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.
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