Faster spinning rust

After upgrading to a NVME M.2 SSD, I had a traditional SATA SSD leftover. Looking for a way to put this SSD to good use, I came across StoreMi.

StoreMi is a free tool provided by AMD for their platform. It can speed up traditional spinning rust (normal HDD) by using an SSD as a read and write cache. Ideal if you have some spare SSDs lying around and a conventional HDD installed in your system.

How does it work?

StoreMi is very easy to setup, just run the installer. After it’s installed you can assign a HDD to cache and a SSD to be used as cache.

With the first version of StoreMi it was also possible to assign a max of 2GB of RAM to have an extra layer of cache, but this option is removed from the latest versions of StoreMi.

A warning about upgrades

When I upgraded from my Ryzen 2600 to a Ryzen 5600X, I ran into an unpleasant surprise with StoreMi though.

At the time StoreMi wasn’t supported on Ryzen 5xxx. Which meant both the HDD and SSD I used before with StoreMi, became completely invisible for Windows, with no obvious way to get the drives to show up again to be reformatted. None of the drives I used (both the SSD and HDD) were shown in Computer management -> Disk management.

So instead of trying to figure out how to get these drives to show again, I went back to an image I regularly make with Macrium Reflect where I didn’t make use of StoreMi yet. After reverting back to this image, everything was fine again and the drive showed up as normal/

A better alternative

I did like the performance gain I got with StoreMi’s caching. After some looking around for alternatives I settled on PrimoCache.
PrimoCache is not free for use, but for the functionality it offers, the 30 bucks lifetime license isn’t such a steep price to ask.

On top of that PrimoCache can also have different levels of cache defined. For example a L1 cache based on a part of your available RAM, and a L2 cache based on a SSD.
Besides some performance benefits over single layer caching technologies, it also could potentially save some writes on the SSD

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