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Some motherboards such as ASUS P9X79 WS support something called “ASUS SSD caching”. You can connect 1 HDD and 1 SSD to 2 designated SATA ports, and IUUC, you can have a setup in which the motherboard will automatically cache (on the SSD) the most often used data stored on the HDD. It allows you to take advantage of the SSD speed and HDD capacity at the same time.

I saw a presentation on YouTube, in which they show how to set it up using a program running on Windows. I'm curious if this is really a hardware solution (can be used on Linux), or is it partially in software? If it were just hardware, you could install Windows, run the utility to set up SSD caching, and then install Ubuntu, benefiting from the caching setup? (Also, if it's a hardware solution, why not set it up in right in the BIOS?)

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TL;DR ASUS SSD caching is not a hardware solution. –  automatthias Dec 21 '12 at 10:16
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I too have been considering options for the SSD on my HP Envy 6. You might want to read this article on Phornix discussing bcache. Bcache "is a Linux kernel block layer cache. It allows one or more fast disk drives such as flash-based solid state drives (SSDs) to act as a cache for one or more slower hard disk drives."

Before you jump in with bcache, I would highly suggest reading the "Getting started" section in their documentation. They way I read it is that the entire SSD must be used for the cache (unlike Intel Smart Caching which can use subsets of the drive).

There are also a few posts about this topic here:

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1933890

I have been waiting to see how this project matures before implementing it on my system. As an alternative, you could put the OS on the SSD and /home on the hard drive. There are several suggestions on how to optimize performance in this configuration (e.g. see here); however, the only option I have enabled is the discard line in /etc/fstab as other reading has indicated many of the other changes may not be necessary.

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With some more digging I found a reference where it's explained that ASUS SSD caching is, unlike in the z68 chipset, done in software (article about P9X79 WS), so you also need to do it in software in Ubuntu. –  automatthias Dec 21 '12 at 9:53
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See How do I install and use flashcache/bcache to cache HDD to SSD? which explains how to install bcache and other Linux-native hybrid block devices.

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