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I've been seeing a lot of ultra books out there that have a combination of a smaller SSD (20-32 gb) and a larger HDD for storage. I assume they are installing the OS on the SSD and that you use the HDD for everything else.

Can I expect better performance from this setup or is this just a gimmick?

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No, the ssd is used for other speed technologies by Intel, the OS is still on the spinning drive. Look at the SSD as a giant high speed cache for the spinning hard drive.

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/architecture-and-technology/responsiveness-technologies.html

With Intel® Rapid Start Technology, your PC can go from being in a very deep-sleep to fully awake in a flash. This responsiveness capability enables your device to consume lower levels of power when you’re not using it, yet resume quickly when you want to use it. You save time and, if you’re using an Ultrabook™, this technology also extends the battery life. If you have an All-in-One, it allows the system to consume less power. Either way, you can start up quickly and get right back to where you left off.

Intel® Rapid Start Technology is available on Ultrabook™, All-in-One, and standard PCs powered by the 3rd generation Intel® Core™ processor family.

Intel® Smart Response Technology gives you the larger storage capacity of a traditional hard drive without sacrificing speed, delivering up to 2x faster performance3,4, and up to 2x faster game launches3,5—all while consuming less power. This feature recognizes and automatically stores your most frequently used applications, games, and files, so you can access then promptly and create, work, and game faster than ever before.

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Interesting. So I assume that having a straight SSD setup will be faster than the Smart Response setup? –  Abe Miessler Sep 24 '12 at 16:32
    
I would assume that a single high performance SSD would be faster, they came up with this method so you can have the somewhat best of both worlds, storage capacity and speed. I see many people posting about putting the OS on the ssd that comes with the ultrabooks, but don't know what the results are, I assume the ssd they use in the ultrabooks are not high performance compared to some of the better SSD's on the market today. –  Moab Sep 24 '12 at 18:56
    
@AbeMiessler: The biggest driver for a split setup is lower cost. –  surfasb Sep 26 '12 at 21:46
    
Its Intel that pushes it, since they do not have a hybrid hard drive to offer like Seagate. –  Moab Sep 26 '12 at 23:58

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