SilverStone has just announced its HDDBoost, a device that teams an SSD with a hard disk. The aim is to offer the incredibly fast data access speeds typical of SSDs with the high capacity of a hard disk but to make it easy to use, so both appear as a single storage device in Windows. Essentially, the HDDBoost uses an SSD as an huge cache for your hard disk, theoretically delivering the best of both technologies with no compromise. This sounds almost as magical as the Lucid Hydra, but with a much better chance of success.
The device takes the form of a 2.5in to 3.5in hard disk caddy with a couple of SATA connectors on the end. These connectors allow you to daisy-chain the hard disk to the SSD, and then connect the caddy to your motherboard. As usual, images are better than words for explaining weird layouts, so here you go:
In order to appear as one storage device in Windows, SilverStone has needed to use some software to con the OS. As soon as you install the HDDBoost, it performs a mirror backup of the most commonly used hard disk files to the SSD.
In SilverStone’s own words: "During the first mirror backup process, the HDDBoost will ‘mirror’ the front-end data from the HDD to the SSD directly. Defragmenting the HDD first will ensure there is as much data as possible to be copied to the SSD."
Once the SSD has all the priority data from the hard disk, the HDDBoost storage controller sets the data read priority to the SSD, telling Windows to favour the SSD when possible. This makes the storage sub-system as fast as the SSD, but with all the storage space of the hard disk.
Some software is needed to achieve the magic, but the HDDBoost looks like one of the most innovative yet practical products we’ve seen in ages. It’s due for release on19 February 2010, and set to cost €33 (exc VAT) in Europe. We hope to have one in the Labs for testing soon to see if it all works.
In the meantime, take a look at SilverStone’s flashy, er, Flash animations of the HDDBoost in action and let us know your thoughts in the forums.
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