A couple of months ago we took a look at OCZ’s RevoDrive Hybrid, a PCI-express solution incorporating 128GB of RAW flash memory and a 1TB hard drive into a single cached solution that you drop into your system. Whilst we did find it a great solution, the slight downside was the cost and the fact that the hard drive was only 5400RPM, a factor that may put a few people off considering there is a slightly cheaper alternative solution that rivals the all in one hybrid solution such as the RevoDrive Hybrid. This alternative solution is to provide solely the cache drive – typically a small 64GB SSD and alongside that the Dataplex software key that links the SSD to a hard drive giving the SSD read performance but with the hard drive capacity that everyone longs for.
We have seen recently, more so during our time at UK LAN Gaming event i47, the appeal of SSD caches is starting to grow upon the end user and their relative cost against performance gain in upgrading older systems is a major factor in this uptake. We do have to take into account that for pure all round performance that a pure SSD solution is best, but this quickly becomes an expensive option when you’re after a large amount of fast readable storage at your fingertips.
Built ground up for caching purposes, lying at the heart of the drive is a SandForce SF-2281 controller, one that has dominated the market for quite a while with its solid performance, even given the fact that OCZ acquired Indilinx early on last year. Like other caches of its type, the Synapse hosts 64GB of MLC flash memory and offers upto 550MB/s read performance. One feature we do note with the Synapse is the capacity over provisioning and in the case of the Synapse, this is at a level of 50% and given the firmware is built for caching instead of long term storage, the data processes and footprint is completely different to that of a standard SSD. Given the relative success of the RevoDrive Hybrid, lets take a look on to see how the Synapse not only performs in its own right, but when setup into a cached array with one of our Seagate Barracuda 3TB drives.
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