Fusion Drives for Windows?
Recently, I found out it’s relatively easy to turn a platter drive and an SSD into a Fusion Drive on any Mac, which was convenient as I had torn out the optical drive in favor of a 128GB Samsung 830 SSD for my MacBookPro8,1 some time ago. A quick Time Machine backup and a few console commands later and I was off to the races with what I called my Fauxion Drive.
The results were astounding. The system never hesitates to perform any action, but I also no longer have to deal with manually managing where files and applications live, which earlier was accomplished with a number of symlinks to spaces on my platter drive. I speculate this has also led to better battery life, as individual, oft-accessed files that would have lived on the “data” drive have been implicitly cached to the SSD, allowing the HDD to spin down. Also writes are all implicitly cached in a 4GB tier on the SSD, meaning the HDD is conservatively touched for all writes. In short: this is the system I’ve always wanted, here, today.
It’s now time for me to change my Windows PC into a Steam Box: an appliance-like installation of Windows 8 meant for using Steam in Big Picture Mode. I have no intention of manually managing storage between HDD and SSD ever again. So I’m on the hunt for solutions on the Windows/PC side.
During the announcement of Apple’s Fusion Drive, I heard a number of PC enthusiasts/observers indicate that this kind of technology has been around for a while, and the Fusion Drive is nothing new or astounding. As the owner of a Seagate Momentus XT1, I knew that certainly wasn’t what I was looking for, but was curious about the other offerings.
On the radar immediately is Intel’s SRT, or Smart Response Technology, which comes with some notable restrictions, most damningly it will require me to purchase a new motherboard, as it is limited to very new Ivy Bridge chipsets2. With Haswell peeking its head around the corner, I’m loathed to upgrade a component that will be obsolete within the coming months3, meaning I suppose I’m on the hunt for a software solution.
On the software side, I can find reference to Windows ReadyDrive, which was apparently built into Windows Vista, though I can find little information about actually using it. Worse yet, that appears to be my only option; there do not appear to be software-level solutions for creating a Fusion Drive-esque construct in Windows.
So here’s my plea, tumblr: if Fusion Drive is really just repackaged old tech, how do I get my heads on some of this sweet old tech for a retrofit Steam Box?
In fact, it’s currently paired with the 830. Writes are not cached, and the SSD tier is limited to 4-8GB, which is a fraction of the OS itself. ↩
And the Z68 Sandy Bridge chipset. ↩