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SSD vs SAS vs RAM Drive

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October 31, 2010 10:41:32 PM

Greetings,

SSD vs SAS vs RAM Drive

"Simple" question which could likely be discussed in great detail: What would yield the greatest overall performance (throughput being the largest factor) for a very high end gaming system (2 high end SLI video cards, top-of-the-line processors, smokin' fast ram).

I am most interested in seeing reports here on Tom's Hardware, although I will consider other sources. Do you guys have links to credible information on this topic?

Overall I am looking for absolute performance; I am open optional suggestions such as Raid setups...

Has anyone researched this in depth that is willing to share their links with me?

More about : ssd sas ram drive

November 1, 2010 12:44:38 AM

highcommander said:
Greetings,

SSD vs SAS vs RAM Drive

"Simple" question which could likely be discussed in great detail: What would yield the greatest overall performance (throughput being the largest factor) for a very high end gaming system (2 high end SLI video cards, top-of-the-line processors, smokin' fast ram).

I am most interested in seeing reports here on Tom's Hardware, although I will consider other sources. Do you guys have links to credible information on this topic?

Overall I am looking for absolute performance; I am open optional suggestions such as Raid setups...

Has anyone researched this in depth that is willing to share their links with me?
If you search through the reviews, you'll find out that RAM drives are the fastest for any given interface, usually due to faster WRITE performance than the top SSD's. I've never seen an SATA 6Gb/s RAM drive however, but if you find one it will be faster than any flash-based SATA 6Gb/s SSD.

OCZ has a couple flash-based PCIe SSD's that have slightly faster read speed because they use a wider PCIe interface. Then again, if you had a RAM drive on the same interface, it would still be faster.

A single PC-6400 module is over 10 times as fast as the SATA 6Gb/s interface, so it's only a matter of finding the RAM drive with the interface you need.

Of course, RAM is incredibly expensive, so a high-capacity RAM drive is out of reach for most buyers. Also, because the interface cards are low-volume parts, you're looking at a few hundred dollars in addition to the cost of the RAM you put on it. From a practicality standpoint, you're better off with flash-based SSD.

Most of the information is in Tom's Hardware reviews, the rest is in the reviews of other sites, and I'm not really going to spend my time searching reviews for you because, frankly, my time is worth at least as much as yours.
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November 1, 2010 1:19:49 AM

Well said, although a bit un-specific. I have done some searching and have not really found anything yet that compares SSD to RAM in actual testing / performance testing. If I do find something I will share it here. I had hope that someone would know of a link off the top of their head.

As to price, obviously a $150 harddrive is going to be tons cheaper than a $150 interface card and 6 sticks of 2 or 4 GB ram. Plus you run into the issue of Size... I think Windows 7 requires 20 to 25 GBs for the OS alone....

I was wondering if perhaps someone was using a RAM drive to run a specific application (such as an online game) only, and if there were some testing information in regards to that, that I could look at.

Just doing some fact-finding at this point and opening this discussion to the general community. Hopefully someone who has some direct experience with this can share their thoughts.
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November 1, 2010 1:58:02 AM

highcommander said:
Well said, although a bit un-specific. I have done some searching and have not really found anything yet that compares SSD to RAM in actual testing / performance testing. If I do find something I will share it here. I had hope that someone would know of a link off the top of their head.

As to price, obviously a $150 harddrive is going to be tons cheaper than a $150 interface card and 6 sticks of 2 or 4 GB ram. Plus you run into the issue of Size... I think Windows 7 requires 20 to 25 GBs for the OS alone....

I was wondering if perhaps someone was using a RAM drive to run a specific application (such as an online game) only, and if there were some testing information in regards to that, that I could look at.

Just doing some fact-finding at this point and opening this discussion to the general community. Hopefully someone who has some direct experience with this can share their thoughts.
Most of Tom's reviews on the subject are limited, but you can still compare numbers from one review to another since they use the same benchmarks. I have a feeling that's what you'll find at most sites.
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November 1, 2010 2:11:32 AM

Fair enough. I am doing that now, and I will share what I find here.
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November 7, 2010 11:02:34 PM

Still researching, no best solution yet :) 
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November 7, 2010 11:07:38 PM

Well, I have found NUMEROUS applications that will allow for the creation of a RAM drive, however nothing practical as far as a physical, mainstream market card solution. For now I will have to say the technology for a RAM drive is too impractical to be useful for me. As far as SSD vs standard drives... I wasn't able to find a useful newer article that compared the two, although there are many tests of each individually I was able to look at. SSD far outperforms anything with a platter... with the exception of Hybrid SSD/HHD drives... Has anyone seen good information on those? They seem to be reasonably priced (500GB for $150) and they state that their speeds are comparable to regular SSD drives...
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a b G Storage
November 7, 2010 11:43:21 PM

For performance per dollar and gigabyte per dollar, a hybrid drive would probably be the best option. Hybrid drives are available in quite large capacities, perform better than standard hard drives, and won't break the bank. And SSD will still out-perform a hybrid drive, but will cost you significantly more.
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