Is this likely to be much different than buying a 32GB SSD and using native ReadyBoost? Think I'll wait for some independent benchmarks, which seem to be lacking right now, before putting too much faith in those performance claims.
SanDisk has brought out a cheapish solution for flash-less Windows 7 PCs. The firm promises a start-up time that is four times faster as well as app-loading that's 12 times faster if you buy its new SanDisk SSD and caching software bundle. The ReadyCache package includes a 32GB SSD, a 3.5-inch mounting bracket, a 6Gbit/s SATA …
Yes, readyboost only affects booting, this usually speeds up all i/o for one drive. I have the Crucial equivalent:
(review at http://hexus.net/tech/reviews/storage/38473-crucial-adrenaline-ssd-cache-50gb/)
..and it goes like snot off a hot buttered shovel. The software that comes with it has the limitation that it will only work with the boot drive, but I have shuffled stuff around now, and moved my Steam folder there. It also came with mounting bracket, cables etc. (useful if you forget where your "useful bits" box has got to). It was super-eay to fit, and well worth the fifty or so quid I paid for it.
If you want more space than you can afford with an SSD, or want a cheap/easy speedup, this is a really good approach.
Was looking at a HP dv7t-7000 on HP's site, they offer a 32GB SSD accelerator for an addition $50. Not sure who's disk it is, but the technology has gone mainstream. On performance, from what I hear, it benefits small files greatly. Very large files are not kept on the SSD. In theory this is what you want, as streaming speed from a large file on a spinning disk is pretty good unless you have fragmentation problems.
This sounds rather similar to Intel RST (available on Z68 and Z77 boards, amongst others).
My rig has a 64GB SSD (on SATA3), "in front of" my 1TB RAID5 array (sadly only SATA2).
It carved my boot time down 50% and does make a hell of a difference if you use the same apps regularly. I also shoved a total of 8GB DDR3 in (up from the original 4GB) and now it never even touches the pagefile.
Also, if you have a big enough SSD (or choose to run a smaller cache), RST also lets you use a partition on the SSD, instead of the whole thing - so you could put the O/S on the SSD and use the SSD to cache the other items.
You'll still not up your Windows Performance Index though, as Windows doesn't "see" the SSD, it still assumes HDD and thus limits the drive performance rating.
Worth considering if you're upgrading your main system components anytime soon... :)
Ultimately you are better off with a large-ish SSD as your actual boot drive performance wise. 256gb drives are fairly cheap now. However these caching drives do offer good performance for little hastle. Rather than have re-install Windows etc you can just pop one of these in to get a boost. Also if the cache drive fails all your data is still safe on your HDD.