Intel Smart Response Performance
80GB SSD, 18.6GB cache, Enhanced mode
Our first Smart Response configuration has the smallest cache size possible, only 18.6 gigabytes out of the SSD’s full capacity of 80 gigabytes. The remaining capacity might be used to install important applications, leaving the less important ones and the OS for Smart Response to accelerate.
We can see that the loading times improve greatly on the subsequent runs compared to the first run which is slow and comparable to the speed of loading from a conventional HDD.
On the other hand, the hybrid subsystem (in any configuration, as you will see shortly) cannot match the SSD in terms of loading the OS. The SSD is about twice as fast as the hybrid drive even after a few restarts.
80GB SSD, 64GB cache, Enhanced mode
This disk subsystem configuration will help us see if there is any difference in the performance of the hybrid drive depending on the size of the SSD cache.
This configuration leaves a smaller area of the SSD free from caching compared to the previous configuration. So, the latter is going to be preferable if it has a similar performance.
Indeed, you can see that this and previous configurations are roughly similar in performance (at least, under the conditions of our test session), so you can save some money by using a smaller SSD cache.
20GB SSD, 19GB cache, Maximized mode
If the size of the SSD cache is not a critical factor (at least, under our conditions), we want to see the effect of the SSD's speed on the performance of the hybrid solution. So, we take a Smart Response-optimized Larson Creek disk with a capacity of only 20 gigabytes. It is based on SLC as opposed to MLC flash memory employed in the 80-gigabyte 320 series disk you've seen in the previous tests.
Besides, we enable the Maximized mode here (it hardly differs from the basic Enhanced mode in terms of reading, and it is the read seed that’s the crucial factor for loading applications).
So, the speed of the caching SSD proves to be more important than its storage capacity in many of our tests. The difference in performance from the slower MLC-based SSD is not large, yet notable. On the other hand, the configuration with the small-capacity and fast SSD falls behind in some applications.