DDRdrive hits the ground running - PCI-E RAM-based SSD
DDRdrive hits the ground running with its PCI-E RAM-based SSD
Today, previously unknown DDRdrive LLC released its flagship product, the DDRdrive X1. We burned through the weekend to provide a first peek on release day. Read on to see how the X1 fares against the ioDrive 160 and an Intel X25-M.Intro
Last week I got an email about a new product launch. We get many of these types of mails here at PC Perspective, but this one caught my eye and snagged my attention. It was about a RAM-based SSD. My mind immediately flashed back to the I-RAM. I remembered how insanely cool the concept was, as well as all of the pitfalls associated with being on the bleeding edge. The I-RAM used auxiliary 3.3V power from the motherboard to keep the RAM alive even with the system shut down, and a battery backup on-board, but if your power went out for a few hours the battery would deplete, and so would whatever was on it. I'm not thrilled about any of my data being *that* volatile. This held especially true for those who had their OS installed on it. I thought back to what I perceived as the two huge things missing from the I-RAM:
- Connect to the system via PCI instead of SATA
- Some way to backup the RAM and restore it later
I returned to reality and replied to the email, asking for more info. A few emails later I saw this:
One has only to look at this picture to realize DDRdrive LLC has answered at least one of the two weaknesses noted above, as PCI-Express takes the place of SATA. There is actually more to the DDRdrive X1 than meets the eye. The designer of this card had one thing in mind: IOPS performance. Under that heatsink is a custom FPGA multi-channel memory controller. To accomodate the increased traces required for the task, a custom PCB with more layers than some motherboards is used.
Under the CNC machined heatsink we see the FPGA controller next to a pair of SLC flash chips. This flash memory enables the DDRdrive to backup and restore from non-volatile storage.