Processors: AMD Opteron 2356 (2.3GHz Quad-Core) x2
Motherboard: Tyan S2915-E (Supplied by Tyan)
Memory: Kingston KVR667D2S4P5/2G x4 (Supplied by Kingston)
Graphics Card: XFX 8800 GTX (Supplied by XFX USA)
Enclosure: Lian Li V2000
Cooling: Noctua NH-U12DO (Supplied by Noctua)
SATA Controller: Areca ARC-1231ML (Supplied by Areca)
SAS Controller: Areca ARC-1680i (Supplied by Areca)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate X64
The fastest SSD I reviewed to date is the Intel X25-M so it will be used to compare against the io-Drive. The fastest traditional, platter based drive available on the market is the Seagate 15K.6 (review coming shortly).
The Intel X25-M is currently available for around 600 Dollars. At the time of testing I only had one available, so running RAID was not an option. For the platter side I have eight Seagate 15K.6 drives that have been ran through various RAID configurations. Each 15K.6 drive sells for around 800 USD and the Areca controller adds another 1000 USD, so the total cost of the 8 drive array is in the neighborhood of 7400. The Fusion-io ioDrive as tested today is 2995 USD.
There is still the issue of capacity. The Intel and Fusion-io are both 80GB, but the Seagate array with 8 450GB drives is quite a bit larger. It might be a little hard to swallow, but in the server world it is not uncommon to find large arrays with only a few gigabytes of data on the platters. This is especially true when it comes to database servers where the data is kept on the fastest part of the drive to keep I/O high.
It should also be mentioned that this test was performed several months ago and at the time the drivers were in beta form. A newer set was later submitted to Microsoft for WHQL Certification.