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From the Dept of “That is so cool!”

Posted by Bob Warfield on March 10, 2009

Hey, I’m a geek.  I’ll admit it.  An alpha geek, mind you.  So I love the latest geek gadget as much as the next guy.  Consider a RAID array to replace your hard disk that is so powerful you can load and open every single MS Office application in half a second.  Whoa!  I gotta get me some of that!

Now the bad news, it’s just a crazy marketing video.  I suppose if you had the bucks and the IT chops you could build your own.  I prefer to look at it as something that’s coming. 

The operative technology here is the SSD, or solid state disk.  They can’t hold as much data as a regular hard disk, but they are sooooo much faster.  They used so many of them (24) to hold enough data and to make them way faster.  In the video, they quote a top speed of 2 GB/sec from their RAID array using 256GB SSD’s which have a native 220 MB/sec capacity.  Let’s play with the numbers a bit.  Suppose I’m happy to load all of MS Office in 2 seconds (I think it may well take minutes on my laptop or as much as a minute on my PC) instead of 0.5.  That’s 4x slower, so we take away 1/4 of the drives.  Now we’re looking at 6 SSD’s instead of 24.  That would give us a capacity of 1.5 TB and a very fast array indeed.  How about 4 drives?  Still able to load MS Office in circa 3-4 seconds and now you’re looking at 1 TB of storage.  What’s that cost?  Something on the order of $1500 – $2000 when I checked.

That’s today.  Now let’s apply the magic of Moore’s Law, and assume we can halve the cost of that system every 2 years.  In 2 years it’s $750-1000.  2 more years and its $350 – 500. 

So get ready, radical performance improvements for your computer may once again be possible.  Here’s one the multicore crisis doesn’t seem to have screwed up.  Cool beans!

Thanks to Gizmodo for the entertaining video.

One Response to “From the Dept of “That is so cool!””

  1. Wow, we are on the same brainwave length. I recently started getting the itch for a SSD. I found a brand called Titan that sells a 256G SSD for a street price of $500. If you track it closely on eBay, some have won them for as little as $320. These SSD use a controller that is kinda slow, but the Titan folks have figured out how to use 2 controllers in each drive to effectively double the speed in a RAID like configuration. In comparison tests, the read times are as fast as the Intel and Samsung SSDs which currently lead the pack.

    So you see, the price target you mention is almost upon us. OK, you were talking about 1 T, but hey 256G is a start. I’ll let you know what I score one for. I will not give up.

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