Today we’ll be looking at another SSD product, the OCZ Synapse Cache SSD. As you can probably tell from the name, it is slightly different from most other SSDs on the market.
The difference is not in the hardware itself – as you’ll see later, it is built no different from any other SandForce based SSD. The difference lies in the software that is bundled with it. The bundled Dataplex software by NVELO is what makes the OCZ Synapse tick.
What is Dataplex?
Put simply, Dataplex is caching software that adds an SSD ‘layer’ on top of a system’s existing hard drive. When you purchase an OCZ Synapse, you are given a product key, which you enter at their site to download the latest version (the software is not included with the drive itself). From there, you install and register the software (internet connection required) and will probably never have to look at it again – Dataplex and the Synapse work together completely in the background. On one hand, this makes it incredibly easy to use, but on the other, we are used to seeing more tweaking options from OCZ for the hardcore user.
Dataplex works in a way similar to the caching built into Intel’s Z68 motherboard, but is more aggressive, and can be used on any system that runs Windows – new or old. This is advantageous for several reasons:
- Aside from perhaps a RAM upgrade (if current amount is really low), moving to an SSD is the most noticeable single hardware upgrade you can perform on an aging system
- Enjoy SSD-like performance (as you’ll see) without having to migrate drives or reinstall Windows
- No need to mess around with program install management due to using a low capacity SSD
As you can see, going the caching route may actually be preferable to switching over to an SSD completely. While you won’t get 100% identical performance, almost anything is better than loading programs from a mechanical drive. If the OCZ Synapse can deliver something moderately similar to SSD performance, but work as a full sized mechanical drive, they might just have something great here…