A Walkabout in SLS (1-4-2006)
For the performance enthusiast, this is something that promises to bring
performance to another level for your PC. The Gigabyte i-RAM is another
break through in the storage sector. The i-RAM itself is actually a platform for
solid state memory, where conventional DDR memory can be plugged onto the
card and it would serve as a conventional SATA hard drive. By having such a
storage device, access speeds and seek times could be dramatically reduced to
fractions of what a standard hard drive is capable of. Due to the volatile nature of RAMs,
the i-RAM actually comes with a battery pack that would keep data on RAMs for up
to 15 hours, just incase you’ve plugged out your card from the PCI slot (the PCI
slot only provides power to the card, no data transfer occurs there), or you’ve
unplugged your PC from the power source. This innovative card goes for just
$ 239 (not including any RAMs) at Bell Systems.
The Gigabyte i-RAM packaging.
This is how the Gigabyte i-RAM looks from the top. 4 DIMM
slots that can accommodate 4 pieces of DDR RAMs.
This is the battery pack that powers the memory modules
when the card is unplugged from the computer, or when there’s no power source allocated to it.
The Exilinx chip on the card acts like a SATA controller, a
memory controller, and as a bridge chip between these 2 interface.
Of course, the SATA port here would allow you to plug in your
standard SATA data cables to this card, and allow data transfers between the
card and the PC. Do note that all data transfers are done on the SATA port here,
and not on the PCI interface. The PCI interface merely acts as a power source to
the card only.
Due to the various reviews floating around, this card we’ve
seen on the shelves happens to be the final production card, Rev 1.3 for the
card we saw.