As we all know SSd's can be expensive unless you pick a cheap drive. And then you roll the dice on having problems or not. We all know the stock drives are slow. For this guide we will be using a stock 1tb 5,300 rpm drive from a G75VX with a full windows install as well as a few games on there to simulate some use on the drive.
Caching is not something new. The Seagate XT drives offer this and they do it well. However ram caching is must faster and in most cases cheaper. So lets look at a break down of some prices.
120GB SSD will run $80 on sale to $140
4GB of Ram will run $25-$40
Seagate Momentus XT will run about $130
Four the testing i am using the stock 5,300 RPM 1tb drive that came with the G75VX. 2Gb of additional ram was installed for a total of 10gb. 4gb of that was used for a Ram Cache giving the rest of the system 6gb of ram what is enough for gaming.
1tb 5,300 RPM drive with a 4GB Ram Cache Pass 1
1tb 5,300 RPM drive with a 4GB Ram Cache Pass 2
1tb 5,300 RPM drive with a 4GB Ram Cache Pass 3
As you can see in the benchmarks there is a huge performance gain however this does not translate into that large of a gain in real world performance. However you will see a nice gain in performance across the board. Why this may not be as fast as a true SSD in some regards in others it is faster. This is a nice cheap and easy alternative to a SSD if money is tight. Simply adding a additional 2GB of memory allows you to take advantage of 4GB of ram cache and still have enough ram left over for for gaming. However this is much faster then the XT drives and will only run you about $20 to do this and will get you much closer to true SSD speeds then a XT ever will.
As a controlled test i had a friend use the system with the stock drive running the 4GB ram cache and play some wow and do some normal use. I told him i just put a new intel 530 in it and i wanted him to see he thought it was faster with a new firmware. He said it felt faster but it was hard to tell but he said it was pretty fast.
SSD replacement? No.
Good SSD Alternative? Yes
Easy to set up and install? Yes
Gives you huge numbers in bench's so yo can be cool online? Yes
You don't need to toss down $100+ on a SSD to have a fast storage solution. For a few bucks you can improve your disk performance by a large margin.
Later this week i will go ahead and short stoke some 750gig XT's then RAID them and run them with a ram cache and see how fast we can get mechanic drives and how they would compare to a SSD.