Gigabyte introduce newest I-RAM product
On Day 4 at Computex we made a stop back to the Gigabyte also in Hall 2 where we spotted the latest version of their I-RAM product.
Briefly, I-RAM is a new product from Gigabyte which is designed for super quick I/O through solid state storage (in this case, DDR SDRAM). For a more in-depth look at Gigabyte's previous design of I-RAM, we suggest you read our review (here) from late last year.
From what we can tell and what we were told, the actual I-RAM PCI cards haven't changed all that much - maybe just a couple tweaks here and there to improve performance. Like the previous model, the card slots into a PCI slot. While you might think a PCI slot doesn't provide enough performance (bandwidth), the slot is only used to power the card - no data is actually transferred here, just through the SATA cable. However, it would have been nice to see PCI Express versions of the I-RAM since this is now becoming the expansion slot of choice. Although Gigabyte did say PCI Express versions will be ready soon, which is good news.
What's interesting about the latest version is the new I-RAM drive bay. Working just the same as a regular I-RAM PCI card but all the parts are enclosed inside the CD-ROM sized drive bay unit. On the front of the unit you are able to turn the "drive" on and off, monitor reading and writing of data and also included is a very handy battery power indication meter. As the memory used is read only, if a battery wasn't used, every time you powered down your system, you would instantly loose all of your data.
Last year when Gigabyte launched I-RAM, they were criticized for not supporting enough memory. Now it seems as if you can bind more than one I-RAM PCI card together but we're not sure on the exact details as yet. For instance, on the show floor Gigabyte were showing a live demo with a total of about 15GB of data.
We were able to run some HDD benchmarks using PCMark05 which was setup on the Gigabyte system. In the next couple weeks we'll try to visit the Gigabyte HQ here in Taiwan to run some of our own benchmarks in a more controlled environment.
We'll be sure to keep you posted on updates!