Ever wanted to feel the speed of a SSD but just can't take the sacrifice of space? Silverstone thinks they have the answer, announcing a new product, the HDDBoost. The HDDBoost allows users to pair a SSD with their mechanical hard drive, promising up to a 70% increase is hard drive performance.
The HDDBoost acts as an interface between the two drives, essentially turning the SSD into a large cache for the hard drive. Upon installation, the front-end data of your hard drive is mirrored onto the SSD, with a backup taken every time you boot to make sure the data is the same. From then on, the HDDBoost controller chip determines when to read from each device.
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.
No software is needed as the HDDBoost takes care of the mirroring and data reading automatically. However, Silverstone does provide a utility for users to update the device's firmware as well as conduct their own data mirroring.
Silverstone not only seeks to bring users speed and capacity, but drive longevity as well. A major contention about SSDs when they came out was the fact that NAND flash has a limited write capacity and thus SSD lifetime was in question. Because HDDBoost only writes to the SSD during the mirroring process, Silverstone feels it will help extend your SSD's lifetime.
The HDDBoost is certainly an interesting idea, though there are some questions and concerns to be raised. For one thing, users will still need to purchase a SSD to go with this, so it is not necessarily a simple, cheap way to gain increased performance. In addition to this, some of the device's methods seem a bit counterproductive to its purpose.
Limiting writes to only the hard drive during normal usage means users won't be able to take advantage of the impressive random write numbers that some drives are able to put out, like the Intel X25-M drive. Checking the data mirror at every startup nullifies much of any boot time advantage the device might provide. Still, until tests begin to crop up, the potential of the HDDBoost is a bit of a mystery.
According to Bit-tech, the HDDBoost is set for release in Europe on the 19th at a price of €33 (exc VAT).
For more info, check out the product page here.