SanDisk ReadyCache 32GB review
Not quick or capacious, but ideal for those looking for SSD-style speed boosts on the cheap
Review Date: 21 Oct 2012
Price when reviewed: £36
Reviewed By: Mike Jennings
The decreasing price of flash memory means SSDs are more accessible than ever. That’s doubly true of cache drives, which use smaller amounts of memory to improve performance when installed in systems that still use hard disks.
Caching software learns your computing habits and favourite applications. It then stores critical files so they’re able to be accessed quickly in future. Once the SanDisk is fitted in your PC, it’s easy to get started. Download the ReadyCache software, install it, and then activate your SSD using a code included in the box.
The software is basic. There’s a gauge to show how much of the 32GB capacity is used, an option to turn the caching on or off, and another to clear the cache manually. It’s a useful option that’s handy if you fill the drive or drastically change your computer usage. That way, the PC can learn your new habits and you’ll continue to benefit.
It’s not a recipe for the world’s fastest SSD, but it’s certainly enough to beat your hard disk. The SanDisk wrote large files at 110MB/s and read them at a more impressive 234MB/s; far behind the 484MB/s and 409MB/s results we recorded from the class-leading Corsair Performance Pro.
The SanDisk closed the gap on the Corsair in our small file tests. The cheaper drive wrote and read at 86MB/s and 57MB/s, with the Corsair running through the same benchmarks at 145MB/s and 107MB/s.
Cache drives tend to get better with age, but we noticed improvements to boot times after just three restarts. An Ivy Bridge-based system with a Samsung Spinpoint F4 hard disk took 48 seconds to boot but, with the ReadyCache drive installed, that time improved to 35 seconds.
Plus, it includes the kit to get started right away. The firm crams a 3.5in to 2.5in bracket into the box, along with the screws required to install the SSD and even a SATA cable, which is something that’s not often included, even with high-end drives.
The SanDisk also wins points by costing just £37. That’s much less than you’ll pay for any full-fat SSD, and it’s also around half the amount of cash you’ll have to spend if you want to buy a reasonably sized hard disk.
It’s an incredibly low price, but we can only see the ReadyCache really benefitting those who are using older systems. It’s these machines, with their poor boot times and ageing hard disks, that benefit from the speed on offer from this relatively modest drive.
If you’ve got a more modern PC with a faster processor and a more capable hard disk we recommend using a regular SSD as a boot drive rather than this stop-gap solution.
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