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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 Details

ACARD ships the ANS-9010 DDR2 SATA RAM-Drive with no memory modules installed. Since the DDR2 market is at an all-time low, it seems like now would be the ideal time for ACARD to purchase a large bulk quantity of high-density DDR2 RAM and begin selling these RAM-Disks as complete kits. Alas, this is not the case, and you'll need to shop for your own memory modules.

For our testing, we used four kits of OCZ Gold Series PC2-6400 DDR2 800MHz CL5-5-5. Each module offers 2GB of storage density, and although OCZ suggests 1.9V experienced no problems during our performance testing. Additionally, ACARD offer ongoing firmware updates. These updates are available for free from the ACARD website, and the unit we received was updated by several versions from 3133_101 to 3142_109.

ACARD_ANS-9010_RAM-Drive_Complete.jpg

There were a few issues with the DIMM sockets on the ANS-9010; primarily relating to insertion force. The DIMM sockets used require greater than customary insertion force to install each module, and anything less will cause strange behavior from the RAM-Disk. During the initialization process, the drive was visible to Windows but for some reason the RAM-Disk needed to have each memory module reseated before it would finally initialize and format as a disk should.

ACARD_ANS-9010_RAM-Drive_Side.jpg

Based on the image below, the eight DIMM sockets appear to offer dual-channel functionality. The manufacturer material doesn't offer much insight or detail, but the color coding is an obvious clue. During our performance tests, Benchmark Reviews used configurations with the inner-two DIMM sockets (yellow) populated with DDR2, and then tested with four- and eight-module configurations.

The only source of heat on the ANS-9010 was the controller chip located beneath a small black heatsink. While it doesn't make since to actively cool the chip with such lower electrical current drawn from the SATA power connection, the temperatures I discovered were enough to warrant a heatsink more than twice the size.

ACARD_ANS-9010_RAM-Drive_Top.jpg

Because the ACARD ANS-9010 uses DRAM to store data, this DDR2 SATA RAM-Drive is also technically a Solid State Drive. Although it ran just like you would expect a storage drive to do, the differences between the ANS-9010 and some of the other SSD products we've tested come down to performance and price. Read on to find out if that turns out to be a good thing or not.



 

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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