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I recently purchased a Acer Timeline M3 Ultra, it ships with a 500GB HDD and a 20GB mSSD to use as a cache (which works fine out-of-the-box)

First thing I did when I got it was format the drives and install a clean OS (on the HDD, the mSSD has nothing on it) - but now I can't figure out how everything needs to be configured in order to use the mSSD as a cache, it just looks like a standard storage drive.

I've poked around in the BIOS and there is a SATA mode setting, but it only has one option (AHCI), most of the documentation I've seen on the subject says that the SATA controller needs to be in RAID mode otherwise 'Acceleration' isn't visible in the Intel SRT menu (which for me, it isn't)

I've seen a few things that suggest I just need the correct partition layout, I tried this using fdisk from a Linux LiveCD but got nowhere.

Any ideas? The laptop shipped with no recovery media so I'm marginally stumped. I don't have any issue with reformatting again if required.

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2 Answers

After 6 hours of investigating the answer is that: it has never been able to use smart response. The bios hasn't got raid mode. It is just a simply cache ssd without smart response.

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I can't figure out how to use it as a cache, right now it just appears as an extra hard disk (that I'm currently just storing a single large game on) –  PhonicUK Aug 29 '12 at 22:16
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Original method.

  • Install Intel Rapid Start Technology (ht*tp://drivers.softpedia.com/progDownload/Asus-P8B75-M-LX-PLUS-Intel-Rapid-Start-Technology-1001031-Download-177173.html) and follow ht*tp://communities.intel.com/message/166486#166486.
  • Install ExpressCache (ht*tp://drivers.softpedia.es/descargar-Samsung-NP550P5C-Notebook-ExpressCache-Driver-10860-for-Windows-7-x64-172949.html) and follow ht*tp://forum.notebookreview.com/samsung/638788-guide-expresscache-i-want-my-expresscache-back-edition.html.

Here's the explanation on how it works:

According to this site (http://forum.notebookreview.com/acer/674401-acer-timeline-ultra-m5-4.html) "The 20GB SSD has a 4GB hibernation partition (which will have to be changed if RAM is upgraded) and a 14.64 GB partition used for caching via installed ExpressCache software from Diskeeper.".

So, if you increase the RAM (to 6GB, it's the maximum), you WILL have to increase the IRST partition and reduce in turn the expresscache one.

Enable ISRT (Intel Smart Response Technology). -> NOT TESTED, FOLLOW IT AT YOUR OWN RISK

If you follow this path you won't be able to use IRST unless you upgrade your SSD (even then, I am not quite sure on how both technologies would interact).

You have to upgrade your BIOS to an unlocked one, so that you turn on the option "RAID Mode" on the BIOS and in turn get the accelerate option on the software.

To do so you have to get EZH20 (look on google for it), so that you can modify your BIOS image.

Please note that all the merit goes to the posts' original autors, I have simply made a quick guide on how to proceed. Use this information at your own risk, playing with BIOS or software without knowing it's inner workings may be cathastrophic. You're warned.

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Only problem is I can't figure out how it wants the SSD to be partitioned. –  PhonicUK Sep 14 '12 at 12:19
    
Just follow the instructions posted here: communities.intel.com/message/166486#166486 –  yushir Sep 14 '12 at 13:03
    
I'll have to get back to you later on that one, but looks like we're on to a winner... –  PhonicUK Sep 14 '12 at 13:05
    
Here they are talking (in russian) about the modification of the M3-581TG's BIOS (discussion between Tolsi and mask89).forum.ixbt.com/print/0017/038124.html. I myself don't know russian so had to use google translate and from what I understood, the option may be in the BIOS itself. –  yushir Sep 14 '12 at 13:32
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