There is simply no denying the fact that the benchmark results that we saw here on the Gigabyte iRAM are awe inspiring. They simply blow away traditional hard drives, even the coveted Raptor, by significant amounts in all cases. The iRAM is able to nearly max out the SATA 150 MB/s bus consistently while still maintaining a near 0 latency (seek time). This all adds up to a fantastic storage solution for nearly all application types.
I can simply imagine putting these in our database servers for PC Perspective to completely eliminate the constant drive accesses in the forums, for example.
That being said, the iRAM is not the holy grail of storage quite yet. With a maximum storage size of 4 GB, it simply doesn’t have the capacity necessary to replace any type of modern hard drive except for specialty cases like the server idea mentioned above. And even then, you’d be crazy to not have some constant backup plans in place. It is possible that the iRAM could be used as a ‘swap’ partition or working partition for Adobe Photoshop, Premiere or other video editing applications as long as 4 GB is going to be enough space. Even as the swap partition in a Linux install would make perfect sense.
Installing a single game on the iRAM would also be possible to help lessen load times but in my testing that situation really wasn’t dramatically affected enough to warrant a separate drive for it just yet.
Of course, I’d put one of these in my system just to have something to play with. And if you have some left over DDR memory, its not an expensive upgrade option.
Areas for Improvement
There are few areas that could use more attention from Gigabyte to really get this type of device a must-have item. First and foremost, the ability to support more than 4 GB of storage is a must! They could do this by increasing the individual DIMM size support to 2 GB and by doubling the number of DIMM slots on the card by adding four more on the back. That would give us up to 16 GB of storage and would open up a lot more possibilities for the iRAM in both consumer and professional applications.
The next feature request I would add is SATA 300 MB/s or faster support. Since the iRAM was the first device that could really saturate the SATA 150 MB/s bus, moving up to a faster connection speed would make the iRAM even more impressive. The DDR memory that Gigabyte says is officially supported would obviously more than fast enough to saturate 300 MB/s as well!
I would also like to see a better battery system on the next iteration of the iRAM that includes easy to see and decipher battery level indicators. Since the dependence on the battery is a necessity in some cases, having all the information about how battery life is very important if anyone is going to use the iRAM for critical applications. A simple but reliable charge level indicator would fit the bill nicely.
The Gigabyte iRAM is a truly innovative device that opens up all kind of possibilities with its incredible, untouched storage performance. It brings the idea of solid state storage the consumer for a very low cost and will hopefully bring other companies attention to developing these types of storage devies.
For now, the Gigabyte iRAM is the fastest storage device that exists for an enthusiast’s system.
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