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Author Topic: Smart Response Technology and partitioning  (Read 5021 times)

nosie

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Smart Response Technology and partitioning
« on: September 25, 2011, 01:41:45 AM »
I'm about to build a new PC with W7 and believe so far that I have settled for a Z68 MB + the Intel SSD 311 to utilize the Smart Response Technology. It's promise of cost efficient speed by quick start of the OS and rapid response of frequently used software is quite tantalizing. Some say it also offers a possibility also to speed up work on heavy files, e g large picture files, video editing etc. However, as I get it, SRT is restricted to work with one hard drive/partition only.

To me, this seems like Good bye to partitioning the (mechanical) hard drive as we used to do, in order to separate the OS+software install from saved files. Any one care to comment on this?


Arizona Hot

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Re: Smart Response Technology and partitioning
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2011, 08:50:57 PM »
I presume that you want to seperate your internet files from the main Windows partition. If you keep your other partitions only for backups of those files, there shouldn't be a problem. I presume you don't want to do that because of the space of duplicated files. Even if that is so, you probably still want a seperate partition for your original Windows install files and your other software install files.

db90h

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Re: Smart Response Technology and partitioning
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2011, 04:47:07 AM »
EDIT: ... oops, sorry, I made an irrelevant response about NTFS Junction points .. del this if wanted, I didn't realize subject matter, was speed reading as I tried to get back to work (as usual). I did not recognize the SRT acronym at first, hence the confusion.

If it is somehow relevant, and I don't think it is, I recommend NTFSLink (despite authoring a number of junction related tools myself) for management and use of NTFS Junctions. Just be careful, as to this day Explroer does not handle them well, and so it is easy to accidentally delete the backing data, when you meant to delete only the link (junction).
« Last Edit: October 19, 2011, 04:55:07 AM by db90h »

tomos

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Re: Smart Response Technology and partitioning
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2011, 05:10:01 AM »
Read a little about it in wikipedia -
http://en.wikipedia...._Response_Technology

says it's only available in Raid mode
Quote
It is available only when the (integrated) disk controller is configured in RAID mode (but not AHCI or IDE modes)

dont know hardly anything about raid - does that have an influence?

The biggest advantage of partitioning is for backup, in particular imaging of the OS. I guess these days though that can be done excluding data files. Or just lump the lot together and do a monster image on a 3TB backup drive :)
Tom

40hz

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Re: Smart Response Technology and partitioning
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2011, 06:53:14 AM »
First up - welcome to the forum! A charter member since 2006 and this is only your first post? That has got to be some sort of record! :)

----------------

OK. On to business...

There's a couple of test articles I think you'll want to read.

First is from the folks at PC Perspective, who wax enthusiastic about it. Enough so that they made it an Editor's Choice. (Link here.)

Quote
Final Thoughts

Ryan awarded the Z68 solution his Editor's Choice. I'm going to match his with one from the Storage Editor. I'm not only awarding for the Z68 - I'm awarding for the potential of the dynamic duo of storage goodness that it enables. The Z68 / SSD 311 combination is what hybrid hard disk drives should have been from the start, with the added bonus of being able to mate it with whichever spinning disk the user wants.

AnandTech, following another of their characteristically in-depth tests, was also generally impressed. (Full article here.) They voiced a few reservations about the across the board performance gains for all applications, noting that the most consistent gains were in the "light use" testing scenario. (See below - emphasis added.)

Quote
Intel's Smart Response Technology (SRT) is an interesting addition to the mix. For starters, it's not going to make your high end SSD obsolete. You'll still get better overall performance by grabbing a large (80-160GB+) SSD, putting your OS + applications on it, and manually moving all of your large media files to a separate hard drive. What SRT does offer however is a stepping stone to a full blown SSD + HDD setup and a solution that doesn't require end user management. You don't get the same performance as a large dedicated SSD, but you can turn any hard drive into a much higher performing storage device. Paired with a 20GB SLC SSD cache, I could turn a 4-year-old 1TB hard drive into something that was 41% faster than a VelociRaptor.

If you're building a system for someone who isn't going to want to manage multiple drive letters, SRT may be a good alternative. Similarly, if you're building a budget box that won't allow for a large expensive SSD, the $110 adder for an Intel SSD 311 can easily double the performance of even the fastest hard drive you could put in there. The most obvious win here is the lighter user that only runs a handful of applications on a regular basis. As our tests have shown, for light workloads you can easily get the performance of an X25-M G2 out of a fast hard drive + an SSD cache.

This is understandable in that Intel has limited the absolute cache size. So with certain applications, or usage patterns, there's a good likelihood that not everything you'd want to remain cached will do so:

Quote
The Downside: Consistency

Initially it's very easy to get excited about Intel's SRT. If you only run a handful of applications, you'll likely get performance similar to that of a standalone SSD without all of the cost and size limitations. Unfortunately, at least when paired with Intel's SSD 311, it doesn't take much to kick some of that data out of the cach
..
..
..
A pure SSD setup is going to give you predictable performance across the board regardless of what you do, whereas Intel's SRT is more useful in improving performance in more limited, repetitive usage models. Admittedly most users probably fall into the latter category.

Once again it's a case of "Your mileage may vary." Like so many other things in life. ;D

AnandTech also experienced some reliability problems while testing. Although the author of the article pointed out they were non-replicable errors and hesitated to blame SRT for them, it's enough to urge extra caution. Especially since Intel has a history of rare but serious problems emerging several months after a new technology gets introduced into their product line.

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In my use I've only noticed two reliability issues with Intel's SRT. The first issue was with an early BIOS/driver combination where I rebooted my system (SSD cache was set to maximized) and my bootloader had disappeared. The other issue was a corrupt portion of my Portal 2 install, which only appeared after I disabled by SSD cache. I haven't been able to replicate either issue and I can't say for sure that they are even caused by SRT, but I felt compelled to report them nevertheless. As with any new technology, I'd approach SRT with caution—and lots of backups.

BOOYAH.pngSmart Response Technology and partitioning

Dunno...

I'm at the point where I'm going to need to do some serious building soon. But, while I like what I see with SRT, it's a little too new (and offers not quite enough) that I'm not going to jump on it right now. At the very least I'd like to let it get out in the field long enough for some real-word performance and reliability data to start coming back. Most likely I'll just wait another six months or so for Ivy Bridge since an adequate but completely integrated GPU and native USB 3.0 support is more important to me than faster boot times and drive caching.

Yup...think I'm gonna wait and see since I don't need to do anything right this very minute.

@nosie - If you do build this beastie you're planning, please keep us informed about how you made out?

Luck! :Thmbsup:

« Last Edit: October 19, 2011, 07:07:55 AM by 40hz »

Stoic Joker

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Re: Smart Response Technology and partitioning
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2011, 06:56:31 AM »
Crap, 40 got ahead of me ... But I'll go ahead and post my nonsense anyway.

To me, this seems like Good bye to partitioning the (mechanical) hard drive as we used to do, in order to separate the OS+software install from saved files. Any one care to comment on this?

Segregation, is segregation ... It can be done with either partitions or folders, the end result is still the same. Separating things by partition is only necessary when fragmentation is an issue/factor.

With mechanical drives, if you have several databases and log files (things that like to fragment) on a single partition. They will all be trying to write to the largest free space and therefore end up chopping eachother to bits. This is why fragment prone files (like those mentioned) are typically segregated from static files (like the OS) to keep mechanical drives from scuttling as the read head flutters back and forth trying to keep up with the read operation seeks for the rest of a badly fragmented file.

With SSDs, none of that matters. there are no read heads ... So regardless if the file is on one piece or 1,000 it'll still read at the same speed because there is no mechanical arm to wag back and forth trying to find the next fragment.

So while it may seem like a problem that it's forcing the single partition "issue", the point is you don't really need more than one anyway.

40hz

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Re: Smart Response Technology and partitioning
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2011, 05:25:10 PM »
Crap, 40 got ahead of me ... But I'll go ahead and post my nonsense anyway.

@SJ - Feel free to slip in ahead of me whenever you like.

Anything that gets me out of typing up something is fine by me. ;)

 ;D



Stoic Joker

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Re: Smart Response Technology and partitioning
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2011, 06:27:12 PM »
A charter member since 2006 and this is only your first post? That has got to be some sort of record! :)

...Guess that's why they call'em nosie and not chatty. ;)

JavaJones

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Re: Smart Response Technology and partitioning
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2011, 11:32:46 PM »
All I want to know is will SRT work and make a difference in the case where you have a primary SSD and a secondary spinning disk, and want to cache the 2nd disk (which is not the boot drive). Anyone know? SSDs are still too expensive to use for large amounts of primary storage but if I can get improved data access speed to my mass storage hard drive using SRT that would still be worthwhile, even in addition to a main SSD.

Here's an example usage scenario where I could see the caching actually working, despite large file sizes: I'm an amateur photographer, I shoot in RAW and use Lightroom to rate, select, edit, and publish my photos. Usually I spend several days - sometimes even a week or more - on a set of shots, depending on how big the set is, how much free time I have to work on it, and how much editing each shot requires. Now a set is never larger than 32GB (the size of my memory card), and generally much smaller, averaging 5-10GB. I load up Lightroom and import the folder, all images are loaded, previews and thumbnails are generated, etc. Now I leave Lightroom open and every time I switch between images it should be noticing the increased use of these files and caching them. In a given start-to-finish selection and editing process I may look at a single image 100 times, from the start where I do a quick pass to select likely good ones, to the 2nd pass where I select the cream of the crop, to the editing phase, and then the final pass where I weed out any edits that didn't work out, through to the meta data editing phase, and finally publishing where I upload to Picasa and Facebook. In all those stages the large image files need to be accessed multiple times. So I reiterate the question, would SRT help at all in such a scenario? I'm getting a Z68 motherboard and tempted to test it...

- Oshyan