SilverStone HDDBoost Review

by AkG     |     February 25, 2010

SilverStone HDDBoost Hybrid SSD / HDD Device Review

Manufacturer's Product Page:
SilverStone Technology HDDBoost
Price: MSRP $49

There really is no denying that solid state drives have a level of power and performance in certain crucial areas which simply make them better than hard disk drives as “Operating System” drives. With the number of SSD reviews showing their faces around the internet, it should be obvious to you that even the slowest modern generation solid state drive is faster in most areas than the fastest hard drive. However, all that power and performance comes with a massive increase in price and a huge decrease in storage capacity versus a spindle-based drive. This has led to many people forgoing the SSD upgrade option for the time being.

In the past, hard drive manufactures like Seagate and Samsung have tried to combine the power of solid state drives with the capacity of spindle-based drives with their “hybrid” products. Sadly these efforts were less than impressive and were quickly discarded. Meanwhile, Adaptec has approached this problem differently with their MaxIQ kit MaxIQ kit , which allows you to use a solid stat drive as cache for a raid array. Unfortunately, this solution is designed for an enterprise environment, costs a heck of a lot of money and is limited in which SSDs you can use.

Users want the best of both worlds: the storage capacity of a spindle-based drive with the speed of an SSD and this is where SilverStone’s HDDBoost comes into play. The HDDBoost allows you to mix and match different hard and solid state drives while combining the units in such a way that if one drive kicks the bucket, the data on the other is still safe and sound. In a nutshell, the HDDBoost is a two port RAID 1 controller with a twist and besides the obvious limitation of one HDD and one SSD, allows for a massive amount of flexibility. We will get into what makes the HDDBoost so unique, but needless to say this is certainly a novel and intriguing way of overcoming past (seemingly insurmountable) problems which plagued earlier Hybrids. The ability to chose your level of performance and storage size based on your own personal criteria is seductive, but only if it works. SilverStone also claims that by minimizing the writes to the SSD, you will effectively extend its life as well.

This unit doesn’t include a drive but should rather be treated as the means to combine two dissimilar drives one virtual drive. As such, it comes with a frugal price of around $49. With a price such as this, the HDDBoost is intended to bridge the chasm between consumers that can afford high performance, high capacity SSDs and those that just want some extra speed in their system without sacrificing storage capacity.

To help us figure out how this product performs in its intended market niche, we have carefully selected two moderately priced drives to showcase the HDDBoost’s abilities. On the hard drive end of things we have chosen the venerable Western Digital 320GB single platter hard drive which goes for about $45, and for the solid state drive we have gone with the Kingston branded version of the Intel X25-V 40GB: the now defunct Kingston SSDNow V 40GB which retailed for as little as $90. All in all, this could prove to be an interesting review.


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