The Deliverator – Wannabee

So open minded, my thoughts fell out…

One more go around…

Posted by Deliverator on September 16th, 2005

I took some time yesterday to look into the problems that have been occuring with the carputer’s hdd. I did a scan of the drive using IBM’s drive diagnostic tools, which revealed a fairly large number of bad sectors/clusters. I headed up to Computerstop and purchased a cheap 40 GB notebook drive to tide me over until solid state flash disks become more affordable. At their current pricing, I could buy fifteen conventional laptop hard drives for the price of a single 4 GB flash drive. I fully expect the laptop HDD I purchased to meet a premature end, but when it does, I will just replace it and slap my disk image on it and be back up and running in short order. Yeah, replacing drives this frequently is a bit of a hastle, but until solid state drives see about a four fold decrease in price, I can live with the hastle.

My research into solid state drives did turn me on to one piece of tech that I may actually buy. Gigabyte is starting a “bare” PCI powered SATA ramdisk card. If that descriptio has you baffled, I will attempt to make it clear to you. The device accepts four DDR ram modules and presents this memory to your system as a SATA hard disk. The device gets its power from a PCI slot, but doesn’t use the PCI bus for anything other than power. You run a cable from it to your motherboard’s sata controller or a SATA addon card. The card has a small battery that will keep maintain the ram’s integrity for ~16 hours. With 120 MB/sec (i/o access patern independent) transfer rates and access times as close to zero as to make no difference, this ramdisk would make a hell of a boot/swap drive. I don’t know how trusting I would be of such a device. I would certainly make frequent point in time images, keeping as many as possible should some partial corruption occur. Still the sort of performance that such a device opens up is mighty compelling. Street cost for the bare card should be in the $125 range, with enough ram to build it out as a 4 GB disk costing another $350 or so.