Next Generation Emulation banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
9,111 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Gigabyte Brings Solid State Storage to the Mainstream

In an effort to differentiate themselves from other motherboard manufacturers, Gigabyte has introduced a number of interesting add-ons for their motherboards, the most interesting of which is their $50 RAMDISK PCI card.
The card is a regular 32-bit PCI card that features four standard DIMM slots on board. The card also features a custom Gigabyte FPGA that is programmed to act as a SATA to DDR translator, which convinces the SATA controller you connect the card to that the memory you have on that card is no different than a regular SATA HDD. As long as you have memory on the card, the card will be available at POST as an actual SATA drive, with no additional drivers necessary. The card is powered via the PCI slot, but RAM is volatile and thus if no power is provided to the card then all of the data is lost. In order to make this solution more realistic for real-world usage, Gigabyte outfitted the card with a rechargeable battery pack that can keep the memory powered and data intact for up to 16 hours with no power. After that 16 hours is up, your data is lost, but as soon as you apply power to the card again the battery pack will begin to recharge. Given that the card offers no real backup other than the battery it’s not really suitable for extremely sensitive data, but it works well if your system is on all the time. Obviously the biggest benefit of using DDR memory as storage is that all accesses occur in nanoseconds, not milliseconds and is thus much faster at random accesses than regular hard drives. Transfer rates are also improved, but you're limited by the bandwidth of the SATA interface so DDR200 memory is the fastest that is supported.

It is an interesting step for Gigabyte, and we’d like to see how the technology evolves over time.
Looks promising 4 GB DDR200 RAM shoud be relatively cheap by the time this hits the market,16 hours of battery time isn't really that good, I wonder if there will be better battery time later,I guess you can install your games into that and have it load really fast
 

·
War Games coder
Joined
·
1,926 Posts
More likely I'd load my OS onto it, with a backup on a real hard drive if I ever leave it off for more than 16 hours. Probably write a simple tool to synchronize the differences on demand - or perhaps every day at 4 AM or something. Nice idea, I hope it flies.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
833 Posts
Yeah great idea. I remember reading about this in a pc magazine two years ago. I remember the older version running on pc133 memory sticks. I would consider getting one of these's once they solve battery problem.
 

·
War Games coder
Joined
·
1,926 Posts
I doubt it's that big a problem... I have 4M of battery-backed memory that lasts about a week. Granted it ain't much, but this is ancient technology. The new part is trying to make it into a hard drive itself (my example is just my RAID array's write cache).
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
26,303 Posts
How about this: when the battery detects an absence of mains power for more than a certain period (perhaps 1 hour), it begins backing up data to the magnetic disc. For a 4 Gb disc, that would take maybe a couple of minutes tops.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
833 Posts
KillerShots said:
More likely I'd load my OS onto it, with a backup on a real hard drive if I ever leave it off for more than 16 hours. Probably write a simple tool to synchronize the differences on demand - or perhaps every day at 4 AM or something. Nice idea, I hope it flies.

Yeah i would like use this setup to run Windows on it and game that i play alot on my pc. But i hope they can find a way to make use of the technology.
 

·
Experenced But New User
Joined
·
866 Posts
Kane said:
How about this: when the battery detects an absence of mains power for more than a certain period (perhaps 1 hour), it begins backing up data to the magnetic disc. For a 4 Gb disc, that would take maybe a couple of minutes tops.
Ya.... but wouldnet the computer already be off?
 

·
War Games coder
Joined
·
1,926 Posts
Kane said:
How about this: when the battery detects an absence of mains power for more than a certain period (perhaps 1 hour), it begins backing up data to the magnetic disc. For a 4 Gb disc, that would take maybe a couple of minutes tops.
But then you're talking about a serious power draw. I guarantee that little RAM battery won't be able to power up a hard drive, not even for a second. You could easily get a better battery, but it's going to drive the cost of the card up - probably a good $50 or more. And at that point, you wouldn't bother to power the hard drive any more because the RAM would last for weeks (and it would require some hardware re-designing to power just the hard drive up and write the 4G down - re-routing IDE disk interface and power through the card, for instance. And then you're just screwed if your "hard drive" is a 80 drive RAID array).

EDIT: Unless, re-reading what you're saying, the shut-off was intentional and there is still power to the machine... it's just not switched on. In that case, the mobo would need to be configured to watch for a signal from the card to power on... this option does exist in most BIOS configurations. It would also need to intercept the boot-up at this point to do its backup, and afterwards shut off again. Also trivial. And this all assumes the user isn't an idiot and powers it off again after it powers itself up. I suspect it would also take it off-line for the duration of the backup.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top