Introduction Continued / Test System Setup / Prior Results

We’ll kick off testing with 2.5" and smaller form factor solutions. I say ‘and smaller’ because Intel Z68 caching was introduced for desktop systems using SATA connected SSD’s, but also for mobile platforms equipped with a special mSATA bay.

An mSATA SSD (left) installed alongside a 2.5" HDD (right) in a mobile platform.

Gigabyte later introduced desktop motherboards equipped with the same mobile mSATA port, allowing system builds using caching without the need for an additional SATA drive taking up a bay in the desktop chassis. In addition to the 20GB SLC Larsen Creek SSD, Intel made 40GB and 80GB mSATA units available using MLC flash. These drives were large enough to contain the entire OS partition and could avert the need for caching entirely.

A Gigabyte Z68 motherboard, equipped with an on-board mSATA port (center).

Test System Setup

We’re going to stick with a Z68 board for all testing, though most test will be performed without the use of Z68 caching abilities. This is a new revision board, unaffected by the known issues of the first generation of these boards.

PC Perspective would like to thank ASUS, Corsair, and Kingston for supplying some of the components of our test rig. 

Hard Drive Test System Setup
CPU Intel Core i5-2500K
Motherboard Asus P8Z68-V Pro
Memory Kingston HyperX 4GB DDR3-2133 CL9
Hard Drive (tested devices as C:)
Sound Card N/A
Video Card Intel Core i5-2500K Native
Video Drivers Intel
Power Supply Corsair CMPSU-650TX
DirectX Version DX9.0c
Operating System Windows 7 x64


Before we go on, here’s the results of our initial Z68 cache testing, for your reference:

Results here were covered in more detail in the previous article, but for now, just note the test results of 50-100 on HDD’s, and 100-150 on cached solutions / 3Gb/sec SSD’s.

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