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Monday, December 12, 2005
Gigabyte Updates the i-RAM

Japanese Gigabyte added a couple of features in its i-RAM memory module and plans to release the device in the Japanese market by the end of the month for about 20,000 Yen (US $165).

Named as Rev 1.2, the new i-RAM just features a led on the main board that shows whether there is any battery power left, as well as a power led.

Giga-byte's iRam is a PC add-in card with four DDR DRAMs (double data rate dynamic RAM memory slots) that's designed to be used as a PC drive. Because the iRam uses DRAM rather than a hard-disk to store information, data can be retrieved from the card up to 60 times faster than is possible with a hard drive, according to Gigabyte.

The iRam holds up to 8G bytes of DRAM in four memory slots. The card fits into a standard PCI slot and uses a SATA (150MB/sec) connection for data transfer.

Unlike DRAM-based main memory, the iRam card doesn't lose data when the PC is switched off. As long as the PC is plugged into a socket, a very small amount of current continues to run through some parts of the system, including the PCI slots. This provides enough power to make sure that no data is lost.

If the PC is unplugged, the iRam has an on-board battery for emergency power that can last up to 12 hours.

The iRam was originally designed for video and editing applications where users require fast access to very large files, but the company soon realized that the iRam had other potential applications.

According to Gigabyte, the iRAM card can be also accelerate the boot-up of their Windows-based PCs, by installing Windows on the iRam and use that as the drive to start the system more quickly. When the card is used in this way, starting Windows XP takes a matter of seconds, rather than a minute or more, the company claims.

The iRam can also be used by gamers, who want to reduce the time required to access stored data.

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