DIY Solid State Drive uses SD Cards

February 20, 2007 // 7:46 p.m.

Tags: #25quot #adapter #ata #four #parallel #readyboost #sd #solid #ssd #state #vista #windows

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.