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SATA 300MB/s and up to 8GB of DDR2

At Computex 2006 this year, Gigabyte is displaying the successor to its i-RAM storage device, the GC-RAMDISK. Gone is the PCI slot power interface and instead Gigabyte has made the GC-RAMDISK a 5.25” drive bay that relies on power from a Molex connector.

The Serial ATA interface remains with added compatibility for 300MB/s transfer rates, though it is unknown if the GC-RAMDISK will support SATA 3.0Gbps features such as native command queuing -- though with access times so low the only real advantage of the new feature set is the increased data transfer. DDR2 memory is supported this time around instead of DDR of the previous i-Ram. Supported memory capacity has been increased to up to 8GB from the previous 4GB which is just enough to make the i-Ram useful as an OS drive. Since DDR2 memory is not non-volatile (NAND), a battery feeds power to the memory when the system is off to prevent data loss.

As the GC-RAMDISK is still in development, availability is still a few months away. Pricing information is unavailable at this time but expect similar pricing to the previous i-Ram.

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By pnyffeler on 6/7/2006 3:46:08 PM , Rating: 3
Anybody have any idea how stable information on one of these will be for the long-term? I mean, some errors have to creep into the data after some time. There is no error correction system that I'm aware of.

It would be great to install an OS on it and reap the benefits of blazing fast boot times and program load times, but if I have to reinstall WinXP and Office every week, you can forget it.

Also, would normal error correction even work? The way I understand it, information that is read from memory is checked for corruption when error correction is used. However, what happens if there is an error found? My guess is that the information is just reloaded from the hard drive or whereever it came from, but what happens when the Ram drive is the only data source to go to?

RE: Stability?
By cochy on 6/7/2006 5:13:55 PM , Rating: 3
They reviewed the i-Ram at Toms Hardware a little while back. Stability was fine, but performace benefits from an OS installation on the drive wasn't very large. WinXP booted in about 3 seconds faster on the i-Ram than a Raptor. Now even 8 gigs isn't enough space for a proper OS installation. I think Vista will need at least 15 gigs.

RE: Stability?
By Larso on 6/7/2006 6:10:09 PM , Rating: 2
Stability of data in ram modules should not be a problem. If it was, you would have stability problems with the ram modules in normal usage as well. Btw. it is usually the data transfer to the ram modules that cause errors, and in this case there is no need at all to push the ram timings, so stability ought to be fine :)
Also, would normal error correction even work? The way I understand it, information that is read from memory is checked for corruption when error correction is used. However, what happens if there is an error found?

Well "normal error correction" ram modules (ECC) enables catching errors in the data transfer and is able to retransfer data if something went wrong.

And "normal error correction" in its usual sense would be to use algorithms able to detect and correct errors to some degree, with the price of data redundancy.

RE: Stability?
By Larso on 6/7/2006 6:19:53 PM , Rating: 2
not sure if I'm completely correct on the ECC ram though :)

RE: Stability?
By highlandsun on 6/7/2006 6:58:42 PM , Rating: 2
Standard ECC in DRAM will detect any two wrong bits in a word (with no possibility of correction) or detect and correct any single-bit error in a word. I think a "word" is 32 bits in that sense; since DIMMs are now 64 bits wide that ought to be doubled.

If their memory controller supports ECC it should all be fine; if not, they should go back and add ECC to their controller. For a device like this that is going to store up to 8GB of data for long periods of time, it's pretty important.

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