Specifications, Availability and Pricing
Let's go ahead and knock a few limitations out before we get started with the specifications. The first thing is that the ioDrive is designed for server workloads where high IO's are required. Database and web servers are about as general as it gets, but any application where very fast read and write operations are required will see a significant speed increase. Don't get me wrong, everything on the ioDrive will load faster, with near nonexistent latency, but the card is designed and optimized for server applications. However, there is nothing keeping you from loading up a friendly game of Crysis and watching your load screen pass by like a fresh Ferrari in the hands of a new owner on an open desert highway in Nevada.
At this time you can't boot to the ioDrive, but the feature is in development and showing promise in the labs. A version of the drive is also in development that is meant for general purpose computing, for those who can afford it. I won't speculate when we will see such a drive or at what cost, but I am sure DVNation will be one of the first places to carry the product and we will no doubt be one of the first to take a look.
At this time the ioDrive is a 64-bit operating system-only product. I personally don't see this as a limitation and welcome the fact that a product is designed from the ground up to operate in a 64-bit environment as opposed to migrating from 32-bit to 64-bit. There are several 64-bit operating systems; these range from Linux to a half dozen or so from Microsoft. We have already moved our disk drive and enterprise product test bench over to Vista 64-bit, so the ioDrive was a true plug and play solution.
Fusion-io makes three variants of the ioDrive with the main difference being capacity. Today we will be looking at the smallest version, the 80GB model. There are a few other small differences between the three cards. The 160GB model has a claimed write speed increase of 50 MB/s, bringing the total write speed to 600 MB/s. The 320GB model uses MLC memory, this brings its write speed down to 500 MB/s, but the read speed remains the same across all three products at 700 MB/s. For now we will focus on the 80GB model that was tested in house. For more information on the other products, please take a look at Fusion-io's official product page here.
The ioDrive uses 4-PCIe lanes with a physical 4-lane connector. The drive can plug into four, eight and 16 lane PCIe slots, but only four lanes will be used. One feature that I found intriguing was the brief mention of RAID capability. There are several motherboards, especially in the server and workstation market with up to six PCIe 16x slots. Before you start dreaming of a five drive RAID 5 array, there is one more thing that should be discussed.
The official MSRP for the 80GB ioDrive is 2995.00 and this goes all the way up to 14,400 US Dollars for the 320GB model. We were told that purchasing in volume will decrease the cost of ownership.