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Gigabyte i-RAM - Affordable D.I.Y Solid State Storage

By: Shawn Baker | Editorials in Storage | Posted: Oct 10, 2005 4:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 7.5%Manufacturer: Gigabyte

The Card



The card has four 184-pin DDR memory slots on the front which don't have to be all utilized for the device to work - it only support DDR memory so don't try fitting in DDR-2. In the picture above we have installed 2 x 512MB Kingmax DDR-400 modules and 2 x 1GB Kingmax DDR-400 modules.



(Click here to download i-RAM Recommended Memory List PDF)


UPDATE: The recommended memory list by Gigabyte is only a work in progress and many other memory modules will be supported in the final shipping product.


Straight off the bat we can see that the Gigabyte i-RAM has no issues with mixing of memory modules (512MB and 1GB) which is a positive note since you probably will be using spare DDR RAM you have left over from older systems. It was a good sign that the Kingmax memory worked straight away as it was not on the recommended list we received from Gigabyte which would seem to indicate i-RAM is not particularly fussy about which RAM is used.


There isn't too much space between each memory slot which means you may have troubles using memory with heatsinks. This isn't likely to be a problem though as you'd be silly to use expensive overclocker's memory on i-RAM since it only requires minimum DDR-200 modules to work since the memory controller only operates at 100MHz (200MHz DDR). DDR-200 or PC1600 memory offers up to a theoretical 1.6GB/s transfer speed which is far faster than the SATA specification of 150MB/s and still far faster than the predicted SATA-II maximum specification of up to 600MB/s and current speed at 300MB/s.




The bottom right of i-RAM has the battery that helps make sure you don't lose the data that is installed onto the memory. Since RAM loses all the data that is stored in the memory modules when it loses power, something is needed to make sure a constant line of power is supplied to it. The battery provides 16 hours of power when no power is getting to it via any other source.


This should be plenty as you'd rarely have a black out for any longer than an hour and even if you're going to a LAN party or moving your PC to a new house, it really shouldn't take any longer - even in our large country Down Under in your car you could go to the next biggest city and almost back again without loosing power.



The device as we mentioned works like a normal hard drive and connects via the SATA connector on i-RAM to interface with your system.



At the bottom of i-RAM we have PCI connector which does nothing but help give the card power- no data is transferred over the PCI bus at all. The battery doesn't get used unless the card is out of the PCI slot or power at the power supply is disconnected or switched. With the power supply switched on and i-RAM in the PCI slot the card continues to receive power - even if your computer is turned off or not active - just make sure your power plug is plugged in.


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