Computex: Gigabyte demos 4 GByte RAM disk

Taipei - Fast alternatives to traditional harddrive storage have been a trend that especially resulted in Flash-based drives. Gigabyte showed at this year's Computex an even speedier device: A RAM disk with up to 4 GByte capacity and a battery to protect content when a PC is shut down.

Imagine a PC that is able to power up almost instantaneously - a vision that especially Bill Gates expresses at least once a year in one of this numerous industry keynotes. That vision however could be closer many users may think. And its not necessarily driven by Microsoft, but rather by the semiconductor industry which found that Flash or DRAM used as mass storage could dramatically increase their sales.

Traditionally, non-volatile memory that keeps stored data safe even when power is removed is the primary solution for fast storage solutions. For example, Samsung recently announced intentions to bring a Flash drive with up to 8 GByte capacity to the market. Flash however is still priced at a level that is far from mainstream use for large capacities.

DRAM also has been a research field that brought us RAM disks or RAM drives that are faster than Flash, but loose stored content as soon as power is absent. Gigabyte now showed a solution at Computex that resolves this problem: The company simply uses a battery that protects stored content, when a PC is shut down. While the PC is turned on, the battery is recharged.

Gigabyte's RAM disk is connected to the system via SATA-1 and uses a PCI port for power supply. The device offers four sockets for DDR1 DIMMs, enabling a capacity of up to 1 GByte. Possible uses include the option to install Windows on the drive, use the space for temporary files or as a swap drive or to install applications that make extensive use of the harddrive on the device.

The RAM disk will be shipping in the third quarter of this year and will carry a price tag of about $80.

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