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DIY Solid State Drive uses SD Cards

DIY Solid State Drive uses SD Cards

Four SD cards fit into this Solid State Hard Drive.

Century has developed a 2.5” secure digital (SD) to Parallel ATA SSD adapter, and whilst this is a great initiative for Windows Vista’s ReadyBoost , as a standalone drive there are a few drawbacks.

Namely the device itself costs $258 WITHOUT memory cards. And you can’t just throw any old SD cards in: they must have at least 20MB/s read/write (equivalent to 133X speed rating). These are usually sold with at hefty premium. Why this is the case isn't stated, since ReadyBoost for Windows Vista needs only memory capable of 3.5MB/s for 4KB random reads and 2.5MB/s for 512KB random writes.

The SD cards also have to be installed in pairs, so on top of the $270 adapter purchase, you have to shell out $160 ($80/£45 each) on just 4GB of memory.

Plus the max size per slot supported is only 2GB beacuse SDHC is required for high capacity drives and that isn't compatible with a standard SD pin out. Four slots gives you a maximum of 8GB in all, which means you can’t install Vista on it, but XP will be fine with a few programs. However 20MB/s isn’t hugely fast compared to 55MB/s sustained from a standard 7200RPM harddisk, which you can buy for at a fraction of the price and offers oodles more in capacity.

To hammer the last nail in the coffin, consider that SanDisk are introducing a 32GB SSD drive with a sustained read rate of 65MB/s, more than three times that of the build it yourself version and both retail for around the same price (if you purchase 4x2GB 133X SD cards).

ReadyBoost runs from a minimum of 64MB all the way up to 4GB, and can definately help with boot times for Windows Vista due to the large I/O increase flash drives have offer over hard drives. What kind of advantage this drive has over a USB thumbstick, in terms of performance is still yet to be established though.

So it's a nice idea, poorly executed, but the price could drop by the time most people invest in Vista. Although, by then SSD drives should have a wider availability as well as holding the more competitive price:performance ratio.

26 Comments

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DougEdey 20th February 2007, 21:00 Quote
Pointless really. Isn't RAMDISK cheaper?
[1N0V471V] 20th February 2007, 21:06 Quote
Quote:
So it's a nice idea, poorly executed, but the price could drop by the time Vista arrives.
Maybe I'm reading that wrong but it doesn't quite seem right...
Firehed 20th February 2007, 21:16 Quote
Hm, knock about $200 off the price and they might have something. Maybe.
Tyinsar 20th February 2007, 21:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Article
Century has developed a 2.5” secure digital (SD) to Parallel Port SSD adapter,...
to me "Parallel Port" is the old printer port. Do you mean that or IDE port?

This reminds me of the Matrox triplHead2Go - Nice idea but the list of compatible parts is too limited and the price for the adapter itself is Way too High.
Kipman725 20th February 2007, 23:11 Quote
I already have a CF to ide adaptor that I got from ebay for £2 and use to run one of my dos boxes which been a p200 insta boots (bios flashes 1s then im at dos prompt). This is posible becuse CF cards don't need conversion circuitry to comunicate over IDE and if givven a MBR show as a standard HD. This seems like a waste of money when cf cards would be so much cheaper to use (although you would still be better off with more ram if its performance and not an os drive you want).
Glider 20th February 2007, 23:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyinsar
to me "Parallel Port" is the old printer port. Do you mean that or IDE port?
What most people call IDE is actually PATA...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AT_Attachment
MixWizard 20th February 2007, 23:21 Quote
if it provided alot more space for that price then maybe i'd be intrested
Almightyrastus 20th February 2007, 23:25 Quote
wouldn't one of the cheap compact flash to IDE adaptors such as: http://www.schrotthal.de/cf_ide_scsi/cf_ide_int_small--thumb.jpg work just as well if not better due to the ide structure of CF cards and be a fair bit cheaper?
Tyinsar 20th February 2007, 23:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glider
What most people call IDE is actually PATA...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AT_Attachment
Quote:
Originally Posted by Your linked article
With the market introduction of Serial ATA in 2003, the original ATA was retroactively renamed Parallel ATA (PATA).
But if you look up parallel port you get: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallel_port. Once upon a time external (zip) drives connected through that - I guess I'm just that old eh ;)
JazX101 21st February 2007, 00:04 Quote
Its an interesting idea, and bridges solid state technology with conventional storage tech. This is a good thing as it will make it easier for other companies to make better and more competitive products.
Anakha 21st February 2007, 00:06 Quote
Personally, I'm more interested in the "Hybrid" drives MS have shown on Channel9 (ReadyDrive), where the HDD has a few GB "Flash Cache". When reading from the drive, it's transparent wether the data is in the flash or on a platter, but (Of course) this makes data access for the cached information much faster.

So, for example, just before restart the data on the flash is arranged so the files needed for the next boot are all cached, and after the machine is booted the most recently used applications are loaded into the flash so the system can run faster. It's also interesting for laptops (Where they were showing this off), 'cause it means the HDD can really go to sleep, with 99% of the data being kept in the flash (Including writes), so all those little writes back to the HDD for the page file and the like don't require HDD spinup, thus giving a laptop a longer battery life. And, of course, on shutdown the cached data can be written back to the platters.

I think, however, it'll be really interesting when you have a 500Gb HDD with a 50Gb "Flash Cache". Then pretty much the entire OS can be cached ready in the fast flash memory, and applications and the like can stream videos and data from the platters as and when. It'd also make for a 75% silent HTPC, where the hard-drive is only spun up for content, and is sitting idle and spun down the rest of the time.
randosome 21st February 2007, 00:23 Quote
In laptops, it wouldn't make sense to keep spinning down the HDD unless you know you aren't going to use it for a long time, because it requires quite a lot of energy to get the drive up to full speed (and time as well)

However, i guess you could spin the drive slowly (like 3k rpm) to save energy, however, whatever happens HDD's are going to drain power out of laptops quite a lot

i also have to wonder if this SD drive is actually cheaper then an iRam drive, and it certainly ain't beating any records for speed

on the subject of cheap ram - What happened to AMD's Z-Ram :?
DXR_13KE 21st February 2007, 00:40 Quote
this wont fly very high.

but the CF to IDE converter looks very nice.....
bubsterboo 21st February 2007, 00:44 Quote
Agreed. CF to IDE is a better option then this.
Almightyrastus 21st February 2007, 10:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DXR_13KE
this wont fly very high.

but the CF to IDE converter looks very nice.....

I managed to pick one up for less than £5 including shipping, was planning on using it in a small media centre instead of a hard drive but might save it for when I upgrade to vista although at that price I may as well get more if I need them.
Tyr 21st February 2007, 15:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Almightyrastus
I managed to pick one up for less than £5 including shipping, was planning on using it in a small media centre instead of a hard drive but might save it for when I upgrade to vista although at that price I may as well get more if I need them.

Nice Linux media centre on a 16GB flash drive in a VIA box...
Almightyrastus 21st February 2007, 22:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyr
Nice Linux media centre on a 16GB flash drive in a VIA box...

yeah something like that, would like to do something with a passive cooled via board with the only moving part being the dvd drive, something completely silent in operation. Would be nice to run xp mce on it though simply because that is what i am used to.
speedfreek 22nd February 2007, 01:59 Quote
Too expensive to fly, the CF adapters would be nicer.
dire_wolf 22nd February 2007, 20:53 Quote
HMM due to the finite write cycles of an SD/CF card, wouldn't the cards die pretty quickly if you were using them as virtual memory?

I remember reading an article where someone tried it in XP with a CF-IDE adaptor and the Card died within 4 minutes.

Don't know if vista is less intensive on virtual memory?
crazydeep74 22nd February 2007, 21:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyinsar
But if you look up parallel port you get: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallel_port. Once upon a time external (zip) drives connected through that - I guess I'm just that old eh ;)
I still use external parallel ZIP drives :(
Tyinsar 22nd February 2007, 23:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazydeep74
I still use external parallel ZIP drives :(
What on Earth are you using them for?

Though, I had an internal IDE ZIP drive (for old backups - migrated from an older computer) up until about 18 months ago - then all of a sudden the computer wouldn't boot until I unplugged the drive. I've never missed it.
Almightyrastus 23rd February 2007, 00:44 Quote
eeek at the thought of how long things will take to read and write on that floppy adaptor
Tyinsar 23rd February 2007, 00:54 Quote
Quote:
Wow, up to 128MB !!!!! :) You've got to give them points for originality - but for practicality it almost equals the (now old news) USB BBQ (link)
randosome 23rd February 2007, 01:51 Quote
Quote:
beacause people have floppy drives these days ... :|
Zayfod 23rd February 2007, 14:20 Quote
Quote:
Of course when those things first appeared about six years ago when SmartMedia cards appeared the USB mass-storage drivers weren't quite so reliable, and a lot of the card readers needed separate drivers to work, of course according to the customer review so did this thing so it's obvious that the company hadn't thought things through.

On the actual topic of the thread, ooh man that things is expensive, nice idea, bad execution.
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