SanDisk ReadyCache 32GB SSD Review

SanDisk enters the caching solution market with the SanDisk ReadyCache 32GB SSD. This SSD provides instant acceleration to users' computers through intelligent software provided by Condusiv Technologies and hardware from SanDisk. By adding two tiers of data storage, both SSD and RAM, this solution looks promising.

SanDisk ReadyCache SSD Basics

The SanDisk ReadyCache SSD marks the first large OEM making its way into the consumer SSD caching market. Caching holds such a promising future simply because it dramatically speeds up the user's computer without expensive and time consuming upgrades.

Typically moving to SSD storage drives expose users to large loss of storage capacity due to the higher cost of SSDs per gigabyte. Even with SSDs under a dollar per gigabyte, these can hardly compete with spinning disk drives which hover around pennies per gigabyte. By dynamically taking the most frequently accessed "hot" data and placing it on a small SSD, users can accelerate their large HDD, and in this case multiple HDDs, without the loss of any capacity. Not bothering with re-installation of the operating system is also a huge plus, making the process relatively pain-free.

Once a customer decides on purchasing an SSD caching solution, it comes down to price and features. Who can offer the best features at a reasonable price?

Until now for the consumer market there is really only one major supplier of the caching software used for these solutions, and that is Nvelo with its DataPlex software, highlighted in this review of the Corsair Accelerator.

The smaller SSD companies merely provide the hardware end of the caching SSDs. They turn to Nvelo to provide the caching software that is responsible for boosting the performance of the underlying HDD. The caching software is really the engine behind the performance of these types of solutions, and there is very little difference between the offerings from the companies that utilize Nvelo software.

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OEMs on the other hand tend to bring much larger resources to the table. These are the bigger fish in the pond, and we expect more polished and refined products at competitive price points that will make the smaller guys wince. SanDisk decided to turn to Condusiv Technologies, which previously operated under the very well-known Diskeeper name, for the software end of this SSD. Condusiv brings with it a whole host of technologies and IP rolled into the caching solution provided to SanDisk. We will cover some of the finer points of the multitude of features that Condusiv software brings on the following page.

The SanDisk ReadyCache SSD looks to provide more features than the competitors do, and the list of differences is long.

Nvelo caching solutions do not offer support for multiple HDDs, while the new SanDisk solution does. Support for RAID volumes is provided, while others will not grant RAID caching for fear of the value-centric consumer technology being utilized in the higher-margin enterprise space.

This solution also provides a third tier of caching by actually leveraging up to 1GB of the users RAM. Rolling in RAM caching can bring huge gains, but could also be considered risky due to the volatile nature of RAM. If RAM loses its power, you lose your data. However, to keep the users data safe SanDisk also offers data duplication by keeping all data cached also present on the HDD at all times. With other solutions, this isn't always the case and a sudden loss of the SSD can be catastrophic. With the SanDisk solution we will try to pull the plug while the SSD is in operation to test the validity of the claims.