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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

ACARD ANS-9010 Conclusion

Benchmark Reviews begins each conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas we rate. The first is presentation, which takes product packaging into consideration to the extent that it provides adequate packing material and consumer information for an informed purchase. ACARD doesn't sell their RAM-Disk products to retail outlets, which explains the lack of colorful packaging. There isn't much in the way of specifications on the plain brown ANS-9010 RAM-Disk box, and product details inside the manual are scarce, so it appears that novice users will need to do some homework ahead of purchase.

Unlike other Solid State Drive products which get fitted into notebook computers, the ANS-9010 is actually going to be visible to the outside world. The overall appearance is nice, and graphic artists or video editors should be pleased with the low-tech information displayed on the front of the RAM-Disk. The mirror finish of the front bezel is a little different, but at the same time it will fit in with any other color scheme used on the computer system.

Most Solid State Drive products can withstand extreme shock without damage; not the ACARD ANS-9010. Because the chassis uses rather thin metal, you can't expect to get away with the same level or rough handling. Regardless, this isn't an SSD made for notebook computers, but instead focuses on desktop enclosures willing to accommodate the 5.25" frame.

Based on the collection of benchmark tests we conducted, the ACARD ANS-9010 RAM-Drive performs at the topmost portion of our linear bandwidth charts when in RAID-0 mode; which is the most likely scenario for this SSD. While write performance in RAID-0 configuration was actually slightly less than single mode, the maximum read speed of 397 MBps was fast enough to get over this small discrepancy. In single-SATA mode, the ANS-9010 nearly 177 MBps read-from speed and 150 MBps write-to, still placing it among the top SSD products we've tested.

Heading into April 2009, the ACARD ANS-9010 was found at several popular online retailers. Using the Benchmark Reviews price comparison tool, we located the ANS-9010 on sale for $231. Keeping in mind that DDR2 is sold separately, you can find excellent deals on OCZ Gold Series DDR2 800MHz RAM at NewEgg. Speed and latency will not matter since the ANS-9010 doesn't seem to offer a way to adjust settings, so look for the best value possible on high-capacity modules. The 4GB (2x2GB) memory kits we used sell for only $37.99 each at NewEgg. If you're serious about editing large files, you'll want to find a 8GB DDR2 kit (2x4GB) to achieve 32GB total capacity.

In conclusion, the ACARD RAM-Disk isn't what you would want for running Windows or any other Operating System; let one of the other SSD's we've tested do that chore. The reason you'll want the ANS-9010 is for it's blazing fast read speeds, reaching 510 MBps in RAID-0. Because of the sensitive battery-maintained data retention system, important data should not be stored on the ANS-9010, but instead this product makes the perfect scratch disk for video editing tasks or heavy compiling procedures. I can't recommend the ACARD ANS-9010 to casual users, because the package cost is too high to justify and the intended application is more specific. The professionals who understand that time is money will see the value, and that's exactly where this RAM-Disk makes the most sense.

Pros:

+ Impressive 510 MBps read and 157 write bandwidth in ATTO
+ Internal RAID-0 architecture offers huge read-from performance
+ Data backup available through Compact Flash (CF) card
+ Not particular to speed and latency of DDR2
+ Does not require special device driver (PnP device)
+ SSD capacity is only limited by DDR module density
+ Very low 0.08ms random access time
+ Offers standard (single) and RAID-0 configuration modes

Cons:

- Poor price to capacity ratio ($22 per GB)
- USB would have been a better backup interface
- SATA controller gets extremely warm
- Sensitive data retention system - not suitable for O/S
- Warranty service and technical support are difficult to obtain

Ratings:

  • Presentation: 7.25
  • Appearance: 9.00
  • Construction: 8.50
  • Functionality: 9.75
  • Value: 6.75

Final Score: 8.25 out of 10.

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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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