Crucial Adrenaline SSD Cache
Having owned a Crucial Adrenaline SSD Cache drive for a couple of months now I feel in a position to give a valid review of the crucial adrenaline. It may be worth explaining what an SSD cache drive is before we go any further and especially its differences from a regular SSD drive.
What is the Crucial Adrenaline SSD cache Drive
An SSD cache drive is for those who want the faster performance that SSD offers but don’t want to basically start from scratch. The crucial adrenaline SSD drive allows you to add an SSD drive to your system without the need to reinstall the operating system.
The software for the drive stores the most commonly used files on the SSD drive so that access to those files is quicker, meaning faster boot ups and faster access to programs.
The drive is 50GB in size but this is not 50GB you can use. Once installed you will not know that the drive is there. There will be no change to the amount of storage you have as this is a cache drive. In your My computer you will still see what you always see.
What you need
The adrenaline is a 2.5 inch drive but comes with a 3.5 inch plate you can add to fit it in a regular desktop hard drive slot. Obviously this means you need to have a free hard drive space.
The crucial adrenaline drive also requires a SATA data connector(top) and a SATA power connector (bottom)
You also need to be comfortable with taking your computer apart and working on the inside of it. An Anti-Static Wrist Band is highly recommended and can be picked up for very little to reduce the risk of damaging your computer. If you want to be really sure that you dont damage your computer and often do upgrades or have your laptop/desktop opened up it is worth considering a Anti-Static Work Mat
First Impressions and installation
When I first unpacked the drive I was VERY surprised at how light it was. It hardly weighed anything and if I am honest felt more fragile when you are used to heavy duty metal drives. Installing the drive was very simple as it was a case of screwing the drive the the supplied plate with the screws that were also supplied and then plugging in both the SATA data cable and the SATA power cable. Pop the side back on your computer and you are ready to go.
On first start you will not notice any difference in speed and this is because you need to install the software for the drive to actually cache your files (Instructions for downloading the software and registering it are provided in the box) The software is very easy to install and very quick. A “Dataplex” Licence key is supplied for you to run the software.
The first thing I noticed after installing and setting up the drive is that the first few boot ups seemed to have little to no performance increase and I felt like I had wasted my money. I am glad to say it seems that it just takes a few boots for the software to cache the most used files to the Crucial adrenaline. My recommendation would be to give it a couple of days before you start hitting it with a hammer!
After the drive had done its business and was able to cache the data I noticed the following
- A dramatic increase in boot up time. Previous boot ups prior to the Adrenaline SSD drive were anywhere between 30-45 seconds. With the crucial adrenaline boot up time went to about 17 seconds
- I did not just notice a faster boot to get to the windows login screen either. I run Kaspersky Anti-Virus which takes a while to get going as well as other programs that load on start-up. Usually I can be waiting another 30 -60 seconds for all these programs to load but after a couple of days these programs are loaded within 5-10 seconds.
- I also notice an improvement in the speed of programs I use regularly like imaging programs email clients and other programs.
- Shutdowns are also now a lot faster going from about 30 seconds to 10 seconds with the new crucial adrenaline drive in the machine
Related Post: How to speed up your computer
Now this is where some people are put off by the SSD cache drive. The Crucial Adrenaline 50GB Solid State Cache at the time of writing costs about $85. There are alternatives such as the Corsair Accelerator Series 30 GB SSD Cache Drive that can be picked up for about $55 and also have good reviews but I have not used.
The part that puts people off a solid state cache is the fact that you can pick up a Corsair Force Series 120 GB Solid State Drive for just $35 more dollars and it has more than double the capacity and allows you to run as a full solid state solution. The problem with this is that it requires a full reinstall of your system including all of your software. For me that was a lot of work considering I get most of my games from places like steam that I download and I have a lot of software that would need to be installed again. To me this was not what I had time to do or the inclination so the SSD cache was perfect for me to get the performance boost without all the hassle and it was definitely worth the $85 to me.
I was genuinely surprised at the performance increase I noticed and if you are someone who wants the best out of their PC but does not want the hassle of a complete reinstall then the crucial adrenaline is just the ticket and for me it was the best $85 I spent.
SSD on the whole is an excellent technology and has many benefits and if you are looking to improve the performance of your computer I would highly recommend it. Check out our post What is SSD for a moe detailed look at the benefits of a SSD drive.
The Crucial Adrenaline is an excellent upgrade and it is one I will be adding to the main family PC in the near future. As SSD prices continue to fall I expect this to be an ever popular upgrade people will look to.