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I am buying a new laptop (big fan of Lenovo, so will probably stick with it), and see an option that for about $40 I can add a 2GB Intel® Turbo Memory hard drive cache. I am wondering whether it's worth it? Conceptually it makes sense, and it's not too expensive to try, but is there really a difference?

I am planning to go with 4GB of RAM, and Windows Vista 64-bit.

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closed as off topic by Jeff Atwood May 7 '09 at 3:21

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4 Answers

It'll certainly be worth it if this "Turbo Memory cache" is the same speed as normal RAM. It might be worth however getting more RAM instead of this memory cache but at $40 you can't really go wrong.

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Would you specify "why" you can't go wrong with Turbo cache?" –  Sung May 2 '09 at 22:37
    
Sorry, I was referring more to the cost (in terms of the overall laptop cost). It's pretty cheap considering it can't have a bad side effect (not that I can see anyhow). I find it hard to see additional cache providing no benefit, the amount of benefit is debatable but I'm pretty sure its going to provide performance improvements, just not sure how noticeable they'll be. –  Adam Gibbins May 2 '09 at 23:09
    
@Adam Gibbins: I see. I did not consider monetary cost as a deciding factor. +1 for bringing that up. –  Sung May 2 '09 at 23:46
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I don't have much knowledge on Turbo Memory cache except for the fact that I've been using it(Lenovo 32bit T61 2Gig of ram and 1Gig turbo memory in my case) for the past 2 years.

A couple of times, I found my laptop lagging for some unknown reason while starting SQL Server Management Studio and Visual Studio. I was going through my computer and found out that a device driver for Intel Turbo Memory cache was disabled. Enabling did help speeding up opening SSMS and VS later on with superfetch enabled on Vista Business.

it's worth it?

So my answer to it would be, yes, if you are running many applications often, they should be cached in your Turbo cache so that application startup time should be lessened from my experience.

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I believe that to really get value from Turbo Memory you need to run an OS that supports Turbo Memory natively, such as Windows Vista.

Some computer manufacturers have called NAND flash caching (Intel's Turbo Memory technology) performance into question.[9] According to an online June 2007 review by Anand Lal Shimpi on Anandtech.com, TurboMemory results in negligible performance or battery life gain, despite the fact that TurboMemory adds an average of $100 to the price of a laptop (AnandTech)

I would refer to the following articles:

AnandTech: Investigating Intel's Turbo Memory: Does it really work?

ReadyBoost - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Turbo Memory is what the flash part of hybrid drives was supposed to be. On Vista notebooks it can be used for ReadyBoost.

The thing is, that it's absolutely not worth it. You'll get much more performance boost spending that money on RAM. System uses free RAM as disk cache. It's fast. Flash doesn't come anywhere near the speed of RAM. If you put that cache instead on slow, flash based Turbo Cache, in most cases it'll result in slowdown. Except for the case, when you use very few programs and reboot very often, then you gain with persistence of flash.

So if your choice is between 4GB RAM + 2GB cache or 6GB RAM no cache, I'll definitely go for the later.

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