We love it when an unusual contraption makes an appearance in our inbox, so you can understand our intrigue when SilverStone appeared with a product promising a "virtual super storage solution".
It's dubbed the HDDBOOST, and it essentially combines a traditional hard drive with a solid-state drive to create a storage solution that offers the capacity of former and the performance of the latter.
All sounds a bit weird, but here's how it works. You take your SSD - of any capacity, though SilverStone recommends at least 32GB for Windows users - and you plug it into one of HDDBOOST's three SATA 3Gbps ports. You plug your existing hard drive into the second port, and the third plugs in to your motherboard. Power everything up using SATA power cables from your PSU, and you're done.
But here's where it gets interesting. Boot up and the unit will carry out a mirror backup, copying as much of your hard drive as possible over to the quicker SSD. Once that's complete, the HDDBOOST's integrated controller will configure the system to prioritise reading from the SSD. It'll still read from the HDD for data outside of the SSD mirrored zone, and it'll write back to the HDD, too, but SilverStone reckons the setup will provide over a 150 per cent increase in read speeds.
Whether or not you'll have to re-mirror the drives each time you boot remains a mystery, but what we're looking at here is effectively a hybrid storage system in which an SSD of any capacity can be used as a giant cache. Think of it like ReadyBoost on steroids.
Question is - why wouldn't you use the SSD as your primary disk instead? Good point, but we suppose the HDDBOOST could be useful for users who don't want to wipe their data, and want to taste the SSD benefits with their hard system disk remaining intact.
The unit is currently selling in Japan priced at under ¥5,000, which works out at around £35.