HD Overdrive: Corsair's Accelerator SSD Cache - HotHardware

HD Overdrive: Corsair's Accelerator SSD Cache

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Performance Summary: The Corsair Accelerator 60GB drive makes a dramatic difference in the day-to-day, real-world performance of a hard drive. While we very much want to see a version of the software that allows for a certain degree of user configuration, we'll be the first to say that the drive's defaults are well-balanced. Both Corsair and Nvelo take robust data protection seriously, and the software caching algorithms reflect that.

While the technical limitations are a tad frustrating, we're hopeful that the company will modify its policies in the future. Certainly it'll have to make adjustments for Windows 8 in any case.

The hassle of software validation is the only true downside to this product and for now, the hassle is worth it. What we hope is that Nvelo will sincerely reconsider its position after examining what, exactly, it thinks such headaches protect it from. Dataplex is a rare piece of software that really does require specific hardware to make it work properly and there just aren't enough SSDs lying around unused to make pirating the product useful.

We'd recommend the Corsair Accelerator to anyone looking for a low-cost way to boost I/O performance without the hassle of a full system reinstall. You won't get all the benefits of a pure SSD, but you'll get most of them -- and for a very reasonable price.


  • Brings HDD performance up to nearly SSD levels
  • Priced competitively
  • Compatible with most HDD setups.
  • Fire-and-forget configuration makes setup simple
  • Designed to boost performance without risking data integrity
  • Ridiculous validation system inconveniences users, provides no practical benefit. 
  • Technical limitations limit deployment in certain cases.
  • No option to tweak cache priority.

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So they make restrictions to benefit them but in return we get a very limited cache system? D: ... lol. Should just get an SSD :D.

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Not a limited cache system by any means. Joel was just pointing out some of the annoyances. The easy of use and not having to manage mutiple volumes manually make this an excellent upgrade for anyone looking to boost the performance of a system that's currently equipped with only hard drive.

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Inspector,

I absolutely disagree. Nvelo made some decisions I disagree with, and there are some limitations to the product. That doesn't change the fact that this is an excellent, excellent way to bridge the gap between HDD and SSD performance without going through the hassle of reinstalling your operating system.

As someone who has avoided an SSD upgrade precisely because of the time it would take to get everything installed and tuned again, I'm very pleased with the Accelerator Series. This isn't just a product a reviewed, it's a product I dropped into my own workflow and daily usage pattern. It's a very good upgrade.

Also? If you decide you want "just an SSD," you've already got one. You can uninstall the Nvelo software and install WIndows 7 on it just like you would any other SSD.

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Relatively simple to setup and good increases on speed. Pretty good for a quick, no hassle upgrade which is what they were aiming for.

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I think that on page 4, the last benchmark graph has the 1TB HDD and the OCZ Vertex switched around. It says Lower is betetr and then the OCZ Vertex has the largest times, when that should be the HDD.

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Good catch. It's fixed now.

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Nice review Joel. The ease of upgrading to a caching drive is amazing and I could see their point of having a keycode to download the software. But it should be just that enter a code to download the software and not have the draconian DRM that they have put in place.

50% boost average is impressive for a $90 investment.

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Omega,

The way they've structured the software validation scheme is annoying and, I think, ultimately ineffective. But the strongest incentive I can give is to say that while I don't like the hoop, it's worth jumping through. And the software is worth protecting, which is ironically why I invested a substantial amount of time talking about it.

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"Once installed, the Dataplex software must be uninstalled properly before the drive is removed from the system. Failure to follow this procedure can result in a loss of data. An HDD synchronized with an Accelerator cache drive may not boot properly if the cache drive is suddenly removed."

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What happens if the Cache SSD fails? Do you lose your DATA?


Also: How does this compare with Intel's SSD Caching solution?

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Realneil,

I explored this extensively in the Data Reliability section. Please review that and let me know if you have further questions.

I'll have to review to answer your second question.

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