I discovered that in IRST there is an option to set a cache mode for my 3 SSD RAID 0 array. I've read the documentation by Intel and have some questions:

  1. Are there any overall benefits/risks from enabling cache mode?
  2. As I'm on a laptop, would write back be recommended? I read it increases chance of data loss on power interruption. What is the difference between how windows handles data integrity and the intel driver?
  3. Read only mode seems to have the benefit of faster reads, does it have any downsides?

1 Answer 1

  1. Windows built-in cache is file-level. In my experience, drive-level cache is much better, because Windows does a poor job with its built-in cache. RISKS: However, it is paranoid with consistency (this must be causing the poor performance). Drive-level write-back cache would delay writes to disk logical structures in an inconsistent way and could corrupt them, if not completed. However, your laptop must crash in a specific way for that to happen, and even then there is a good chance that the corruption will be localized, like last edited files being truncated (or padded). I am using write-back cahe on my laptop about 6 months and I am very happy with it (it has never crashed and I am not even restarting it for months). ANOTHER RELEVANT COMMENT: SSD disks deteriorate due to writes. Having 16Gb RAM, you can greatly extend the life of your SSD drives by enabling agressive write cache.

  2. That depends on your free physical RAM. Having a battery, a laptop is even more reliable to power failure than a desktop is (most desktops don't have UPS). And SSDs are quite resistant to tossing. So, if you have at least 1Gb RAM free ALWAYS, I would recommend write-back.

  3. Are you referring to "RAID Volume Read Cache"? In that case, the answer is in 1.

  • thanks for the answer! really informative. I have 16GB ram so that should be fine lol. as for read only mode, I refer to: "read only: This cache mode provides faster read performance because the data is retrieved more quickly from cache than from the disk. The controller reads the cache information to determine if the requested data is available in the cache before retrieving the data from the disk." that's all I have.
    – cmplieger
    Jun 1, 2014 at 15:39
  • @SnippetSpace I am not really using the Intel cache, but, yes, we are both speaking about the same option. I have a HDD and 8Gb and enabled a 5-minute write-back-cache to reduce the unceasing parking and unparking. For a SSD drve the reducion of writes is even more important. I have heard of SSD drives "wearing out" in 6 months. Jun 1, 2014 at 15:53
  • SSDs drives wearing out in 6 months is no longer true in 2016. With heavy usage 10+ years is more realistic. (It was true of the very first generation which handled writes badly and might not live many years in a write heavy environment).
    – Hennes
    Nov 27, 2016 at 8:17

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