I've recently bought a new notebook which comes with an sshd - now I've read that the 8 GB just function as a cache for more frequently used programs. Is there anything I need to consider when setting up the OS on the drive to make sure the SSD is properly used?
An SSHD works transparent, you don't have to change anything. It will automatically store the most used files on the SSHD. Windows doesn't even know there's a difference, to Windows it looks like a regular HDD.
I would watch out with defragmenting an SSHD too many times though. It might confuse the cache and make it spend more write cycled than it needs to. You can (and should) defragment it of course, but I'd say not to do it more than monthly to spare the SSD cache a little.
The solid-state cache is managed by the drive independently of the OS. No additional action is needed.
- SSHDs by Seagate and WD manage their solid-state caches internally, transparent to the OS. The OS has no direct control over the contents of the cache. Seagate describes its implementation, called Adaptive Memory, as follows:
Adaptive Memory Technology
Implemented inside of the Seagate SSHD via firmware, Adaptive Memory technology is also referred to as self-learning technology. This is because the SSHD makes intelligent determinations about which data to store in NAND flash memory, without any influence from the host or related storage device drivers. Adaptive Memory technology works by identifying data elements that are important for enhanced host-level performance and promoting such data elements from HDD storage to NAND flash memory.
Because it works entirely within the drive, Adaptive Memory technology has first-hand knowledge of the data elements that are best handled by solid state memory versus traditional HDD storage, and can promote data to NAND flash memory based on this knowledge. For example, data elements associated with booting, restarting and hibernating a computer, in addition to other frequently requested data, are prioritized for storage in solid state memory. However, data elements associated with long, sequential data strings, such as in video or audio data files, do not benefit from being stored in NAND flash.
- WD describes its version of the technology as follows:
Utilizing an advanced set of algorithms, WD Blue SSHDs track SSHD data usage, prioritizing frequently used data for fast access in the solid state portion of the device, adapting, learning and optimizing as new applications and command requests change over time. These advanced algorithms reside in the SSHD firmware, enabling it to make intelligent determinations of which data to store in NAND flash memory, without any influence from the host or related storage device drivers. [...]
- No special action is needed to install Windows or any other software on an SSHD. The drive does all the work for you to optimize performance using the NAND cache.