Product wish - ddr3 based ramdisk pciE card

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Way back when, Gigabyte came out with a cool product, the i-RAM. Was a pci card that took 4x ddr dimms to provide a 4G ramdisk, sata1 (yes, old 150) interface, and it only used the pci slot for power.

Works great, if not the speediest demon. It's limited to 4G though, and the slower sata1 interface.

Then Acard came out with a cool device, the ANS-9010. That is a 5-1/4" bay box with 8x ddr2 dimm slots and 2x sata2 interface port. Better, costs about $400 or so I think. The 2x sata2 ports let you split the ramdisk in two and raid0 them for additional throughput. But ddr2 is expensive, and you're still limited to the sata2 interface, which is abysmally slow for a ramdisk.

FusionIO is the golden standard, using pciE cards with nand flash on them. Up to 2TB or so. With a gold-plated price to match. We're buying two of the gen1 640G cards at about $14k EACH. Dayummm.

I think there would be a great market for a pciE card that held at least 8x ddr3 dimms, which are almost cheaper than dirt now. Use a typical molex connector for additional power if needed and at least 8 pciE lanes for throughput. Add a usb3.0 port for a flash drive to back stuff up to non-volatile, and a battery to actually do the backup if power is lost.

Keep that to around $400 or less, and I think those would sell like hotcakes. So, would need a ddr3 controller and a pciE interface, and some glue logic and code. A fairly simple device driver, similar to the FusionIO one, to present the ramdisk as a block device.

So, anyone out there wanna make this ?

Dean 94TT
"Life is just one damn thing after another" Elbert Hubbard (1856 - 1915)

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Why emulating anything and not just using ram as ram?
This main bus is wide and can exploit full throughput of ram modules (17GB/s peak with DDR3). What is more - bus is directly attached to cache.

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and a battery to actually do the backup if power is lost.

With UPS you will never loose data.

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I think there would be a great market for a pciE card that held at least 8x ddr3 dimms

I think that a much better idea would be to use a ram controller with more chip selects (and more slots for modules). Then you could make an arbitrary run-time division of available ram space in between regular ram and ramdisk.

No RSTDISBL, no fun!

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There is a difference between using ram for a system and using storage. For example, a large market segment for FusionIO is for databases, both tables and logs. The company I work for has bought a few of them specifically for Oracle.

If you're running VMWare, keeping the vmdk on such a device would improve throughput tremendously, yet additional system ram wouldn't have the same effect. There are lots of use cases ...

Personally, I want one as my main system drive. I have an old Gigabyte i-RAM at home, and have played with small installs booting and running from it's measly 4GB. It's wicked, even through the old sata1 interface. For shits-n-giggles a buddy installed Ubuntu 11.04 I think it was on an Acard ANS-9010 using motherboard raid. Damn thing booted like lightning, and apps would start almost before you had finished clicking the mouse.

As for the UPS, I have a bunch of failed ones at the datacenter I would be happy to send you. Also a metric ton of failed power supplies.

There are systems out there that will take tons of ram modules. They tend to be dual-xeon server types, with prices to match. I want this for my main work box, and for my gaming box. Both of which have 4 ram slots, and I didn't have to take a 2nd mortgage to buy or to run.

The better idea of more chip selects is great, but that's in the arena of the motherboard manufacturers. A pciE card like I'm envisioning could probably be designed by a bunch of people here. I don't have the chops for it or I would have a go :P

Dean 94TT
"Life is just one damn thing after another" Elbert Hubbard (1856 - 1915)

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Why not just buy a modern SSD?

Comes with SATA 3 interface and some with up to several hundred MB/s of transfer speed, can be extremely fast in raid (approaching GB/s)!

A lot more space than you would get from a RAM based disk - at a lot lower price! 100+ of GB vs. a few GB. No power backup solution needed.

Almost 0 response time, means locating and start loading files will be extremely fast!

I have built systems with SSD's (no raid), you can easily boot a Win7 64-bit in less than 20 seconds or so!

- Brian

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Quote:
The better idea of more chip selects is great, but that's in the arena of the motherboard manufacturers.

That is why I would change the topic of:
"Product wish - ddr3 based ramdisk pciE card"
into
"Product wish - motherboard with 32 chip selects".

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A pciE card like I'm envisioning could probably be designed by a bunch of people here

Never heard about making high throughput expansion cards in here.

No RSTDISBL, no fun!

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Brutte wrote:
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A pciE card like I'm envisioning could probably be designed by a bunch of people here

Never heard about making high throughput expansion cards in here.

I mean that there are a lot of skilled and knowledgeable people here. Once who've worked on a pciE bus before, or ddr3 ram or whatnot.

Dean 94TT
"Life is just one damn thing after another" Elbert Hubbard (1856 - 1915)

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VMWare already has extensive support for SATA3 SSDs as scratch. Although SSDs cannot currently saturate SATA3 drives, it`s more than enough for even the beefiest storage array needs... Considering the amount of fast RAM you can stick on a server today, there really isn't a need at all for that kind of product.