Gigabyte Technology this week officially revealed its i-RAM device which behaves as typical Serial ATA hard disk drive, but uses DDR memory modules to store data. The i-RAM can enhance performance of tasks bound to performance of storage sub-system, but cannot offer really huge amount of storage space.
Gigabyte i-RAM is a device that is plugged into a PCI slot and acts is seen to operating system like a typical Serial ATA hard disk drive as it has a special embedded controller. The device is equipped with four DIMM slots for DDR memory and can support up to PC3200 memory modules, however, even the most basic PC1600 modules are likely to offer similar performance.
The heart of the i-RAM is Xilinx Spartan-series FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) that translates Serial ATA requests into requests to random access memory.
Gigabyte i-RAM is also equipped with a Li-Ion rechargeable battery that can power the device for about 16 hours when a PC is shut down. Once the battery runs out of power, all the data on the memory modules disappears.
Gigabyte claims that i-RAM can boot Windows XP 13 times faster than a contemporary hard disk drive. However, the device itself cannot provide really large storage space as well as is not suitable for systems that are switched off for more than 16 hours, for instance, during weekends.