For starters, I work in application/software in the IT department of a midsized company, but my hardware knowledge is more at the "tinkerer" level. I try things to see how they work, even if I don't "need" them. So, I have a mix of deep knowledge and newbie knowledge, depending on the area.
I have a desktop PC that I built in 2012 with an Asus Sabertooth z77 motherboard, running Windows 10. I have two 1 terabyte HDD in mirrored RAID config and two 500 gb SSDs also in mirrored RAID. Not necessarily for a particular reason other than to have redundancy and "just because" and "because I wanted to learn how to do it in my free time." So that's what I have.
Along the way in the last couple of weeks after I replaced a SSD that was failing, I noticed in the Rapid Storage Technology configuration the options for write cache buffer flushing and cache mode and wondered if I should do anything with them. Reading more, I saw that under Windows Device Manager, the same settings appear, but do not match the settings in Intel RST.
I've been Googling, looking at forums, etc., and have started to understand what it all actually means, but I feel like I haven't found a great beginner's overview to what these do or what I should have mine set at. Just piecing it together from various responses to other people's questions that are more specific problems/errors, rather than a general question about what it means.
I'm happy with system performance/speed right now, and I'm generally more interested in reliability/stability than minor incremental improvements in performance right now.
Right now, Windows has both RAID arrays set for: enable write caching on this device (checked), and turn off Windows write cache buffer flushing (unchecked)
Intel RST has Cache Mode (Off) and buffer flushing (enabled)
So, TLDR, in regards to cache mode and buffer flushing:
1. Why don't the cache mode and buffer flushing settings match between Windows device manager and Intel RST, does this matter, and which one wins/controls?
2. Does anyone have a good "for dummies" explanation of what these settings really do?
3. Should I care at this point how these are set or just leave well-enough alone for now?
Thanks very much to all who take time to help out on issues like mine!
/thread/118029 SteveDP, thank you for patience.
Windows is managing the caching on the individual drives in the RAID array, while the RST app manages the caching on the RAID array itself. These two are different. Enhanced mode is designed for max security, reducing the possibility of data loss. Whereas, maximized mode is for optimum performance, writing data to the SSD and only periodically transferring it to the hard drive.
Either one means the cache is ON and working fine.
Thanks Amy. This does help me understand the settings in Windows vs RST.
To the other part(s) of my question, I'm still a little confused as to which settings I should use for cache and buffer flushing, as I can't find any straight forward website that explains these settings. I'm not sure what cache means in this context or what buffer refers to in this context. I'm pretty sure it's different than the "page file" context. And I don't know which setting is right for me.
Your part about Enhanced vs. Maximized sounds like yet additional settings that I haven't seen yet. Maybe a different version or something deeper in the settings than I've ventured?
Thank you for your patience /thread/118029 SteveDP.
Please see below.
If you are on RAID, then your CACHE is ON and you are good with your cache settings and does not need to change anything there. The system automatically configures the right cache required for the drives to function.
As for differences between cache and buffer:
- Cache is a high-speed storage area while a buffer is a normal storage area on ram for temporary storage.
- Cache is made from static memory which is faster than the slower dynamic memory used for a buffer.
- The buffer is mostly used for input/output processes while the cache is used during reading and writing processes from the disk.
- Cache can also be a section of the disk while a buffer is mostly a section of the ram.
Hope this helps.