Back in April we reviewed the SilverStone HDDBOOST, which was an innovative product from this manufacturer known for their computer cases that allows you to pair a solid-state drive and a hard drive in an attempt to experience the best of both worlds when it comes to storage performance. The purpose of the HDDBOOST is to increase the disk performance by enabling SSD speeds on the host hard drive while reducing write times to the SSD. From our Linux tests in that article we had a hard time getting this small device to provide any measurable performance gains, but in fact it caused some performance losses. In June, we then had results from SilverStone when they tested it under Ubuntu Linux with the Phoronix Test Suite. Since then we have been trying out a new HDDBOOST unit and it now seems to be working right.
SilverStone had sent out a second HDDBOOST for us to continue our Linux testing. Either due to an upgraded firmware or other differences, this time it did provide some positive performance gains over just a lone hard drive. The SSD paired with the SilverStone HDDBOOST was an OCZ Vertex and the HDD used was a 320GB Seagate ST3320620AS Serial ATA 2.0 hard drive. Under Ubuntu 10.04.1 LTS with the Linux 2.6.36 kernel and an EXT4 file-system, everything seemed to "just work" this time around. The rest of the test system consisted of an Intel Core i7 920 overclocked to 3.60GHz, an ASRock X58 SuperComputer motherboard, 3GB of DDR3 system memory, and an ATI Radeon HD 4670 graphics card. We compared the SilverStone HDDBOOST to the OCZ Vertex and Seagate HDD that were paired with the unit both when together and individually and then we threw in a new OCZ Vertex 2 60GB solid-state drive to run independently for a more comprehensive look at these numbers.
From the PostMark benchmark we see the SilverStone HDDBOOST providing a 16% performance improvement over the Seagate SATA HDD and a 10.5% improvement over running the OCZ Vertex individually. While the SilverStone HDDBOOST was faster when pairing the two drivers, its speed was not as fast as the new OCZ Vertex 2 with its SandForce SF-1200 controller.