Mushkin has an interesting product at hand with the Catalyst cache drive series. Now, all our test system these days run of an SSD with applications running from a NAS storage solution. So I had to clone the Windows 7 test partition onto an HDD, once that was done I had to go back to the good old HDD performance.
The HDD is clicking and making noises, I hadn't noticed that in a while, then that bootup time of roughly a minute and then even browsing the web made me realize how quickly SSD performance adapted to me personally and how very much so I got used to that performance.
It honestly feels like a big step back, now granted we did use a 5400RPM 2TB HDD which is certainly not the fastest HDD opposed to a nice WD Velociraptor or anything, but I did not expect to notice the overall difference by that much (as spoiled as that might sound).
Once we installed the Mushkin Catalyst and activated the SSD cache the boot times quickly start improving, after running the standard applications a couple of times with them being cached, the operating system very quickly starts feeling fast and snappy again.
Surely with random writes the you'll notice the a fast difference in performance when that HDD is active, but the overall performance gain helps out in 70% of where you actually need the performance. We do have to say that the idea and technology behind the Catalyst and the DataPlex cache software is not far off from Intel's SRT. And their Z68/Z77/X79 motherboards offer this feature pretty much for free of course.
The overall costs of this product then, it is as expensive as a regular SSD, the 100GB model for example will cost you just over a hundred USD. We feel that is a fair price to get the bigger part of your PC cached towards an SSD experience.
What we like is the chipset independence of this solution, you are not tied to Intel's most expensive motherboards, contrary, this runs on any PC that runs Windows 7, AMD systems included.
A bit of a boggle however remains first reads of information, that's at HDD performance. Once it's cached, it's fast alright. Also and I do mean this with the greatest respect, if a Cache SSD is as expensive and as fast as a regular SSD, then why not simply purchase an SSD and use it as boot/root drive. The 1st time read issue is non existent and greatly enhanced the overall windows experience.
So yeah, the Catalyst is really simple wording is a very fast SATA3 SSD with a software caching layer called Dataplex. The choice to use one of the fastest SSDs on the globe seriously helps out Mushkin as the 500 MB/sec performance is just sick really. It does works out really well. So for those of you that need that big 2TB root/boot drive yet want that default applications to speed up to SSD levels, well that's where this solution kicks in really well. As stated, the overall Windows experience beats the overall HDD feel with factor 100 but 1st reads remain un-cached and that's where you'll see HDD dependency kick in again. So that's the compromise this solution has. Other then that, it just works great really.
But the reality is that you get the best of both worlds, caching will speed up your PC application load times significantly with the high volume storage that the traditional HDD has to offer, and as such if that rocks your boat it can most definitely be recommended.
Mushkin Catalyst Cache SSD review Mushkin now introduces the Catalyst Cache solid state drive. It's in fact an optional 50 or 100 GB SSD intended just for caching. Combined with Dataplex cache application software and your own HDD, the combination could be just what you have been looking for.
Mushkin Blackline Ridgeback 2000 MHz DDR3 8GB review Mushkin offers their dual-channel Blackline Ridgeback in 8GB kits at $125 (USD), and to spice that up .. it is offered as a 2000 MHz kit, with granted not the most sexy timings but at a CAS latency of 9 versus 2000 MHz versus two 4GB high-density DDR3 modules. At 125 USD , and that's 15.6 USD per GB, you can understand that this kit might be a nice alternative to low latency 1333 and 1600 MHz kits. Muskin even tops that off by a lifetime warranty on this product so all in all that can't be a bad deal, no Sir.