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Beginners Guide: Intel Smart Response Technology and Intel 311 Larson Creek SSD

Beginners Guide: Intel Smart Response Technology and Intel 311 Larson Creek SSD - PCSTATS
Abstract: With the launch of the Intel Z68 motherboard chipset, Intel also unveiled a novel addition to its Rapid Storage Technology v10.5 disk storage and RAID management tool called Smart Response Technology. What's interesting about Intel Smart Response Technology (SRT) is that it can designate a single SSD to cache frequently accessed I/O data in a sort of hybrid RAID 0 arrangement.
 81% Rating:   
Filed under: Hard Drives/SSD Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Intel May 12 2012   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Hard Drives/SSD > Intel Intel 311 Larson Creek

Benchmarks: Testing Intel SRT

PCSTATS will testing the impact of a caching SSD via Intel Smart Response Technology on a Windows 7 based computer installed on a Western Digital WD740 Raptor hard drive. For the sake of comparison, PCSTATS will examine stock HDD and stock SSD installed system results so you can see the upper and lower results set, so as to better understand where Intel SRT fits in.

The details of how the Intel Z68-based Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD5-B3 motherboard and Intel Larson Creek 311 SSD (cache) test system was configured for benchmarking, including the specific hardware, software drivers and operating system details are noted below. Test memory was provide by Crucial.com. Please take a moment to look over PCSTATS test system configurations before moving on to the individual benchmark results.

PCSTATS Test System Configuration
Test System - Intel Core i5 2nd Generation
Processor:

Intel Core i5 2500K
(32nm)

Clock Speed: 33 x 100 MHz = 3.3 GHz
Socket: Socket LGA1155
Motherboard: - Intel Z68 -
Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD5-B3
Videocard: Gigabyte GV-N470SO-13I (Geforce GTX470)
Memory: 2x 2GB Crucial Ballistix DDR3-1600 8.8.8.24
Memory Speed: DDR3-1333
Hard Drives 120GB OCZ Vertex2 SSD (3GB/s SATA II)
Intel SRT Tests: (74GB Western Digital Raptor WD740, 20GB Intel Larson Creek 311 SSD)
Optical Drive: Plextor PX-B310U Blu-Ray
Power Supply: Seasonic SS-760KM (760W)
Heatsink:

Intel Reference LGA1155 Heatsink

Monitor (1080p): ASUS MK241 24" HD LCD
Software Setup:

Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit
Intel 9.2.0.1025
nVIDIA 266.58

Benchmarks:

PCMark Vantage
3DMark 11

Boot Time: Testing Intel SRT

First up is a simple timed boot test. This chart compares the time it takes an entirely un-tweaked Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD5-B3 based computer system to power up into the Windows 7 desktop.

A note about the labels in the following benchmark tables:

HDD is for the system running off the Western Digital WD740 hard drive
SSD is for the system running off the OCZ Vertex 2 solid state drive
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) is for the system running off the Western Digital WD740 hard drive with the 20GB Intel 311 SSD configured via Intel SRT to Enhanced mode.
HDD + Cache SSD (Maximized) is for the system running off the Western Digital WD740 hard drive with the 20GB Intel 311 SSD configured via Intel SRT to Maximized mode.

PCSTATS Benchmark ReportBoot Time
Off to Desktop: (sec) Points Ranking
SSD 83
HDD 91
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 1 91
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 2 86
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 3 87
HDD + Cache SSD (Maximized) RUN 1 91
HDD + Cache SSD (Maximized) RUN 2 86
HDD + Cache SSD (Maximized) RUN 3 86

The baseline is the Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD5-B3 computer running off a hard drive (Western Digital WD740), and in this example it takes about 91 seconds to boot Windows 7 to the desktop. The same system installed on an OCZ Vertex 2 SSD boots up in 83 seconds, the fastest overall result.

There's not much difference in boot time between Intel SRT in Enhanced or Maximized modes. Both test scenario's start off with the raw HDD boot time (91 seconds) then ramp up to nearly as quick (86 seconds) as the SSD-based system (83 seconds). It takes one run before Intel SRT kicks in and delivers like-SSD "responsiveness" as advertised.


20GB of 34nm SLC NAND flash on the Intel 311 Solid State Drive

3DMark 11: Testing Intel SRT

Before we move onto PCMark Vantage and the PCMark Vantage HDD Test Suite, let's quickly look at a benchmark which illustrates no impact from Intel SRT whatsoever. 3DMark 11 is a videocard benchmark (obviously) which simply illustrates the scope of I/O data caching rather clearly.

With Intel SRT enabled, the cache SSD stores data from the hard drive and does not impact data read to and from the system RAM.

PCSTATS Benchmark Report3DMark 11
Performance: (P) Points Ranking
SSD 4728
HDD 4727
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 1 4732
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 2 4727
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 3 4726
Extreme: (X) Points Ranking
SSD 1515
HDD 1513
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 1 1520
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 2 1515
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 3 1515

As you can clearly see, Intel SRT doesn't influence these benchmark results at all - this is expected.

Remember, 3DMark11 loads everything into system memory (RAM) before it runs each test and measures the capability of the videocard to crunch numbers quickly. This point is further driven home by the test systems installed on the OCZ Vertex 2 SSD and Western Digital WD740 hard drive, both show zero change in results.

When PCSTATS speaks of Intel Smart Response Technology improving the responsiveness of frequently accessed I/O data, that means data stored on the hard drive. System memory, or RAM, is entirely different. We're stating the obvious so everyone is clear on that. :)

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Contents of Article: Intel Intel 311 Larson Creek
 Pg 1.  Beginners Guide: Intel Smart Response Technology and Intel 311 Larson Creek SSD
 Pg 2.  Setting Up Intel Smart Response Technology
 Pg 3.  — Benchmarks: Testing Intel SRT
 Pg 4.  PCMark Vantage: Testing Intel SRT
 Pg 5.  PCMark Vantage HDD Test Suite: Testing Intel SRT
 Pg 6.  PCMark Vantage HDD Test Suite Continued

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