Crucial Adrenaline SSD cache will speed up your Windows 7 PC

Have you ever been tempted by the idea of upgrading your PC’s hard drive to a super fast SSD but have been put off by the limited capacities on offer or high cost? Well, the Crucial Adrenaline should be right up your street.

This 50GB SSD is installed alongside a conventional hard drive – you don’t have to change your Windows installation in any way. Then, with a little help from a bit of included software, the drive acts as a cache for all your most used files – things like your Windows installation, Office apps, temp files, games etc. When first instlaled it will scan your hard drive for the most frequently used files and get them cached ready.

Crucial Adrenaline

When a program requests a bit of data the SSD (if it has the file cached) will deliver it many times faster than the hard drive can. If a program then alters the data the change is made to the SSD first to again keep your machine responsive, then in the background the SSD will copy the changes to the hard drive. Decide you don’t want the cache drive anymore? Just whip it out and the system will continue on unhindered. Or you could upgrade to a larger cache at a later date.

The drive has a total of 50GB of storage in it but 14GB of this is reserved for wear leveling and garbage collection. But this should still be plenty for all your system’s everyday files to be cached.

In theory the software could be used with any drive but Crucial has specifically designed the drive to cope with the high write/rewrite cycles required. In this regard it’s like the many enterprise level SSDs available, though it’s set to cost considerably less. There’s not exact release date yet but we were told it should cost under £100 and will arrive in Q1.

Lexar Memory Cards

In other flash memory related news, Lexar (a fellow subsidiary of Micron) has announced its latest line of top-end CompactFlash and SD cards. The new Professional 1000x line of CompactFlash cards comply with the latest UDMA 7 standard and have minimum write speeds of 150MB/s, making them perfect for the latest ultra high-end SLR and video cameras. Meanwhile the 400x line run at 60MB/s, making them a good match for more modest but still demanding photography and video needs. On the SD front, the new 600x SDXC UHS-I cards rocket along at 90MB/s.

All cards come with a lifetime copy of Image Rescue 4, Lexar’s base-level data recovery software, which should be able to recover any lost data even if some of the drive is corrupt and doesn’t appear normally in Windows.

Given their high transfer speeds it’s no surprise that these new cards cost a pretty penny with the 1000x CompactFlash cards running from £149.99 for the 16GB to £799.99 for the 128GB model, and as for the SDXC cards, they run from 16GB to 64GB and cost £69.99 to £229.99 respectively.

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