What is AMD StoreMi and how to transform your HDD into an SSD?

AMD StoreMi is an unexpected surprise that came along with the launch of X470 motherboards. According to AMD, this software creates tiered storage by blending an SSD unit and a HDD unit, boosting the speed of any operation done using the HDD unit.

Before explaining what AMD StoreMi is, we must explain what tiered storage is. This type of storage system is usually used in the IT sector, where storage devices are divided in categories/levels as if in a pyramid.

Therefore, we would find the fastest devices (which is where the users’ most commonly used data is stored) at the top of the pyramid. Then we have a second level where we find files that are not used as much, so accessing them quickly is not really important. Data files, which is data that is hardly ever used, are stored at the bottom level. It is common for these data files to be taken out of the servers and stored on other kind of places.

AMD StoreMi is an IT technology available for users

AMD StoreMi works similarly to the process we just explained. Actually, the original technology was not developed by AMD but by a company called Enmotus, which has been selling devices with this technology to the business-IT sector. In fact, AMD bought a license for its simplest storage unit, so users with X470 motherboards can use the technology (we would not be surprised if the upcoming B450 motherboards can use it, too). A similar Enmotus technology called FuzeDrive will also be available for users with 300-series motherboards, although they would have to pay $19.99 to use it.

In essence, AMD StoreMi creates tiered storage by blending two of the system’s storage units. On the one hand, we would have the SSD where the data and programs that the user access the most would be stored; on the other hand, we would have the HDD where the data and programs that are not used as much would be. For example, the first time you run a game after you install it would be performed at the HDD’s speed. However, the next you run the game, it would use the SSD’s speed. If we stop playing the game one day, StoreMi will move it to the HDD because accessing faster would no longer be important.

One of AMD StoreMi’s major upsides is that the entire process of blending storage units does not require any formatting or doing anything else. The only thing to be done is to select which two units will be blended together. As time goes by, the software will learn which apps are used the most and will move them to the SSD, whereas the apps that are used the least will be moved to the HDD. However, this technology (the free version, at least) has a limitation: it only supports SSDs of up to 256 GB (there are no storage limitations for HDDs).

Just like it happens when we create the new unit, there is no need to perform any extra task when it is time to get rid of the unit that we created: the software distributes files between both units. Once the process is done, the user will have two independent storage units once again.

Of course, the results that we got when we tested the new 2nd-gen AMD Ryzen processors speak for themselves.

In this case, we used a Samsung 950 PRO NVMe M.2 SSD and a 3 TB Seagate HDD. As we just said, results speak for themselves. We are actually aware that the write speed is really slow, but this was due to the fact that were not able to test the system for a long period of time. The unit probably was not optimized as it should have been, as AMD StoreMi must learn which files should go to either unit as well as how we use the system.

AMD StoreMi also allows us to create a hard drive with up to 2 GB of RAM. This virtual drive would work as the system’s RAM cache. Actually, the user can choose whether to create it or not. In fact, Enmotus encourages users to experiment with its creation, as it can be either useful or not depending on how the computer is used.

As a final comment, this technology is also compatible with Intel’s Optane technology.