Hybrid drives that combine NAND flash and mechanical hard drives are making a comeback. But what if you could make your own hybrid drive, with as much capacity as you want? That’s the concept behind the Silverstone HDDBoost. The idea is to slot an SSD between your OS drive and the motherboard, allowing your PC to read system files from the SSD instead of the HDD. This effectively adds an SSD to your machine without any of the actual work.
The HDDBoost is easy to install—just screw any SSD into the HDDBoost, slot both into a spare 3.5-inch bay, and connect SATA power and data cables. One SATA cable runs from the old OS drive to the HDDBoost, and another from the HDDBoost to the motherboard. Boot into the BIOS and set the HDDBoost as your boot drive, and away you go. The HDDBoost copies the first gigabytes of your boot drive (which contain your system files) to the SSD. The system treats the HDDBoost as part of one contiguous volume with the capacity of the larger drive—any data present on both drives will be read from the SSD first, speeding up your system’s performance without any further action on your part. If you write to the section of the hard drive that’s synced to the SSD, it will be synced at your next boot. Thus, you can take advantage of some of the speed of an SSD without reinstalling your OS.
Do you go for the speed of an SSD or the capacity of a traditional HDD? If you said 'both,' you're halfway to the finish line on this one. Silverstone's new HDDBoost gadget promises to take the best of both worlds, combine the two together, and yield up to a 70 percent increase in performance over that of an existing host hard drive.
The drive enclosure is compatible with most 2.5-inch SDDs and slides neatly into any available internal 3.5-inch drive bay. A SATA cable then connects the enclosure to a mechanical hard drive, and the device does the rest. There's no special software or drivers to muck around with, and it works with any OS tha supports a SATA interface.
Once everything's hooked up, the HDDBoost takes over and copies your most used files to the SSD, and then accesses them first whenever needed. By doing so, Silverstone claims a huge performance boost, all without sacrificing storage space.
Right now the device is only available in Japan and runs about $50. No word yet on when the company plans on shipping it to the U.S. market, but if the HDDBoost lives up to Silverstone's claims, we wouldn't be surprised to see it show up soon.