Crucial Adrenaline

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Would like an opinion on Crucial Adrenaline CT050M4SSC2BDA 50GB Solid State
Cache for Windows 7-based PCs. I would install it on my desktop running
Windows 7 Professional and Microsoft Virtual Drive running XP Professional

Re: Crucial Adrenaline

Roy Colson wrote:

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Here's the link that you omitted to describe the Solid State Cache

Disadvantage: It's just a cache.

The first open on a file (for read or write) is still going to come from
your hard disk.  This is a *cache* product.  Well, until you put the
file into the cache it won't be there so you'll still be going to the
slower hard disk to get the file the first time.  Eventually entries get
pushed out of the cache which means going back to the slower hard disk
again.  You won't get the higher overall throughput of using an SSD.
Even the site acknowledges that by showing a graph of performance for
HDD, SSC, and SSD on their web page describing the product.

Advantage: Not having to transfer files from old to new drive.

The SSC is the same price as the SSD.  So why not go with an SSD?
Because the cache doesn't require you to transfer your OS and files from
an old hard disk to the new SSD.  The SSC slide in place with your old
hard disk so everything remains the same as before except for the power
load of the SSC and memory consumption for the background software
(hopefully a system service and not a user-mode process).

I haven't used the product but am wondering if there may be one other
advantage to users of older versions of Windows (pre-Vista) that don't
have support for sector alignment.  SSDs use a different alignment than
old HDDs (there are newer "advanced" drives the use the new alignment).
Vista, and later, have support for this whereas XP users have to run an
alignment utility; otherwise, performance will be very poor due to
misalignment.  Assuming this cache requires no change to the hard disk
then it adds a large fast cache to improve performance but without the
alignment concern.  You slide it in an existing [old] system too get a
big boost in speed - after the first time you've accessed a file (unless
their software preloads the cache with likely suspects).

Re: Crucial Adrenaline

Somewhere on teh intarwebs VanguardLH wrote:
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Say's "improve the performance of your Windows 7 PC".

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Bleh! Personally I don't see why you wouldn't just buy a Seagate Momentus XT
750GB HDD. Sure, it does't have as much NAND as the Crucial Adrenaline but
the algorithms are much better and it not only works better with XP it's a
2/5" HDD so works in laptops.

This whole "adrenaline" thing is a poor second (IMO) to a Momentus XT (Mk

"Humans will have advanced a long, long, way when religious belief has a
cozy little classification in the DSM."
David Melville (in r.a.s.f1)

Re: Crucial Adrenaline

~misfit~ wrote:

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The idea is to slide the Adrenaline into an existing system (along with
having to install their driver or service software), not to go replacing
hard disks.  Seagate bundles the hybrid into one package.  Crucial is
not a hard disk manufacturer or distributor.  They distribute rebranded
memory so obviously that's what they'll offer, which is also a hybrid
setup but not in an integrated package.

As to one having better caching algorithms than the other, you'll have
to provide some empirical evidence (testing an measurement by a
recognized lab or trusted and known resource) to prove that claim.  How
can you say Seagate's algorithms are better when Crucial doesn't divulge
what they use?  Both Seagate and Crucial are providing open source
driver files so they can be interogated with "better" being based on
interpretation of the coding versus comparative testing?

Crucial's 50GB Adrenaline cache employs their m4 SSD.  I find benchmarks
for SSDs that include Crucial's 64GB m4 SSD, like:,3103-4.html

where it isn't the top performer in all tests.  I've yet, however, to
find a benchmark between the Adrenaline with a hard disk and the Seagate
Momentus XT.  Know of any independent benchmarks?

Then there's the cost factor.  Sure, you might only be buying one so
maybe the difference between $100 for the Adrenaline and $175 for the
750GB Seagate Momentus XT might not look like much.  A business that is
buying a couple hundred of either of these is going to notice a
significant difference in cost.  After buying just 200 of these, the
Seagate would be $15,000 more expensive - and for how much change in
performance from the Adrenaline?  Even for one host, your home PC, the
extra $75 is coming out of your personal pocket.  These days with highly
competitive pricing, there's good reason to go cheaper for a huge boost
in performance versus paying more for a promise of maybe getting a
little better performance.  You don't get decent bang for your buck by
paying more.  

In hosts that have 1TB, or larger, hard disks, they would lose capacity
by going to the Seagate solution.  In a business where down-time is a
significant loss hence another cost, the Seagate obviously has the most
impact.  While it's the same time to open the case to slide in the
Adrenaline or Momentus XT, after that you have the time to install the
Adrenaline driver and reboot or the time to clone the old OS hard disk
to the new Momentus XT and reboot.  If the workstations have to go into
the IT dept then the user won't notice much of a difference but the IT
folks will be busier for longer.  If the upgrade is performed at the
user's desk, they're down for longer.

Then there's the catastrophic failure issue of the cache portion of this
hybrid setup.  If the SSD cache dies, the entire Seagate solution is
scrapped and you start over with a new hard disk.  With the Adrenaline
solution, you remove that part of the hybrid solution, uninstall its
driver, and you're still working.  Obviously one will incur a much
longer down-time than the other.

Depends on how many you are buying.  Depends on how much down-time you
are willing to incur (for setup and later if hardware failure recovery
is needed).  Depends if you have existing workstations or are just
setting up your one home PC.  

It also depends on your operating system.  Here can be a huge
difference.  The Adrenaline requires Windows 7 since that's the OS its
driver software supports.  Adrenaline is a Windows 7 only solution. If
you have an older version of Windows (Vista, or earlier) or Linux,
forget about Adrenaline.  The product manual for Momentus XT at: )

doesn't even mention operating systems so it appears to be a slide-in
HDD replacement that will probably work under any OS.  You don't need to
install a driver.  With the Seagate solution, the use of the SSD cache
is transparent to the OS.  It just looks like a SATA device to the OS.
No driver to install as with the Adrenaline (and which requires an
Internet connection to validate the license for the Dataplex software).
Presumably the Momentus XT fits within 1 normal-sized drive bay whereas
the Adrenaline will require consumption of another drive bay.

Adrenaline install guide:

With Adrenaline, they specifically warn:
- DO NOT detach your hard drive (target drive) or solid state drive
  (cache drive) while Dataplex is enabled. Doing so puts you at risk of
  losing data and/or rendering your machine unbootable. If you need to
  detach or swap a drive UNISTALL Dataplex first."
- DO NOT detach your hard drive (target drive) and put it into another
  SATA port while Dataplex is enabled. Doing so puts you at risk of
  losing data and/or rendering your machine unbootable. If you need to
  switch SATA ports, UNISTALL Dataplex first.
So you not only have to shutdown but also have to
uninstall their software to ensure all data in the SSD gets pushed onto
the HDD.  So forget about using Adrenaline with hot-swappable hard
disks and heed these warning if you move the Adrenaline/HDD hybrid setup
to another host or even to a different SATA port in the old host.  Their
driver can only support one hybrid setup; that is, only one of your hard
disks can use their SSD cache solution.  Forget about speeding up any
other hard disks.

So the Seagate Momentus XT is the more elegant and simpler solution for
new builds, when you get permission and/or allocation for costs of
hardware upgrades, or you are adding more hard disks; however, the
Adrenaline is the cost-effective solution for existing builds but *ONLY
if those builds are running Windows 7*.  If you are a Windows 7 user and
you only have one hard disk (or you don't want to speed up the other
hard disks) then Adrenaline is the cheaper solution.  Whether Adrenaline
is slower or on par with Seagate Momentus XT is another issue yet to be
proven by benchmark or by real experience to the user (benchmarks don't
necessarily reflect actual effect to the user).

Since both solutions require more power for the SSD cache, the user
should review whether or not their PSU can handle the extra load,
especially if they invoke either solution on all of their hard disks
instead of just the one with the OS and/or app partitions.

Re: Crucial Adrenaline

Roy Colson wrote:
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This is all you need to know. If even *one* person has a problem
like this, that's enough to influence your buying decision.

( product link shortened)

If you buy a regular SSD, you'll need no Dataplex driver installed on
your system. And that means, you'll have one less issue to worry about,
when it comes time to do maintenance. If you use an SSD, you should
have regular backups of it. It's not the fault of the flash
memories, as much as it's an issue that the SSD has a processor
inside and firmware. When I see reports of an SSD working one day,
and "disappearing" the next day, that tells me the firmware
inside the SSD causes more problems, than the reliability of
the flash memory chips themselves.

As for the Adrenaline, someone made a mounting tray with one chip
on it, which performed the same kind of caching function, but
without any additional driver. So this idea has been done before,
but with hardware. (It's possible they've placed a chip
inside the SSD package to do this, and it's the same
solution, but I don't remember the other approach using
anything other than a regular driver.)

I currently keep Windows 7 in a 40GB partition on my laptop.
It's a tight fit, and not everyone would be pleased with what
happens when you squeeze things that much. But it also indicates
that purchasing a regular 40GB SSD, could make Windows 7 faster,
and support "normal" kinds of maintenance, without having to
worry about any (Dataplex related) issues. A 60GB SSD might
be enough to give you a bit of elbow room (re-enable System
Restore for example).

You *can* have the benefits of an SSD, without the
risks that one user above experienced. You should always do
regular backups of your SSD anyway. With the Adrenaline
approach, you know your files are somewhere on the
"SSD+HDD" but not exactly where. Which could complicate
recovery, when you need recovery done. If you use an SSD
the regular way, then you know exactly where things are.
Either the files are on the SSD and are OK. Or the SSD is
trashed, and your last backup to the external hard drive,
has the good copy. That's a simplified operating model,
for the SSD owner. And it works well, if the SSD is
relatively small and the small size encourages daily backups.

I have the same issue with RAID disk technology and home
users. Home users don't take the time, to learn what to
do when the RAID is broken, and they're in a panic. While
RAID might have some tiny benefits, those benefits are
swamped by the feelings of panic when the RAID is broken.
Sometimes, a less reliable, but easier to understand
setup, is preferred for peace of mind.


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