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Century SDB25SD Secure Digital to SSD adapter
A $600 investment will get you roughly 8GB of SSD storage in a 2.5" form factor

While it may not be pretty or very helpful for those trying to run Microsoft's new Windows Vista operating system, you do have to give Century credit for trying something different with its 4-slot 2.5" PATA SSD adapter.

The device features four Secure Digital slots and each can accept up to 2GB. 8GB won't cut it for Windows Vista (default install size of 15GB), but can easily accept an install of Windows XP or Linux.

According to GeeStuff4U which sells the device, Secure Digital cards can only be used in pairs of two and all cards must be of the same type and speed. A minimum read/write speed of 20MB/sec is recommended, so those "budget" SanDisk and Kingston cards that you find free after rebate these days won't be up to snuff for any rigorous usage.

The device itself costs a whopping $258 and shipping alone within the U.S. is $26. Throw in four SanDisk Extreme III 2GB Secure Digital cards (20MB/sec minimum read/write, $80 each) and you're looking at an investment of over $600 for just 8GB of storage.

$600 for 8GB of storage seems rather steep considering that SanDisk is charging roughly $600 for its 32GB SSD drive and that Ritek plans to make available a 16GB SSD drive for under $300 later this year.

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By Mudvillager on 2/19/2007 9:38:00 AM , Rating: 2
I hope they've RAID:ed the four SD cards, otherwise performance would be extremly bad.

RE: RAID:ed?
By PAPutzback on 2/19/2007 9:55:45 AM , Rating: 2
Poor performance? That is 20 megabytes per second not 20 megabits per second. I could see this drive being used for Readyboost in Vista. Although I thought there was a 2 or 4 gig limit.

I still like the Gigabyte I-Ram device. I'd like to see a few of those inside a E-Sata enclosure.

RE: RAID:ed?
By masher2 on 2/19/2007 10:10:30 AM , Rating: 2
You're right; 20MB/sec + negligible access times is pretty fast. Still, given you have to fill the slots in pairs, I wouldn't be surprised if the actual device bandwidth isn't double this.

RE: RAID:ed?
By defter on 2/19/2007 11:00:28 AM , Rating: 2
Well fastests HDDs transfer >100MB/s in a best case situation and >80MB/s in a worst case. Average $100 HDD can transfer easily >40-70MB/s. Thus 20MB/s for $600 device with 8GB storage capacity would be quite horrible actually.

RE: RAID:ed?
By masher2 on 2/19/2007 11:36:07 AM , Rating: 2
You missed the part about "negligible access times". Hard drives easily beat flash at STR (sustained transfer rates). But for large amounts of small read requests, flash is much faster, despite its lower bandwidth.

RE: RAID:ed?
By RMSe17 on 2/20/2007 10:13:09 AM , Rating: 2
The only way you get 100MB/s is in burst buffered transfers. And those will occur on large file transfers (say, movies, cd/dvd images, etc) but try copying windwos directory, and you will not get anywhere near that transfer rate, even if your data is not fragmented, because the caching algorithms do a lot worse with lots of small files vs one huge file.

RE: RAID:ed?
By leidegre on 2/19/2007 12:05:25 PM , Rating: 1
20MB/s is not really that fast. It's deffenitly something cool. 20MB/s is about ~400MiB/s (USB 2.0).

Just recently, I moved some data between my computer and an external HDD, that went about ~25MB/s, and moving stuff inside my computer, between an internal HDD, and my RAID0 setup, I get about 55MB/s. So the throughput is not really that impressive, especially when you can get about 1TB of HDD storage for 600$.

Now I love the idea of SSD devices and can't wait to get my hands on one. But it's simply not ready to meet the HDD specs of today. But it's getting there, and it's a move in the right direction.

RE: RAID:ed?
By lplatypus on 2/19/2007 10:18:08 PM , Rating: 2
20MB/s is about ~400MiB/s (USB 2.0).
Huh? 1MB is at least roughly the same as 1MiB:
1 MiB (mebibyte) = 1048576 bytes (ie 2^20 bytes).
1 MB (megabyte) is used to mean 1000000 bytes, 1048576 bytes or sometimes even 1024000 bytes.
Oh and USB 2.0 "Hi-Speed" uses a signaling rate of 480 Mbit/s (megabits per second) which is 60MB/s.

RE: RAID:ed?
By leidegre on 2/20/2007 7:46:50 AM , Rating: 2
I guesse I jumped to the conclusion than th file transfer occured at maximum speed, and of course I meant ~400 Mbit/s.

RE: RAID:ed?
By Mudvillager on 2/19/2007 12:36:34 PM , Rating: 2
I'm well aware of the superlow access times of flash (well compared to traditional HDDs), however 20MB/s is a lot slower than what I'm used to with my 7200.10 drives. Definitely not worth the money when much faster 16GB SSD's for $300 are around the corner.

The market for this product will be really small.

RE: RAID:ed?
By elephantman on 2/19/2007 10:42:21 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, very small indeed.

Additionally, with flash memory's "limited" 10,000 write cycles - it could certainly spell doom for any heavy writing applications as well.

I really don't see the point..maybe high-G or extreme enviornments?

SD prices
By AlexTRoopeR on 2/19/2007 11:02:58 AM , Rating: 2
80$ per SD card is a little exagerated.
Looking around a little, one could find 2 GB SD PQI, Transcend at 150x (22.5 MB/sec) for as low as 20$, and A-Data or RiData 150x for 30$. Which would get the whole device at around 370 - 400 $.

RE: SD prices
By tungtung on 2/19/2007 12:22:43 PM , Rating: 3
I agree that the author's price on SD card is too exaggerating. However the price for the device alone is nuts, $258 for just a bridge, I mean why can I get CF to IDE adapters for like less than $5 off eBay, not to mention they have all those USB card readers for close to nothing (like around $15 for 9-in-1 card readers).

I just don't get why this "adapter" (which is what it essentially is) is priced so outrageously expensive. Also on the other "flip" of the coin, I have two question to throw.

1. Why don't they use CF cards instead - which is widely available in sizes up to 8 GB each.

2. How about the number of write cycle limitation for those flash memory cards.

RE: SD prices
By bottle23 on 2/19/2007 9:00:08 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting idea tungtung...

Get a RAID card with PATA connectors (eg: 3ware 7506-4LP), and get some IDE-to-CF adaptors, buy a number of 8GB CF cards. 8GB CF x4 PATA connections...32GB of potential storage in RAID 0.

Obviously, if you RAID 5 that, it'll be less. (Is it 24GB?)

So for about the same price as the solution mentioned in this article, you have 3x the capacity with redundancy! (assuming RAID 5)

RE: SD prices
By highlandsun on 2/20/2007 7:32:11 AM , Rating: 3
Hm, but that 3ware controller is $255 all by itself.

On the other hand, a nice dual CF-IDE adapter with DMA support is only around $25.

Add a pair of Transcend 8GB 120x (20MB/sec) CF cards for $86 each and you've got twice the storage and still only 80% of the price of that SD adapter.

There's the old saying "faster, better, cheaper - pick any 2." Companies shouldn't bother bringing a product to market if they can't even deliver on 2 out of 3. That SD gadget is less capacity and more expensive, and probably only the same speed or slower. What a waste.

RE: SD prices
By sprockkets on 2/20/2007 11:07:22 PM , Rating: 2
Got mine on ebay for $1 plus $3 shipping, for the adapter that is.

RE: SD prices
By Brandon Hill on 2/19/2007 12:36:11 PM , Rating: 3
Coming from someone who has used both PQI 100x CompactFlash/150x SD and SanDisk Extreme III SD cards, just b/c something says 150x on the packaging doesn't mean that it offers anywhere near that rate in real-world performance.

RE: SD prices
By Cunthor01 on 2/20/2007 2:19:47 AM , Rating: 2
However, if you use 80X and 133X CF cards there is a noticeable difference (or at least on dSLRs).

I have a question as well; what would be the read time like to 4x SD cards vs normal HDD?

Custom IDE->4xSD slot mechanism?
By psychobriggsy on 2/19/2007 9:36:03 AM , Rating: 2
It's a nice idea, but it doesn't support SDHC, so you're limited to 2GB (and a few 4GB devices) and it's horribly expensive. They must have designed their own IDE->flash interface controller or something to charge so much for an IDE port, circuit board, SD-slots and logic.

If it was $50, had 8 SDHC slots operating in parallel, and you could use cheaper slower SD cards because of the parallel nature, then I think people would go for it.

RE: Custom IDE->4xSD slot mechanism?
By ksherman on 2/19/2007 10:09:46 AM , Rating: 2
There is always a first step...

RE: Custom IDE->4xSD slot mechanism?
By MrSmurf on 2/19/2007 11:20:37 AM , Rating: 1
Some first steps are just for show and this is one of them. It's just like the RAM Hard Drives a year or so ago; good idea just not very practicial. Flash drives are simply too slow with small files and you're not able to store many large files on this drive.

The largest flaw of them all is that you can simply buy a 8GB USB flash drive! You can buy at leaste three of them for this price.

RE: Custom IDE->4xSD slot mechanism?
By iNGEN on 2/20/2007 11:57:07 AM , Rating: 2
Some first steps should never be displayed to the public, let alone marketed as a product. I now have reduced confidence in RiDATA, not higher. This looks like the kind of device some wirehead would solder together in his basement, not something a reputable company would try to pass off. There must be a niche market for this product of which I'm just not aware.

I don't understand why hard disk manufacturers can produce a 400GB SATA hard drive with 16MB of cache and all internal precaching logic for under $150, yet can't produce an SATA logic board with four Flash sockets and one DDR2 slot supporting 32GB of flash and 2GB of DDR2 for the same price! Hell, if a company would do that without including the memory they would sell like hotcakes. Especially if they did something fancy like stripe the flash cards, support more RAM, compatibility with ReadyBoost, etc.

By mindless1 on 2/21/2007 6:15:18 AM , Rating: 2
I doubt they designed their own controller, it's probably just an existing controller and priced obscenely due to expectation of low sales (or just plain old greed) and if the product stays on the market it may have to be lowered in price to sell very well.

As it stands it makes no sense at all, except to someone who was trying to save a buck to reuse their existing SD cards (if they happened to have enough of them as the limitation of same size and type (to some extent) is quite limiting), but to someone trying to save a buck the last thing they'd want to do is spend this much on the adapter.

Also a 20MB/s write rating is an arbitrary target at best, if the read was 20MB/s and the write 10MB/s with caching enabled, it would be quite usable for WinXP's most common uses, just not the most demanding ones. Similarly, the vast majority of hardware sold isn't most suited to *most* demanding PC uses either.

I-Ram comparison
By EODetroit on 2/19/2007 10:17:15 AM , Rating: 2
I actually run World Of Warcraft off of 2 4Gig I-Ram drives in a Raid-0, lol. The price I paid for that a year ago is remarkably similar to the price you'd pay for this now. I like how the I-Ram is a LOT faster, don't like how it takes up 2 PCI slots and is vulnerable to losing its data if the computer is unplugged too long.

RE: I-Ram comparison
By DNAgent on 2/19/2007 10:33:27 AM , Rating: 2
That's a pretty extreme measure to take just for WoW...if you have that kind of $$$ to blow, what other hardware are you running? Just curious...

RE: I-Ram comparison
By brshoemak on 2/19/2007 12:08:23 PM , Rating: 2
Hopefully he's running an 8GB RAID1 for backup :)

RE: I-Ram comparison
By EODetroit on 2/19/2007 4:55:20 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah probably extreme, but as it turned out, the memory I bought back then is actually worth almost twice that now, since memory prices have been on the rise, not the decline, so I don't fault myself toooo much.

It has an impact on WoW loading speeds, but I was mainly interested in allowing WoW to run better in battlegrounds (especially AV). It turned out that the poor performance in the AV battleground was more of a function of Blizzard's servers sucking than my computer.

As for the rest, my computer probably could use another upgrade cycle, its still a 4400+ .

But I haven't upgraded yet because I have this bug that makes me want the fastest hard drive access speeds possible. So I keep building 16 (sixteen) GB motherboard-memory combos on Newegg, with the plan to run a 8-12 GB ram disk with my data files on it. Every reboot I'll load the files into the ram disk from the I-Rams. Backing up the I-Rams will be a normal hard drive.

But with memory prices at $150 per Gig for server memory, even I'm not crazy enough to actually place the order. So I'm just saving up until savings > cost to build my "wtf were you thinking are you crazy" computer. lol

Alternative IDE solution
By RMSe17 on 2/20/2007 10:31:41 AM , Rating: 3
There are better alternatives for desktops....

IDE-CF adapter 10$

CF card
8GB 86$

or cheaper,
4GB 45$

So, equivalent IDE solution of 8GB costs.. 96$ + shipping.

So, unless that SD thing is RAIDed, there is no justification for such a price tag as the one they ask.

RE: Alternative IDE solution
By nerdye on 2/20/2007 10:54:16 PM , Rating: 2
Good examples on real world pricing RMS. Man all the instances of flash memory used as hard drives these days is still just too expensive/unfeasible, I say buy a 10,000 rpm WD raptor (with proper fans/cooling as they run hot as kate beckinsale). We are all excited about flash running our applications/os' memory needs, yet it seems the only logical step is to anticipate the solutions of tomorrow. Ready boost seems awesome and ready to me now though, yet the SSD market just ain't there yet. Prove me wrong Seagate, I'll make an according purchase - =)

RE: Alternative IDE solution
By mindless1 on 2/21/2007 6:07:13 AM , Rating: 2
You are thinking only in terms of running a main PC with MS bloatware OS. There are tons of applications besides the one most demanding subjective thing you would try to do on a traditional PC. I mean applications for flash based OS containing drive, not necessarily this SD card based product at it's current price-point.

SSD is a bit old product
By ereader on 2/19/2007 10:50:04 AM , Rating: 2
What's the point to post such things? I was digging pcwatch,akihabara,century - it was released somewhere 16 nov 2006...
Nevertheless the device is quite interesting, for XP mostly.

RE: SSD is a bit old product
By starcutter on 2/19/2007 3:17:36 PM , Rating: 2
One thing that I haven't seen spoken about yet is power benefits. Moving from a mechanical drive architecture to this type of memory should greatly increase system battery life. I can see myself running not only a number of Linux distros but a barrage of open source apps on a laptop equipped with this drive. Quite a few benefits although the cost is still too high IMO.

Relatively fast start times and fast reads of small files.
Extremely long battery life.
High tolerance to data loss compared to non-static memory.

I don't get it
By DOSGuy on 2/19/2007 2:25:03 PM , Rating: 4
I don't really get the point of this product. I can buy a CF to PATA adapter at my local computer store for $20 (less than the shipping on this product), and CF cards also come in capacities of 8 GB. The adapter fits into an expansion slot in the back of the case, or you can get a bracket to mount it in one of the front drive bays. You could probably buy a bunch of them and put them in a RAID. $258? That's about 10 times too much.

Why so overpriced
By electriple9 on 2/19/2007 6:55:31 PM , Rating: 3
What happened to the Iram2. It seems so simple to make a $20 compact flash to sata device, and raid 4 of these, and get fast speed. Most motherboard these says have plenty of sata raid ports. Never to say, it even come cheaper to get some hard drives and raid them ,put them in a silent box if noise is an issue.

By sprockkets on 2/19/2007 9:53:05 PM , Rating: 2
Or you can do what I did and by a 8GB CF card for $85 and an adapter for $5.

Ridiculous price
By mindless1 on 2/21/2007 6:02:37 AM , Rating: 2
Price this closer to $20 and I'd think about it. It really isn't worth more than that w/o embedded memory.

A CF2.0 (ATA66) - IDE adapter and CF card, combination, is the best compromise of speed and cost.

"Vista runs on Atom ... It's just no one uses it". -- Intel CEO Paul Otellini
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