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How to set up Smart Response Technology

In most cases, it’s not going to be possible to use Smart Response Technology without re-installing Windows on your PC, because you must activate RAID mode in the BIOS to enable SRT. We expect that most motherboards based on the Z68 chipset will be set to IDE or AHCI mode by default, like our Gigabyte Z68X-UD5-B3, so you must make sure you change this before installing Windows.

When installing Windows, you must make sure you install it on the hard drive, rather than the SSD which must be left blank. After installing Windows, we must install all the drivers from the CD included with your motherboard. On our Gigabyte Z68X-UD5-B3 motherboard, we had to update the BIOS to the latest F6 version to get SRT to work. We also had to update the Intel Rapid Storage Technology software to the latest 10.5.0.1027 version. Without these updates, the system would not boot after enabling SRT.

Intel Rapid Storage Technology ApplicationFigure 3: Setting up SRT

After restarting your computer, we can open up Intel’s Rapid Storage Technology software to set up SRT. Along the top menu bar, we must click on the button labeled “Accelerate” which brings up another window that lets us select the SSD for caching and the disk or RAID volume that we want to accelerate. We are also able to select between two acceleration modes, enhanced or maximized.

Intel Rapid Storage Technology Application 2Figure 4: Setting up SRT

The two different modes set up the SSD caching in different ways. Enhanced mode is designed for maximum security, reducing the possibility of data loss but also limiting write speed as it writes data to the SSD and HDD at the same time. Maximized mode is designed for optimum performance, writing data to the SSD and only periodically transferring it to the hard drive. This means that if anything should go wrong with the SSD, you could lose some data. The outcome of an SSD failure would depend largely on what the SSD was caching at the time of failure, so it’s difficult to predict how it would affect your system.

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Henry has been taking apart computers since the age of 10, which eventually lead to a career in technology journalism. He's written for numerous leading UK technology websites as well as writing advisory articles for Best Buy.