Viking Modular has unveiled a novel approach to adding a solid state storage boost to a computer or server. Instead of being bound by the familiar 2.5 or 3.5-inch form factor, the company has introduced SATADIMM – storage on a memory module. It's shaped like system RAM and slides into DDR3 slots on the motherboard but connecting up its onboard SATA interface results in up to 200GB Enterprise Class Solid State Drive storage being made available. Although likely to find its way into business systems and data center servers in the immediate future, system designers may well find the module useful for creating even thinner mobile devices, such as tablet computers.
The SATADIMM storage solution sees an Enterprise Class Solid State Drive placed on a system memory module. In fact the drive comes in an industry-standard JEDEC 240-pin DDR3 DIMM form factor which will fit into any spare memory slots on a mainboard to provide a novel storage boost. The power needs of the drive are met by the 1.5V supply to the slot and in order to take advantage of the SATADIMM solution, the module will need to be connected up to a SATA II interface upon insertion.
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Given our performance hungry computing appetites, finding a spare memory slot in a desktop PC could well prove a fruitless exercise but enterprise and server boards present different landscapes and it's to these environments that the SATADIMM will likely find a suitable home. However, the form factor does appear to lend itself to new slim system design, offering the potential of cable-free storage where the drive can be routed directly to the socket or see the socket itself become a hybrid slot – taking either memory or storage.
The 5.25 x 0.305 x 1.003-inch (133.35 x 7.75 x 25.5mm) SATADIMM solution takes up a fraction of the space needed to house a more familiar 2.5-inch drive solution, said to offer sustained read/write speeds of 260MB/s and sequential and random performance of 30,000 I/O operations per second. It's compatible with the main operating systems, has built-in AES-128 encryption, SSD-specific SMART command support and TRIM support.
Viking's Adrian Proctor said: "It can breathe new life into maxed out systems with the high performance and low power consumption of SSD technology. Furthermore, it opens up the possibility for new design, no longer constrained by standard hard drive space requirements."
The SATADIMM is currently being offered in 50GB, 100GB or 200GB capacities but the solution is only being made available direct to system manufacturers and designers.