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Asus RoG RAIDR Express SSD specs leak

Asus RoG RAIDR Express SSD specs leak

Asus' upcoming RoG RAIDR Express board offers up to 240GB of high-speed storage by combining two SATA SSDs in a PCI Express-connected RAID 0 array.

Details of the upcoming PCI Express solid-state storage device from Asus, dubbed the Republic of Gamers (RoG) RAIDR, have leaked ahead of an official announcement from the company, following a tease of the product at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year.

Based on two SATA solid-state storage devices connected to a custom RAID controller running in striped - RAID 0 - mode, the device is aimed strictly at top-end gamers who are looking to shave load times to the absolute minimum possible. While Asus was keen to show off the design of the device at CES in January, it has yet to release formal specifications for the RAIDR - something an anonymous source has has now done for the company.

According to figures released to Swedish site SweClockers, the Asus ROG RAIDR is based around a PCI Express 2.0 x2 board featuring a pair of SandForce SF-2281 controllers connected to Toshbia 19nm multi-level cell (MLC) sync-NAND flash modules. Each set of modules provides half the storage capacity, with the two sections being joined into one by an on-board RAID controller. This operation is invisible to the operating system, which sees just a single AHCI storage device.

There are advantages and disadvantages to this approach. The key advantage is that the device should, in theory, just work, with no driver being required to make the OS aware of the device. It also supports the TRIM instruction set, something that is usually lost when setting up a RAID array of solid-state drives. The biggest disadvantage, however, is that the RAID settings cannot be tweaked: those who prefer availability over capacity cannot switch the drive into mirrored - RAID 1 - mode, for example.

The drive will be available in 120GB and 240GB capacities, the spec sheet claims, with the smaller version offering 756MB/s read and 775MB/s write speeds to the larger's 830MB/s and 810MB/s respectively. In short: it's a fast, fast drive, offering a claimed 100,000 read and write input output operations per second (IOPS.) The device is claimed to draw 16W under load and 7W while idle, and measures 157mm x 120mm and is 20mm thick - taking up a single slot.

The device will come bundled with a selection of software, including a RAM disk utility that allows a section of the system's memory to be placed aside as high-performance file cache - boosting the drive's perceived throughput still further. The device will also come with Asus' RoG HybriDisk, which allows the SSD to act as cache for a larger-capacity spinning-rust storage device. The device can also be configured in such a way to perform write-intensive tasks only on the mechanical drive, to prolong the lifespan of the RAIDR board.

Asus is expected to formally launch the RAIDR in May, with pricing yet to be confirmed - but expect to shell out a pretty penny if you're planning on picking one up.

15 Comments

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Spreadie 19th April 2013, 11:23 Quote
It'll be interesting to see the pricing for this.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
The device will also come with Asus' RoG HybriDisk, which allows the SSD to act as cache for a larger-capacity spinning-rust storage device
Loving the comment, but Hybridisk seems at odds with the idea of an uber-fast SSD RAID array, don't you think?
Gareth Halfacree 19th April 2013, 11:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spreadie
Loving the comment, but Hybridisk seems at odds with the idea of an uber-fast SSD RAID array, don't you think?
Does it? I rather like the idea of having a single logical drive with 2TB of storage, 240GB of which loads at 830MB/s (and a few gig of which loads considerably faster from the RAM drive.) Means I wouldn't have to shuffle files to and from the SSD as I finish one game and start another...
Spreadie 19th April 2013, 11:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Does it? I rather like the idea of having a single logical drive with 2TB of storage, 240GB of which loads at 830MB/s (and a few gig of which loads considerably faster from the RAM drive.) Means I wouldn't have to shuffle files to and from the SSD as I finish one game and start another...
This RAIDR SSD is marketed to the gamer from a performance standpoint, but HDD caching is traditionally a cost saving measure though, isn't it? Similar to Intel's Smart Response tech - allowing the user the benefit of mass storage that's quicker than a standard HDD, but without the very high cost of a large SSD.

That's why it seems odd to push Hybridisk as a feature.
Gareth Halfacree 19th April 2013, 11:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spreadie
This RAIDR SSD is marketed to the gamer from a performance standpoint, but HDD caching is traditionally a cost saving measure though, isn't it? Similar to Intel's Smart Response tech - allowing the user the benefit of mass storage that's quicker than a standard HDD, but without the very high cost of a large SSD. That's why it seems odd to push Hybridisk as a feature.
But it's a cost-saving feature here, too: a 2TB PCIe SSD is going to cost vastly more than the 240GB RAIDR Express and a 2TB ferrous-oxide drive. If you need 2TB of high-speed storage but can't afford a 2TB PCIe SSD, Asus is offering the RAIDR with HybriDisk. Buyers don't have to use it: those who prefer to have a separate logical drive, or who only need 240GB of storage in total, can shuffle their files betwix the two by hand.

It's not the focus of Asus' marketing push for the RAIDR, just an additional feature that will help buyers swallow the pricetag.
andrew8200m 19th April 2013, 11:53 Quote
OCZ RevoDrive 3..

Same controllers, different NAND, slower speeds on paper, likely similar performance.

Late to the show mucn :/
Gareth Halfacree 19th April 2013, 11:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew8200m
OCZ RevoDrive 3..
The big difference between the RAIDR and the RevoDrive family is in support: the RevoDrive 3 requires a special driver be loaded, while the RAIDR shows up as a standard AHCI device. You also used to be unable to use the RevoDrive as a Windows 7 x64 boot device, as the driver wasn't WHQL signed - although I don't know if that's changed.

Plus, they're aimed at two very different markets: the RevoDrive is a workstation card, and priced accordingly, whereas the RAIDR is an enthusiast card - meaning that, while it'll be expensive, it should be priced lower than the RevoDrive.
andrew8200m 19th April 2013, 12:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
The big difference between the RAIDR and the RevoDrive family is in support: the RevoDrive 3 requires a special driver be loaded, while the RAIDR shows up as a standard AHCI device. You also used to be unable to use the RevoDrive as a Windows 7 x64 boot device, as the driver wasn't WHQL signed - although I don't know if that's changed.

Plus, they're aimed at two very different markets: the RevoDrive is a workstation card, and priced accordingly, whereas the RAIDR is an enthusiast card - meaning that, while it'll be expensive, it should be priced lower than the RevoDrive.


RevoDrive yes, revodrive3 can be used in win7 and win8 as a boot device :) You require the latest raid driver for the drive to be downloaded from OCZ but everything does indeed work very smoothly.

With that in mind, the fact the revo is 10-15% faster in terms of read/write performance and provided 120,000IOPs leaves the Asus unit a little redundant.

Consider a Toshiba 19nm based drive on the 2281 controller and then RAID that said drive.. you get performance on SATA of app 1100/1000 read/write with 130-150k IOPs.


All testing will be carried on by Asus and OCZ on an 8GB LBA to ensure the maximum performance for the IOPs however which we both know is not large enough for a treue reflection of performance as an OS is bigger than 8GB in its self.


OCZ have come along way since those issues, its just a shame OCZ have had a wake up call leading to increased prices to maintain channel integrity and margins and ultimately a lack of stock on certain SKUs as a result.


Its good to see ASUS have done this, couple this with an ARES, an Rampage extreme, or Maximus Extreme, and the Pheobus and you have yourself the a very 1 manufacturer based system that admitedly will look very cool. Its just a shame that the other product mentioned is the faster product and just as able now.

I wont comment on reliability however.... read that as you will :p
Baz 19th April 2013, 12:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew8200m
OCZ RevoDrive 3..

Same controllers, different NAND, slower speeds on paper, likely similar performance.

Late to the show much :/

I agree, seems a very untimely decision; the SandForce 2281 controller is almost 2 years old now!

Also, I'm damned sure you could use the Revodrive to boot windows, because I did it in my review. Loading the RAID driver added a helpful 10 seconds to boot times. Speedy.
TheStockBroker 19th April 2013, 12:27 Quote
Oh Asus.

Like EVGA, I love their hardware. Between the two companies, I favour these above all else, and buy where possible... But their software always leaves so much to be desired... Their firmware is always top-notch, and the hardware performs excellently. But I couldn't commit to buying this before seeing what (probably) terrible implementation of desktop software is required to get it running as suggesting in the article.

Also, why such small sizes? I think most enthusiasts are now looking at the 2xxGB SSD's as the bare minimum for size.

If I see a 480GB version, that doesn't share the Revodrive issues, is fully Win8 certified and can confirm the desktop software isn't shockingly bad... Then I'd certainly give it a shot. God knows I NEED MOAR SPEED
damien c 19th April 2013, 13:47 Quote
I am tempted with one of these but the capacity is going to be to small for my next ssd.
r3loaded 19th April 2013, 19:13 Quote
It's gonna be expensive for sure - probably not worth it over a Samsung 840 Pro unless you need for performance for workstation applications.
Jimbob 19th April 2013, 21:44 Quote
Is it really worth while in those capacities? The sort of person that would buy this will mostly have a s-ata 3 Raid capable mobo anyway, buy couple of 120GB drives and job done. If this was in 512GB onwards then it could be much more worthwhile.
Gradius 19th April 2013, 21:45 Quote
750MB? Pretty slow, I already do 2GB/s here everyday.
ziza 22nd April 2013, 15:08 Quote
I like the idea of having an extra cache with Asus' RoG HybriDisk, however I expect that is is not a real cache since the read/write rates will be sower than traditional cache systems.
I hope that use this cache for management purposes in the SSD rather than for a system cache.
Ahadihunter1 9th January 2014, 03:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gradius
750MB? Pretty slow, I already do 2GB/s here everyday.

WHAT THE FLIP!!?? What jokes are you playing? Samsung's pro 840 series are maxed at 1GB per second.
And that's the maximum in the market. Did you overclock your Drive or something?
Or are you using a custom made crystal quartz self made modified indilinx chip in your basement?? XDDD
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