Last year we tested the RevoDrive Hybrid from OCZ, in which a 1 TB hard drive and a pair of SandForce SSDs with 50 GB were connected together on a PCI Express card. The idea was to use the SSD controllers and 100GB of NAND flash as a high-speed cache for the much larger rotating hard disk drive.
Achieving performance close to that of a SandForce SF-2281 SSD with a storage capacity of 1TB was very pleasing, but there were some notable drawbacks. At $ 485 (down to $ 330 since), the RevoDrive sounds like a reasonable value of $ 0.48 per gigabyte (in SSD terms), but in reality the RevoDrive Hybrid did nothing in most tests a high-end SSD to do. As a result, we found it difficult to recommend OCZ's hybrid solution.
Then in January Crucial announced their newest line of SSDs called Adrenaline. Adrenaline is not a cache solution intended to replace the existing and prestigious m4 SSDs. It works on your existing hard drive and uses a 50GB SSD as a solid-state flash-based cache for your larger primary hard drive.
OCZ also offers a similar caching solution called Synapse with capacities of 64 GB and 128 GB. After our review of the RevoDrive Hybrid, OCZ didn't seem that interested in making another pass.
In essence, we have Crucial's answer to the OCZ synapse. The adrenaline is $ 110 for the 50GB version, while the slightly larger Synapse is $ 135. Note that the Crucial drive reserves 50 GB for caching while 14 GB is reserved for performance optimization, so both drives have 64 GB of NAND flash storage.
Like the Synapse and of course the RevoDrive Hybrid, the new Adrenaline uses Dataplex software. While we had previously found licensing issues to be a headache, we also recognized that the software worked pretty well. With that said, let's take a closer look at adrenaline …
Adrenaline in detail
The Crucial Adrenaline looks like a typical SSD and that's because it is. The drive is based on the m4 design with the same controller and NAND flash memory.
The decisive factor is that the Adrenaline can achieve read speeds of up to 500 MB / s and a write throughput of 95 MB / s. This corresponds to the information for the 64 GB version of the m4. Ultimately, of course, these speeds will depend on how well the caching software works.
The Marvell 88SS9174 controller is used in conjunction with a large 256MB cache to improve write performance and eliminate stuttering issues. The Adrenaline is equipped with 8 x 8 GB 25 nm chips (29F64G08CFACB) and features Micron's high-speed ONFI 2.1 NAND interface for 166 MT / s with an industry standard sector size of 512 bytes.
Like all SSDs, the Adrenaline has very low power consumption values, consumes less than 100 mW when idling and only consumes 150 mW when active. It measures 100.5 x 69.85 x 9.50 mm and weighs 75 grams. The drive is compatible with both laptops and desktops. Crucial provides a 3.5-inch adapter in case your case doesn't have a 2.5-inch bay.