for my OS and installations. Lastly, and this the biggest "why I won't do it"...I'm not going to keep any mission critical data on the OS drive. I'll keep the scratch disks for programs and the working files there, then they'll be moved back to the RAID1 array when finished. If a disk would fail, so be it...the data will be backed up. I'll also be finding a program to backup the RAID1 array, as well. So, therefore, redundancy shouldn't be an issue here. But thank you for the idea. Maybe someday when we get all 8 SATA ports running at at least 6Gb/s on the same onboard controller...that'll be the day!
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Old 06-28-2011, 11:55 AM   #6
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Default Re: SRT (Smart Response Technology/SSD Caching) Setup

Welp. Nothing worked as planned, but I'm okay with that, I guess. Here's what happened.

Got everything thrown together. Fired it up. Everything seemed A-OK.

I first went in to the board and set up RAID0 on the two SSDs on the SATAIII channel. I also set up the RAID1 array on the two 1TB HDDs on the SATAII channel. The last SSD was just on the SATAII channel.

Rebooted. Installed W7. Installed drivers for everything. Installed Intel Rapid Storage Technology software to run SRT/SSD caching. Initially couldn't find anywhere to "accelerate" (activate caching). Upgraded to the newest 10.5 version that I could NOT find on Intel's site.

This installed fine. I found the accelerate tab. Selected the extra SSD on the SATAII channel to cache for the RAID1 array. It initialized fine. Said it was working.

HOWEVER, upon restart, it did not work. After EVERY reboot, the drives did not initialize. I could not see the extra SSD OR the 1TB RAID1 array on the system. IRST was just throwing a fit. In order to fix this issue, I had to go back into my board's RAID settings, disassociate the SSD for caching, and make it a non-raid drive once again. This allowed all drives to be seen in Windows again.

Thought it might be a fluke, so I tried it again. Twice. Same thing happened. Upon reboot after installing, it failed and I wasn't able to see any drives associated with caching--only my OS RAID0 array.

So. I got fed up. I don't know how much of a performance boost I'll see with caching on my data drives array anyways. I decided to pull the caching drive, and I'll install the SSD on my parents computer and give them a little speed boost. If it comes to the point when the sh!t actually works, I'll give it another shot. As for right now, I don't have time to mess with this. Google yielded no help. It's just too new, I think. In fact, it might be that you can't cache a RAID array, anyways. All tests that I found on it never showed tests with RAID'ed HDDs. So, we'll Assume that's why it didn't work. But to be honest, I really have no clue what it was.

Anyways. I just wanted to give and update on that.
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Old 07-14-2011, 02:21 AM   #7
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Default Re: SRT (Smart Response Technology/SSD Caching) Setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by dude_56013 View Post
Welp. Nothing worked as planned, but I'm okay with that, I guess. Here's what happened.

Got everything thrown together. Fired it up. Everything seemed A-OK.

I first went in to the board and set up RAID0 on the two SSDs on the SATAIII channel. I also set up the RAID1 array on the two 1TB HDDs on the SATAII channel. The last SSD was just on the SATAII channel.

Rebooted. Installed W7. Installed drivers for everything. Installed Intel Rapid Storage Technology software to run SRT/SSD caching. Initially couldn't find anywhere to "accelerate" (activate caching). Upgraded to the newest 10.5 version that I could NOT find on Intel's site.

This installed fine. I found the accelerate tab. Selected the extra SSD on the SATAII channel to cache for the RAID1 array. It initialized fine. Said it was working.

HOWEVER, upon restart, it did not work. After EVERY reboot, the drives did not initialize. I could not see the extra SSD OR the 1TB RAID1 array on the system. IRST was just throwing a fit. In order to fix this issue, I had to go back into my board's RAID settings, disassociate the SSD for caching, and make it a non-raid drive once again. This allowed all drives to be seen in Windows again.

Thought it might be a fluke, so I tried it again. Twice. Same thing happened. Upon reboot after installing, it failed and I wasn't able to see any drives associated with caching--only my OS RAID0 array.

So. I got fed up. I don't know how much of a performance boost I'll see with caching on my data drives array anyways. I decided to pull the caching drive, and I'll install the SSD on my parents computer and give them a little speed boost. If it comes to the point when the sh!t actually works, I'll give it another shot. As for right now, I don't have time to mess with this. Google yielded no help. It's just too new, I think. In fact, it might be that you can't cache a RAID array, anyways. All tests that I found on it never showed tests with RAID'ed HDDs. So, we'll Assume that's why it didn't work. But to be honest, I really have no clue what it was.

Anyways. I just wanted to give and update on that.

This is pretty much want I want to do (but instead of 2x 64gb in RAID 0, 1x120gb), did you ever figure out what went wrong?
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Old 07-29-2011, 03:06 AM   #8
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Default Re: SRT (Smart Response Technology/SSD Caching) Setup

Hey man, I'm sorry I never got back to you sooner. I was on vacation.

But, no, there is no more news, unfortunately. I got fed up. You may not have a problem with your setup, as I think RAID is what caused issues with mine. Caching with a single drive seems to me much easier than on an SSD (let alone, my RAID'ed OS SSDs, plus my data HDDs cached on a separate SSD!) And, you can actually set aside space on an in-use SSD to cache (almost like partitioning) an HDD.

But, no caching for me. But, that's okay. We'll give the technology (more specifically, the software behind it) some time to mature before trying it again. Haha! That's what you get for being an early adopter, I guess. Oh well!
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Old 07-29-2011, 04:25 AM   #9
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Default Re: SRT (Smart Response Technology/SSD Caching) Setup

rapid 5 good for me
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