Enable SSD Caching

SSD Caching is primarily used to accelerate a standard mechanical HDD. If you don’t necessarily want to buy a large expensive SSD due to budget or reliability reasons, SSD caching technology will allow you to improve the speeds at which data is read by allowing the HDD to use SSD space for data cache. Because of how fast SSDs are, the read of data becomes a lot quicker than a standard HDD cache. This guide will show you how to setup your own SSD caching.
Things to know

Keep in mind that SSD Caching is not here to turn your standard HDD into an SSD. It is only capable of speeding up certain processes. Many other functions are still going to remain limited in the scope of the performance of that particular HDD.

Intel has made SSD Caching available with their recent Z68 chipset and newer, so if you happened to have this chipset, you can setup SSD Caching on your machine. Other manufacturers are slowly integrating their own caching strategies, such as Asus, who gives special ports allocation for SSD caching as well as software that accompanies it for monitoring and status updates.

The Setup

The basics of SSD caching are that the main operating system should be installed on your primary HDD. The SSD should be clean of data, because it will be specially formatted upon enabling SSD caching. Both drives should be connected to SATA III ports on the motherboard. The SATA Controller should be in RAID mode.

After the requirements above are satisfied, you should be able to boot into Windows, and obtain the latest Smart Response Technology software from Intel.

Keep in mind that before you begin using SSD caching, you should update your BIOS and the chipset firmware to the latest revision before continuing with the SSD caching setup.

Once everything is completed, and you are inside of Windows with the SRT software up and running, all you have to do is choose your main HDD, choose the accelerate option and follow the prompts to select your available SSD for caching. When complete, you should see that your drive is listed along side of the SSD and marked as accelerated.

Specialty SSD caching that is done by other manufacturer such as Asus follows similar principles. You have to make sure that you plug both of your drives into the ports designated for SSD caching. Then, you will need to install latest software from Asus or other manufacturer, and follow the prompts to enable SSD caching for that particular board.


Additional Stuff

The steps above only indicate SSD caching performed on Windows OS. At this point in time, Linux OS is not officially supported. Intel SRT software or other programs are not officially available on Linux OS. The ETA of this availability is unknown at this point.

If you already have an SSD and a HDD, but your main OS is loaded onto the SSD and you would like to change that, and also give SSD Caching a shot, best way to do that would be to create an image of your drive. This is a full backup of the entire drive and can be done using third party software such as Acronis True Image.

Once you have your drive imaged, you can load it (or perform clone operation) onto your HDD. You want to do this with the SATA mode set to AHCI. When the cloning is done, you can force the boot from the HDD, and upon startup, format the SSD. This method saves you time from re-install the OS all over again onto the HDD. You may need to make changes to the connections at the board, as well as modify the SATA Controller mode back to RAID when image cloning is completed.

*Disclaimer: AVADirect and its Staff are not responsible for any damage to software/hardware, loss of data or personal injury by following our How-To guides. These guides are provided only as an aid to help you troubleshoot system problems. If you do not feel comfortable performing these steps its always best to send in your system to a local repair shop or contact an appropriate technical support line for additional assistance.