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Every now and then, I express a desire for a solid state hard drive at a vaguely reasonable price.

Well, somebody has decided to give it to me.

Gigabyte is going to have a CHEAP solid state drive add-on for their motherboards. Look here and here:

Here’s the basic details:

  • Card will cost about $50.
  • It can handle up to 4Gb of RAM
  • It will handle DDR1600 or better RAM
  • It is a PCI card, but that’s just to supply power. It uses a SATA interface to communicate.
  • It comes with a battery that will keep the RAM powered a while (i.e. 16 hours) when the power is off.

    Yes, there are some shortcomings:

  • 4Gb isn’t a whole lot of space.
  • It’s not clear if this is a SATA 1 or 2 interface, but 150/300MB second is still a bottleneck.
  • A 16-hour battery does you little good if you shut down your machine for 17 hours. Being powered by the PCI slot alone means that if you want to be safe, you’d better keep the computer on, and image your drive occasionally.
  • While RAM is cheaper these days, it still costs.

    Nonetheless, even if this card isn’t for everybody or even a big chunk of them, it breaks the ice big-time, and gets the ball rolling on bring SSD to the mainstream. You can now have a 4Gb solid state drive for south of $500, including (quality) RAM. Those of you who are buying big RAM modules today can recycle them in one of these devices when you shift to DDR2 a year or two from now.

    Might there be better cards in the future that address some of the shortcomings? Let us hope so, but if that happens, jeez, tossing a %50 card for something better is hardly a tragedy.

    If you’re still shaking your head no, that’s fine; it may very legitimately not be right for you. Yet. What’s important about this card is that it will make a few heads reading this shake yes and create a market for these type of cards rather than have those heads saying, “I’d like to have this someday.”

    In a few years time, once the pioneers have established the market, then a product will come out that will make you shake your head differently.

    We will keep a very, very, very close eye on this, and report any additional information on this as it becomes available. Why?

    Because I want one, that’s why!!!! 🙂


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