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Written by Olin Coles   
Thursday, 26 March 2009
Table of Contents: Page Index
ACARD ANS-9010 DDR2 SATA RAM-Drive
Features and Specifications
First Look: ACARD ANS-9010
ACARD ANS-9010 Details
SSD Testing Methodology
Random Access Time Benchmark
Basic IOPS Performance
Linear Bandwidth Speed
Buffered Transaction Speed
Windows XP Startup Times
Solid State Drive Final Thoughts
ACARD ANS-9010 Conclusion

ANS-9010 DDR2 RAM-Drive

By this point, most everyone willing to read a product review has become aware of Solid State Drives. While SSDs may have been the expensive niche product of elitists' a few years ago, today they have become an affordable premium product for the masses. Still, some of the older solutions have kept up with the times, and make a compelling argument for hardware enthusiasts looking for affordable performance.

The ACARD ANS-9010 is a solid state SATA RAM-Drive made of several DDR2 memory modules. A RAM-Disk allows for faster transfer speeds than traditional IDE/SATA hard drives and USB/eSATA flash drives. RAM-Disks offer a speedy random access rate and shorter access time, and are best-suited for graphic designers and database systems. The ACARD ANS-9010 supports an Compact Flash (CF) slot for data backup and restoration to prevent data loss. In this article Benchmark Reviews tests the performance of the ACARD ANS-9010 RAM-Disk against the fastest SSDs on the market today.

ACARD_ANS-9010_RAM-Drive_Corner.jpg

Since first making a commercial public debut at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show, Solid State Drives (SSD's) have been a topic of hot discussion among performance enthusiasts. These nonvolatile flash memory-based drives feature virtually no access time delay and promise a more reliable storage medium with greater performance while operating at a fraction of the power level. Moving into 2008, SSDs became a consumer reality for many performance-minded power users. Now that 2009 has revealed promising industry support for Solid State Drive technology, we should hope that mainstream acceptance moves faster than DDR3 SDRAM has.

Back in November 2007, after experiencing the SuperComputing Conference SC07, finding Solid State Drives on sale anywhere was a real challenge. One year later, and online stores are offering dozens of SSD models at reasonable prices. Solid State Drives are rapidly changing the computing landscape, and many enthusiasts are using SSD technology in their primary systems to help boost performance. Benchmark Reviews has tested nearly all of the products available to the retail market in this sector, and several do well while others fall flat. It used to be that performance was the largest hurdle for mass storage NAND Solid State Drives, followed by stability, and later price.

Solid State Drive products are no longer restricted to bleeding edge hardware enthusiasts or wealthy elitists. Heading into 2009, SSD storage devices were available online for nearly $2 per gigabyte of storage capacity while the most popular performance desktop hard drive hovered just above $1/GB. While most consumers are waiting for that day when SSD costs the same as HDD, they seem to be forgetting how Solid State Drives have already surpassed Hard Disk performance in every other regard. Our collection of SSD reviews is a good starting point for comparing the competition.

According to a Q1 2008 report by the semiconductor market research firm iSuppli, the SSD market will grow at an annualized average of 124 percent during the four-year period from 2008 until 2012. iSuppli now projects SSD sales to increase by an additional 35 percent in 2009 over what it projected last year, 51 percent more in 2010, and 89 percent more in 2011, and continue to show dramatic increases in subsequent years.

Disclaimer: SSD Benchmarks

Benchmark Reviews recently published an article which details Solid State Drive (SSD) Benchmark Performance Testing. The research and discussion that went into producing that article changed the way we now test SSD products. Our previous perceptions of this technology were lost on one particular difference: the wear leveling algorithm that makes data a moving target. Without conclusive linear bandwidth testing or some other method of total-capacity testing, our previous performance results were rough estimates at best.

It's critically important to understand that no software for the Microsoft Windows platform can accurately measure SSD performance in a comparable fashion. Synthetic benchmark tools such as HD Tach and ATTO Disk Benchmark are helpful indicators, but should not be considered the ultimate determining factor. That factor should be measured in actual user experience of real-world applications. Benchmark Reviews includes both bandwidth benchmarks and application speed tests to present a conclusive measurement of product performance.

About ACARD Technology CorporationACARD_Technology_Logo.png

ACARD Technology Corp., a global leading provider of storage solutions, was founded on September 19, 1996. Since establishment, ACARD has been engaging in IC design and Storage solutions. In the fields of IDE and SCSI, ACARD has its core technologies, and enjoys a high reputation.

ACARD devotes its energies to the development of leading edge technology. ACARD's R&D capabilities include IC Design (Analog, Digital and Mix Mode design), BIOS/Driver/AP design, and system integration. Since 1999 it has been developing critical technologies. Based on the IC development, ACARD has owned key technologies and know-how of IC design, software, hardware application and integration. SCSIDE technology (SCSI-to-IDE bridge) is the best proof of ACARD's innovation. The core chip, SCSIDE engine, is created with an advanced technology, which integrates a SCSI core, an IDE core and a CPU core on one chip. Through this innovation, a user can convert a low-cost device of IDE interface to that of high-performance SCSI interface; therefore, the system operation will be enhanced.

ACARD offers small, medium, and large corporations with broad lines of controller chips, SCSI/SATA/IDE RAID controllers, SCSI-to-IDE/SATA converters, CD/DVD duplicators, RAID subsystems, NAS, external storage for DVR, and CD/DVD recording software. ACARD's products are marketed to PC, Macintosh users, and OEM customers worldwide. ACARD is committed to providing the most reliable, compatible products, on-time delivery, and competitive price.



 

Comments 

 
# RE: ACARD ANS-9010 DDR2 SATA RAM-DriveJeddo 2010-03-12 16:11
Why bother with a hardware device that uses RAM modules at such low speeds? I mean, 500 MB/s may be fast for anything plugged into a SATA socket, but with modern consumer motherboards accomodating 16 GB RAM, take half of that for a RAMdrive and you'll be far better off in terms of raw performance. I measured approx. 2 GB/s on a 1 GB RAMdrive; system: Athlon 64 x2 6000+, 2 GB DDR2, XP SP3. And if 4 RAM sockets are not enough, I'm sure Tyan can meet your needs.
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# RE: RE: ACARD ANS-9010 DDR2 SATA RAM-DriveDennis 2010-06-12 19:18
There is a definite niche market for this product. If you have a 32-bit OS like WinXP (and are forced to use this), and run a memory hungry app like PhotoShop, you will need something to help you through the 4GB memory barrier. This handy drive will take care of all you paging file, virtual memory, and temporary drive storage needs. It will provide a strong boost in performance. I'm planning on getting one shortly for use in a corporate environment currently locked to Windows XP 32-bit.
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# Access speed is more important for SSDs.donjoe 2011-01-21 05:31
"the average linear read and write bandwidth [...] I personally consider this the single most important comparison of storage drive products"

You personally have no idea what you're talking about - SSDs are way too expensive per GB to be used mainly for long-term storage, so it makes no sense to talk about them as being anything other than active, system-and-applications or server drives, where the ACCESS SPEED is the key factor, not the linear I/O speed.
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# RE: Access speed is more important for SSDs.Olin Coles 2011-01-21 08:27
How do you take that quote to mean that I endorse SSDs for primary storage? Considering how many SSDs I've personally tested (over fifty), and how many more I've personally deployed on servers and workstations (thirty), I think you might want to reconsider your baseless claim.

What I'm saying here is that linear I/O is more important than the other factors, since SSDs will already inherently deliver faster access speed and transfer bandwidth. In my opinion, measuring input/output operations is more important than measuring speed or response time on an SSD.
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# RE: ACARD ANS-9010 DDR2 SATA RAM-Drivethrakkor 2011-12-28 11:15
I suspect that the main limitation here is the bridge chip. The RAM, even DDR2, has huge speed headroom (proven by mainboard chipsets); the SATA interface may or may not stand in the way of really high transfer speeds, but given that many modern days Flash based SSDs have competitive speeds, the remaining factor is the bridge chip, along with the design of the board. I really expect this kind of device, the RAM based SSD to offer over 300 megabytes / second read and write, easily, no RAID required.
Conclusion: SODIMM DDR3 for improved RAM density (16 slots would be really top), SATA3 interfacing (there aren't even may SATA3 HDDs) and an improved bridging design (even a small dedicated computer of its own would be necessary to handle the huge bandwidth). Since there are many 300 to 400 USD graphic monsters that are used just for games - what a stupid purpose - I don't even blink at spending, say, 500 USD on such a future DDR3 based SSD, and that's before any SODIMM would make its way into the slots. I don't even blink at that price. But, please, 150 MB/s ? Hah... More like 300 - 400, SATA3 or even SAS...
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# RAMhirnaxi karelia 2012-06-12 14:27
hi i want to know about how can i find ram; speed, pins, title, and eles.
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