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Review: OCZ Synapse SSD cache

by Parm Mann on 11 November 2011, 17:00 4.0

Tags: OCZ (NASDAQ:OCZ)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qa72f

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Final thoughts and rating

We've always approached hybrid storage solutions with caution. They tend to feel like a stop-gap to something better, and it often seems simpler to install a small solid-state drive alongside a large hard-disk and then manage the data yourself.

However, the more time we spend with hybrid solutions, the more we begin to appreciate exactly what it is they have to offer. In this case, and after a few days of use, the Synapse cache has dramatically improved the responsive of our test PC. Windows 7 is fast to boot, our regular applications load quickly, and the difference between running the PC with or without the cache is impossible not to notice.

The performance boost is hugely-convincing and the SSD-like responsiveness is all down to a series of complex Dataplex algorithms that ensure only the most relevant blocks need reside on the SSD. Not having to store entire files suggests that the 32GB cache offered by the 64GB drive will be sufficient for most users, and the relatively-small capacity helps keep cost below £120.

A few provisos remain - the Synapse is only compatible with Windows 7 and will serve as a cache to only one pre-defined volume - but it's considerably cheaper than the RevoDrive Hybrid and it's noticeably more flexible, too.

Bottom line: functioning alongside your existing hard disk, the OCZ Synapse is an impressive upgrade for any Windows 7 PC.

The Good

Clever mix of performance and capacity
Cache can deliver SSD-like speed in ideal scenarios
Easy upgrade for hard-disk based PCs
Ideal for use in a laptop with two storage bays

The Bad

Only compatible with Windows 7
Won't always offer the speed of a comparable SSD

HEXUS Rating


OCZ Synapse (64GB)

HEXUS Awards


OCZ Synapse (64GB)

HEXUS Where2Buy

The reviewed 64GB OCZ Syanpse solid-state cache is available to purchase from SCAN.co.uk*.

HEXUS Right2Reply

At HEXUS, we invite the companies whose products we test to comment on our articles. If any company representatives for the products reviewed choose to respond, we'll publish their commentary here verbatim.



*As always, UK-based HEXUS.community forum members will benefit from the SCAN2HEXUS Free Shipping initiative, which will save you a further few pounds plus also top-notch, priority customer service and technical support backed up by the SCANcare@HEXUSforum.



HEXUS Forums :: 5 Comments

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I think the idea in this is brilliant. For users who don't want to manage their data and handle an SSD this is pretty good. It seems to me that you are paying for the performance of the SSD without having to manually install programs and "maintain" your SSD, allowing you to write everything onto your HDD as usual and letting the SSD automatically boost your PC.

I guess for less tech savvy users it would be great, for example installing this for your parent's pc and not having to worry about it much.

I'm not sure if the capacity will be an issue and how much maintenance is required in the long run so it'll be interesting to see what happens with this "idea".
Intresting.

Would need to know if the SSD could be used as a standalone SSD, if needed.
It would also be nice to be able to force some programs or files to Always be cached - important if the rotating cache is pretty small.

Not keen on the 64GB is really 32GB, as the review points out, that's on the shady side of transparency but we are talking about OCZ :)

Caching a HDD is a great idea, as it saves on managing the files yourself, which can be pretty tiresome. Also it means that when backing up, you still have only the one drive to clone.

Not sure if OCZ's offering is any better than the Intel® Smart Response Technology, when you consider that motherboards are out with SSD's intergrated and used for cache already, (GIGABYTE Z68XP-UD3-iSSD) for example. I think personally I will wait till I upgrade my socket/MB and then look at it again.
Cache SSDs would be useful in corporate boxes I think. Though it being sandforce and a lot more expensive than an equivalent normal SSD is off putting.

What software is out there which can do the same thing for any SSD? any free ones about?
I have a question: Can this be used as a cache with raided hdd's? And, can the cache drives themselves be raided? If the answer to both is yes then, once raided, can the synapse cashe then also be attached to raided hdd's?

I pray the answer to all of these is "yes" but fear a hat-trick of "no!'s"
sorry guys, just answered one of my own questions. On the OCZ website it states they can be added as a cache to an existing raid set-up