OCZ Synapse Cache 64GB Solid State Drive

A surprise for users may come when they first install the Synapse Cache drive in their computers.  While it's advertised as a 64GB drive, only 32GB of capacity is usable (approximately 30GB when formatted).  We've confirmed that 64GB of NAND flash is actually comes in the drive, but half of it is used for overprovisioning.  It's a bit overkill considering we've found that other SSDs from OCZ with lower percentages of NAND reserved for overprovisioning don't encounter big drops in performance, even when filled.  For most users, having 50% overprovisioning should result in no more than a slim performance drop before garbage collection is able to catch up.  Another upside is in a durability front.  The Synapse drive can sustain a high amount of failed blocks before capacity is lost.

The downside is that this drive can only realistically be used for caching purposes.  Later down the road if consumers decide that they don't want to use the Dataplex caching software, they're left with a 32GB SSD.  It's interesting to note that other OCZ SSDs which have use overprovisioned NAND configurations advertise the usable amount of storage capacity (before formatting), whereas the Synapse deviates from this and lists the raw NAND capacity.

But as you will find out shortly, you can't directly access or see the drive at all when the Dataplex caching software is running.  The Synapse drive and Dataplex software are essentially invisible and run fully in the background.


Installation

In general, installing the Synapse Cache drive into an existing system is an easy task.  There are two prerequisite requirements: an available SATA interface and the usage of the Windows 7 operating system (32bit or 64bit).

The Synapse Cache solid state drive is like any other solid state drive, save for a customized firmware and the inclusion of the Dataplex software.  As a result, the Synapse drive is physically installed and configured/formatted/recognized in Windows the same way any other solid state drive.  To facilitate this installation, OCZ included a 3.5" drive adapter and an installation guide card.

As per the installation guide, once the drive is physically installed and is properly recognized in Windows, the Dataplex software must be installed and setup.  OCZ didn't include installation media in the package, but instead users will need to visit OCZ's website.  This ensures that the most recent version of the software is used.  Safely assuming most of our readers are capable of downloading and installing a single file installation package, the only points of user configuration comes with inputting of the included Dataplex license key, and then the following screen in the setup process.

The user will need to select the drive they would like to have cached using Dataplex and the Synapse drive, and to confirm the cache drive.  For most users, the default selections should automatically be the boot drive for the drive you would like cached, and the Synapse drive as the cache.

Once the Dataplex setup has completed and the post-installation reboot conducted, the Dataplex caching software should be in effect.  It works seamlessly in the background without any direction or input required from the user.  There are no settings which can be modified, and the only application included with Dataplex post-installation is solely used to provide the status of the caching (whether it's active and in effect, or not).


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