Wednesday, February 6, 2013

High Point RocketCache -- accelerate your database searching

I was on a plane and reading a lackluster review in Maximum PC magazine about the HighPoint rocket cache and going a little out of my mind.
Let me sum it up real quick:  The rocket cache allows you to connect a large (slow) rotary drive to a significantly faster solid state drive.  The solid state drive is then used as a memory cache to speed up the transfer rates of data to and from the big spinning drive.
From the reviewers: "As an example, when we ran HD Tune on the one-SSD-plus-1TB combo, we initially saw the drive hit 107MB/s sequential read speeds(the same score it hit on its own), then 169MB/s on the next run, then 194MB/s, anod on it went all the way up to 242MB/s"  More than double speed.

The review was lackluster because Maximum PC is primarily for hobbyists who are building or modifying their own PCs for gaming performance.  There aren't too many times in games where that kind of increase in hard drive read or write speed is going to make a difference.

Where it will make a huge difference?  Database searching!!!  If you are running multithreaded processing on a modern processor with 4 or more cores, the limiting factor is almost always your hard drive speed.  You slap in a solid state and it will have a bigger increase in your speed than almost any other modification.  But big solid states are expensive and there is a limited amount of testing of prolonged heavy usage.  If you use a small SSD while you are processing, then you have to constantly transfer data to and from the two drives.

But if you RocketCache it, you get the large cheap storage of the spinning drive, the speed and price of a small SSD and no hassles in constantly transferring data.

BTW, I will own this soon.  It currently runs $155 at Amazon and NewEgg

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