Crucial Adrenaline review
50GB sata solid state disk
One of the issues about upgrading to an SSD is that the lower-cost drives also have relatively small capacities. Moving from a hard disk, then, requires better management of files, such as storing user documents, videos and images on a different disk.
Crucial’s Adrenaline SSD takes a different tack, working in conjunction with your existing hard disk, giving you a speed boost without having to worry about managing where your files are stored.
It looks like a traditional SSD, but it’s actually a cache device – a drive designed to hold some of the files you use the most in Windows so they can be quickly accessed in future, thereby giving the entire machine a boost.
When tested on its own, the Adrenaline showed itself to be a reasonably quick SSD. It wrote large files at 132MB/s and read them at 379MB/s, with the former slower than our favourite SSD, Patriot’s Pyro SE, and the latter test faster. It wasn’t far behind in the small file tests, either: the Pyro SE wrote at 75MB/s and read at 58MB/s, and the Adrenaline ran through the same tests at 57MB/s and 54MB/s.
The disk works with Crucial’s own Dataplex software, and it’s easy enough to set up; register the drive to download the installation file, and choose which hard disk you’d like to pair with the Adrenaline drive. With the cache installed, we saw a huge speed boost. Without the cache, our test PC's 320GB Hitachi Deskstar hard disk managed 64.6MB/s and 53.1MB/s when reading and writing large files, and 24.2MB/s and 21.6MB/s when reading and writing small files.
With the cache enabled, we saw a huge 374.5MB/s and 112.4MB/s when reading and writing large files and 54.5MB/s and 29.2MB/s in the small file tests; the cache makes a big difference when dealing with large files and gives an appreciable boost when shuttling small files around. It also helps boot times; the test PC took 51s to boot to Windows before we installed the Adrenaline but, with the Dataplex software running, the system booted to desktop in just 21s.
As the Adrenaline is a comparatively small SSD, it costs less than most standalone drives: at £76, it’s much less than the £135 Patriot Pyro SE 120GB.
It won’t provide the sort of speed boost a true SSD will, but it's definitely faster than a hard disk. If you’d like to improve your PC's performance on a budget and without having to reinstall Windows, this is a fine choice.