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The Acer ultrabook has a 500GB HDD an a 20GB SSD. Is the OS installed on the 20GB or is the 20GB used as a cache?

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What is this drive configuration? Can you post a picture of your partition manager? Are there two physical or logical drives? –  Simon Sheehan Apr 5 '12 at 3:39
    
Cheers everyone. Seems it is a cache and wont suit my needs. Instead ended up going for a 14 inch model with 64GB ssd and 300+GB HDD and it works like a dream. Thanks again –  Sherriffwoody Apr 25 '12 at 23:51
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3 Answers

I'm not sure exactly what model you're talking about or what drive is inside, but if it's anything like a Seagate Momentus XT Hybrid Drive, then it uses both parts of the drive. All the data is stored in the conventional HDD, including the OS. At least on the Seagate, there is a special firmware built-in to the drive which intelligently caches certain files onto the SSD portion. That means, in the Acer's case that the 20GB of most often accessed files will also be saved on the SSD, so that they can be accessed quickly when needed.
In practice, this means that large portions of the OS, and any applications that are accessed very frequently will be cached on the SSD section while less commonly used files will remain only on the HDD.
Also note that (at least for the Momentus XT), the user never sees any of this. The drive will appear in the PC as a 500GB drive, and the user doesn't need to cache anything manually, it all happens on the drive, beneath the OS.

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from http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/reviews/2011/12/hitting-all-the-right-marks-acer-aspire-s3-ultrabook-review.ars

As for storage, the S3 model we tested had a great solid-state drive, but the lowest end model in the line has a 320GB HDD supplemented by a 20GB SSD that is used as a cache. Technically, this disqualifies it as a true ultrabook and will be a hit to the computer's performance, but hybrid drives on the whole tend to compare pretty well to straight SSDs

.

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Usually the most often accessed files get cached on the SSD, and everything else is on the HDD.

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