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I recently bought an Acer Ultrabook, model M5-481TG. It has a 500GB HDD and a 20 GB SSD. After I unpacked it, I immediately reinstalled Windows 7, to avoid Acer's bloatware. Everything is good, except I can't figure out SSD caching.

Really, I'm trying to determine if this ultrabook actually supports SSD caching or not. I thought it did, because some of the reviews mentioned caching. Acer also has the Intel RST driver available for download. However, I've now read that the SSD is only for hibernation. Also, the BIOS doesn't seem to have a RAID option (which is required for Intel RST).

So, does this ultrabook support Intel RST SSD caching? Can it be done with only ACHI? (I'm guessing no.)

If it doesn't support SSD caching, what's the point of the SSD? Should I put my pagefile and hibernation file on the SSD? Should I try and squeeze the OS on it?

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20GB is a tad small for the OS. (As reference: My 2 year old install of win7+firefox+openOffice+thunderbird+VLC..etc started out as a 17GB install, it has now grown to 20.3GB) –  Hennes Oct 14 '12 at 0:23
    
Reading Smart Response Technology says that SRT (pre-launch name SSD Caching) requires the Intel Z68 chipset and for the integrated disk controller to be configured in a RAID mode and quote "not AHCI or IDE modes". –  HeatfanJohn Oct 14 '12 at 1:10
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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Acer uses Intel Rapid Start Technology (I believe RST is the right name...) for fast resume from sleep mode, but does NOT uses Intel SRT for disk caching; instead it uses "ExpressCache" from Diskeeper. ExpressCache, unlike SRT, does not need the RAID mode to be enabled in the BIOS. The 20GB SSD should have two hidden partitions: one for RST that should match the RAM size (this needs to be increased if you upgrade the RAM), and the rest dedicated to ExpressCache.

I believe SRT/RST can be downloaded directly from Intel, but ExpressCache is OEM only. ExpressCache setup files & drivers may be available from your original Acer Windows installation... I am not sure if they can be downloaded from Acer directly (to be checked). The SSD partition for RST is particular --no drive letter, special id. You may want to search for dteailled instructions on how to configyre it exactly.

Bottom line: these SSD cache configurations should be carefully reviewed before performing a clean Windows installation!

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This clears things up. Too bad ExpressCache is OEM only. Anyway, I guess I should have backed up the default windows install before I blew it away! –  tprk77 Oct 27 '12 at 16:35
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Checkout this Superuser question "How can I use my small SSD as a cache for a larger hard disk?". The top answer mentions a software only solution called FancyCache.

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This looks interesting. I'm going to try it out and see how the performance is. –  tprk77 Oct 15 '12 at 21:10
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