According to Nordic Hardware Intel is set to launch a new SSD, the Intel 311, at the same time as the Z68 Express chipset. With a capacity of just 20 GB, it has in fact been designed to be used with the SSD caching feature, Smart Response Technology, which will be available in the Intel Rapid Storage Technology 10.5 drivers
The principle is similar to the one used with hybrid hard drives by analysing hard drive accesses and placing the most used data on the flash drive. Here it is placed on a discrete physical peripheral, but the two drives (HDD and SSD) are recognised as just one peripheral (the size of the hard drive) by the system.
The gains announced in practice are impressive and the level of performance is similar to what you get on an SSD, but as is the case with hybrid drives, not necessarily representative. Naturally, when you launch the same test several times in a row, the data is placed on SSD and is then accessed more rapidly.
With just 20 GB of flash however, while more than on a hybrid drive, space is limited and it’s difficult to say what level of performance users will get… apart from the fact that it will be in between what you get on an HDD and an SDD, closer to the first if you’re handling a lot of data and closer to the second if you’re not handling very much.
It remains to be seen if this technology will be limited to the Z68 chipset, which would be purely a software limitation, or if it will also be available on other Intel Series 6 chipsets, or even Series 5. It would be a shame to limit it when the Z68 Express allows the grouping of P67 and H67 features.