Sunday, October 14, 2007

Gigabyte iRam

OK Lets get this straight.

The Gigabyte iRam is the single most effective performance boost you can give your PC.
http://www.giga-byte.com/Products/Storage/Products_Overview.aspx?ProductID=2180&ProductName=GC-RAMDISK

There are problems with it no doubt, but the rewards are immense. see the attached video...



In case you did'nt catch that, the computer shutdown, restarted and rebooted, all in about 25 seconds, while running windows XP. The operating system itself booted in about 7 seconds, and was available immediately. Admitedly this is probably a "cut down" version of XP, but you get the idea.

What is it?
The Gigabyte iRam (Also often called the Giga-byte GC-RAMDISK) is a PCI card which is used like a Hard Disk. No data passes down the PCI bus, which is only used for power. The iRam poses as an (up to) 4GB Hard Disk and is plugged into the motherboard via a SATA cable. This makes it very easy to install and use, since no drivers are necessary.
To the operating system, it appears simply as a very fast hard disk.

Limitations;
can only take 4GB of RAM.
RAM speed only same as PC200 RAM (although that is still miles quicker than the SATA bus can handle).
SATA 150Mbps only.
quite bulky for a PCI card.
data held will be lost after 16 hours without power.
Some versions of Linux don't support it due to its "odd" disk structure; this is always changing so check your distro version first.

Advantages;
Clean boot within 30 seconds on an average XP system (installed on the iRAM)
Massively improves performance, even if just used for the XP swap file.
Machine seems "snappier" even when doing things that would not seem to invlove much disk IO (like web browsing).
Machine does'n t go off on apparently random harddisk thrashings all the time, like XP is prone to do.
It is completely silent.


The next version?...
Gigabyte have been talking about the iRAM2 for a long time (over three years now). The supposed improvements include; up to 8GB storage (DDR2), SATA 2 (300Mbps), 5.25 inch drive bay model (cd bay) using ATX(molex) power (saves the PCI slot).
Personally I got sick of waiting for the next version to come out and I bought the first and am very glad I did.

Giga-byte have just recently released the iRAM Box, which is the same as the iRAM, except it is CD tray mountable. This still leaves room for improvement.
http://www.giga-byte.com/Products/Storage/Products_Overview.aspx?ProductID=2678&ProductName=i-RAM%20BOX

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