Boot Option ROM / Boot Performance
Boot Option ROM
While a GUI is required to enable the Intel Smart Response Technology, it is actually employed at a very low level within the Z68 chipset. This is more than a simple OS / Driver level caching implementation. The cache kicks in during POST – before the Windows boot process begins, meaning the *entire* boot process can benefit from the cache. The Intel Option ROM makes this change evident:
Here we can see the system considers the SSD Caching configuration as a sort of modified RAID-0. There are also a few options added withint the option ROM (entered by hitting ctrl+I when prompted):
While not as flexible as the RST GUI, there are some limited options available – focused primarily at disabling the cache without the use of the RST. This would come in handy in case the Windows install became corrupted or otherwise unbootable and the user wanted to remove the cache without needing to reinstall:
Since it is possible for the cache to be out of sync with the HDD, an extra option is available to force a sync prior to disabling and/or removing the cache. This will prevent data loss in such a case.
With the caching at play during the entire boot process, we should see some good SSD-like gains in that area. To check this, I did some old school stopwatch timing of the Windows 7 x64 boot process. Timing was done from the end of the POST process to the time where the last notification icon appeared (our test system was set to display all icons for consistency). Boot times were evaluated for three sequential boots – just as was done with the earlier PCMark testing:
Boot times were just 3 seconds shy of those achieved with the OS cached on the SSD entirely. Of significant note here is that the SSD 310 was able to edge out (0.5 secs) faster boot times than the SSD 320 *and* the SSD 510, which we tossed in for an additional point of comparison. SATA 6Gb/sec doesn’t do much in the way of boot speeds, at least in the case of the SSD 510.
Allyn, is there any reason this wouldn’t work using one of OCZ’s PCIE Revo Drives?
It has to be a SATA SSD
It has to be a SATA SSD connected to the Z68.
Awesome job Allyn, thank you.
Awesome job Allyn, thank you.
Allyn, can a RAID 1+0
Allyn, can a RAID 1+0 configuration (4HDD) be used together with the SSD Caching ? OR 2HDD in RAID 1 with th SSD Caching?
Yes. From the Intel
Yes. From the Intel docs:
Intel® Smart Response Technology only support 1 HDD + 1 SSD or 1 RAID Partition + 1 SSD combination.
I’d put the RAID 10 on the 4 SATA 3Gb/sec ports, for consistency.
I have just
I have just installed my OCZ 64GB SSD and am using a Hitachi 1TB HD. All is working well, but I would like to know if other factors (normally used on SSDs alone) need to be addressed here too?
Some of these factors are: Sector Alignment, turning off Defrag, No Pagefile, etc.
I noticed the Intel
I noticed the Intel 310 40 Gig SSD on the HW leader-board. It looks like this drive is more for Notebooks vs, desktops where size and low power isn’t as critical. Any idea why we should select this vs. something designed more for Desktops? I want to use this drive on a Z68 MB as a SMART scratch drive. What do you recommend for around $100?
Looking at getting most or all of items on High-end HW Leader Board.
Sandy Bridge motherboards
Sandy Bridge motherboards have UEFI support (not sure if all of them have it).
What I did was create a single volume 4 x 2tb raid 10 array, C & D partitions, installed Windows 7 with EFI boot on the GPT disk.
Walla Sandy Bridge Raid 10 boot with 60gb SSD caching both partitions on the single volume.
Seems to be an excellent
Seems to be an excellent performance boost with older slower drives, but suppose you use a 60GB SSD cache, a 120GB SSD drive for apps, and a larger SATA 3 for data?
Would this be a waste of hardware?
What if the smaller drive used as a cache read/writes at about 250 Mbps and the larger SSD for apps writes at around 500?
Would one be better off leaving the cache out of the mix?
Thanks in advance!
1) what is
1) what is faster, 2x HDD 7200Rpm in RAID or 1 HDD + small SSD for caching?
2) would a combination of 2x HDD 7200RPM in RAID + small SSD caching both be as fast as 2x SSD in RAID?
sorry, how can io access the
sorry, how can io access the option rom menu? generally it’s “ctrl+i” but not on my laptop. thanks.