Solid-state Drives (SSD) feature a great storage solution in terms of speed and reliability, but their main disadvantage is the low capacities with which they come that the largest of them has not exceeded the limit of 1TB yet for the consumer-grade market. This is the main disadvantages in this type of storage devices as far as operativity is concerned, otherwise their relatively steep price is their major drawback. A solid-state drive might cost about $0.58 per GB, while a mechanical drive might cost $0.06 per GB. A mainstream solid-state drive at a reasonable price might offer 256 GB of storage at most, while a mechanical drive might offer 2 or 3 TB of storage. Mechanical drives may be slow, but they offer a very large storage capacity at a very low price per gigabyte.
To get the advantages of both, many power users and PC gamers use both a solid-state drive and mechanical drive in their systems. The solid-state drive is used for system files, programs, application data, and anything else that really benefits from the speed. The larger mechanical drive can be used for long-term storage of files that don’t need to be accessed as quickly — a media or photo collection, for example. This requires installing both drives in the computer and choosing which files and programs to place on each drive. If you want to move a file to a different drive, you’ll have to move it yourself. If you want to move a program to a different drive, you may have to uninstall it and reinstall it at a different location.
But what if this operation is done automatically? Would not it be a big time and effort saving? This is what we are going to teach you to do in this article.
In a hybrid mode you’re not in charge of deciding which files go on the mechanical drive and which files go on the solid-state drive. Instead, the hardware accessory we are going to use will take care of what is and isn’t on the solid-state drive. That way you can get almost 80% of SSD performance (as the manufacturer claims) and the full advantage of the hard drive capacity. This represents a great compromise between performance, price and capacity, and it should be the most preferable solution to every limited-budget users.
What Hybrid Options Do You Have
There are two hybrid options you have, the first is called “Solid-State Hybrid Drive (short SSHD)”, which combines both an SSD and an HDD in a single drive form [You can read more about it here]. This is a good option for limited-budget users who cannot afford buying an SSD with an HDD. As for the second option, it is what you’re going to learn in this article.
Just know that a single solid-state drive — or a solid-state drive plus a mechanical hard drive in a desktop PC, if you have room for both — will outperform an SSHD. Everything on a solid-state drive will be as fast as the small cache portion of an SSHD. By installing your operating system and programs to a solid-state drive, you can ensure those files benefit from the fastest access times possible.
What Will You Need
We recommend the following two products for this purpose:
StarTech.com PCI Express 2.0 SATA Controller Card
The StarTech.com PEXSAT34SFF PCI Express 2.0 SATA Controller Card enables 4 AHCI SATA III connections to be added to a computer through a single internal Mini-SAS (SFF-8087) port. The Mini-SAS connector with Port Multiplier support allows for multiple SATA drives (up to 7) to be connected using a single cable. When used with a Mini-SAS to 4x SATA breakout cable [such as HighPoint Internal Mini-SAS to 4SATA or Monoprice Internal Mini SAS Breakout Cable] you have a complete internal 6Gbps connectivity solution, all from a single card.
Featuring HyperDuo technology, the SATA card offers SSD auto-tiering which lets you balance the performance advantages of SSD storage with the cost-effectiveness and large capacity of standard hard drives. By combining SSD and HDD drives into a single volume (up to 3 SSD + 1 HDD), HyperDuo discreetly works in the background to identify and move frequently accessed files to the faster SSD drive(s) for improved data throughput – up to 80% of SSD performance! (Note: The HyperDuo automatic storage tiering feature is compatible with Windows® XP, Vista, 7 and 8 only).
Compliant with SATA revision 3.0, this PCI Express SATA RAID card delivers up to 6Gbps of data bandwidth; ideal for high performance hard drives and solid state drives (SSD). Plus, the controller card offers an effective hardware RAID solution, with native RAID (0, 1, 1+0) support.
HighPoint Internal Mini-SAS to 4SATA
HighPoint’s INT-MS-1M4S cable utilizes industry standard SFF-8087 Mini-SAS and SATA connectors, and is used to connect Rocket and RocketRAID Series host controllers to storage devices, or to a storage chassis backplane. Each cable directly supports up to four hard drives or SSD’s.