Review Index:

DDRdrive hits the ground running - PCI-E RAM-based SSD

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: DDRdrive LLC

Packaging / Specifications


The DDRdrive comes extremely well packaged in a case that I'm convinced could withstand a fall from a very tall building, or being run over by a truck, or perhaps even a nuclear holocaust.  The case seals so well that it has an air bleeder valve to equalize pressure prior to opening.  Included is a driver CD and an AC adapter to supply the X1 with power when the primary system is powered down.

Bomb-proof packaging, anyone? 
Yes, we got two of them.

The DDRdrive concept is currently focusing on IOPS over throughput.  Parallelism is meant to be achieved by using multiple X1's in a single system.  While future products may support PCI-E 2.0 and a greater number of lanes, their first publicly available product will stick with PCI-E 1x.



  • The DDRdrive X1’s breakthrough architecture integrates both DRAM and NAND to redefine solid-state storage. Singularly designed to  target IOPS intensive applications while setting a new standard in performance, power, and price. The DDRdrive X1 is “The drive for speed.”


The DDRdrive X1’s solid-state storage system features:

  • DRAM / NAND Synthesis - A one-to-one correspondence between solid-state storage capacities. Combines the proven speed, reliability, and longevity of DRAM with the non-volatility of NAND. Removes the necessity and performance penalty of a NAND wear leveling implementation. Resolves the intractable random write limitations of a NAND only device with DRAM’s unsurpassed IOPS potential.
  • High Performance IOPS Engine - An FPGA based solid-state storage accelerator, in-the-field upgradable and purpose-built to dominate IO operations. Achieves extremely low latency and exceptional IOPS execution.
  • Custom Device Driver - Avoids unneeded and archaic protocol translation with a direct-to-hardware storage stack. Bypasses conventional device driver complexity and inefficiency with extensive end-to-end IOPS optimization.
  • HBA / Storage Unification - Negates needless data transfers between otherwise physically separate devices, improving data integrity and increasing IOPS performance.


  • Random 512B Reads up to:300,000+ IOPS
  • Random 512B Writes up to : 200,000+ IOPS
  • Random 4KB Reads up to: 50,000+ IOPS
  • Random 4KB Writes up to: 35,000+ IOPS
  • Sustained Sequential Reads up to: 215+ MB/s
  • Sustained Sequential Writes up to: 155+ MB/s

Device Driver Support:

  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Client/Server
  • Microsoft Windows XP (32/64 bit)
  • Microsoft Windows Vista (32/64 bit)
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Beta (32/64 bit)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 (32/64 bit)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 (32/64 bit)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 Beta
  • Linux support is expected at a future date

Hardware Requirements:

  • PCI Express v1.0a, v1.1, or v2.0 X1/X4/X8/X16 Slot *

* Double-wide slot clearance required.

PCI Express Full-Height Half-Length Form Factor


  • Primary Storage Capacity: 4GB DRAM

  • Secondary Backup Capacity: 4GB SLC NAND

* Available Raw Storage - 4,160,749,568 bytes

Unavailable Redundant Storage - 134,217,728 bytes


  • Complete Drive Backup: DRAM to NAND in 60 Seconds.
  • Complete Drive Restore: NAND to DRAM in 60 Seconds.
  • Lifetime Number of Drive Backups: 100,000+

 Editors notes on the specs

  • The 'Redundant Storage' above is due
    to conservative reservation of a portion of flash blocks.  Since the
    DDRdrive employs high grade SLC flash, and performs only sequential writes to it, the flash will likely outlive it's
    rated 100k write cycles by a fair margin.  The reserved flash blocks carry over to the RAM capacity, since the on-board mechanism must be able to perform a 1:1 backup of all available data.

  • While the DDRdrive's RAM clearance
    prevents it from being installed adjacent to another full height board,
    we found it can coexist next to a half-height board without

RAM height prevents installation next to other full-height cards, but the heatsink has no trouble clearing half-height boards.

Video News

May 3, 2013 | 02:18 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

specs aren't much better than a gigabyte i-ram except this device currently costs almost $2000, the i-ram cost $150 at release and currently ranges from $100-$150.

i-ram doesn't get near the same iops but it has the same storage capacity. and gets 130mbs read/write so price wise i-ram is alittle more realisitc.

hardware ramdrives could be huge if companies actually put some effort into making an affordable current device. They always make it too soon or too late, and not very well.

better off buying a nand flash ssd for $99 and just replacing it every few years. Will be cheaper and faster in read/write/iops.

August 9, 2013 | 09:55 AM - Posted by Stoat (not verified)

This isn't a competitor for SSD or the iRam. It's a non-volatile ramdisk and has a very specialised use.

This device runs squarely up against STEC's 8Gb ZeusRAM devices - and eats them for lunch because it's not tied to a SATA/SAS bus AND because it's about 1/3 the price.

As for usage: This is an ideal device for ZFS ZIL - only a few GB is needed and the faster you can commit it to the ZIL, the faster a server can signal "ready" back to the client on write requests.

As TFA said, this device is intended for Enterprise usage. I'd extend that and say anywhere a high end NAS is required, this is a good fit within that NAS.

I'd prefer to see PCIe x4 though, however it's probably fast enough for the purposes at hand. :)

April 3, 2015 | 08:43 AM - Posted by Anders (not verified)

Is there a similar product for Notebooks?
Many yrs ago I saw an adapter for 2 SO-Dimm memory sticks that one could int one of the slots in a Notebook, where can I find these? (One could expand the memory, one would get 4 slots instead of the original 2.)

Sinc. Anders Nyberg

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