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ioXtreme from Fusion-io

by on August 14, 2009
 

fusionio cardThe new 80 GB ioXtreme from Fusion-io was recently displayed at SIGGRAPH 2009 in New Orleans, LA. The ioXtreme is a solid-state drive (SSD) that fits into a x4 PCI Express slot. The beauty of the using the PCI Express slot is that you can really obtain great performance. Fusion-io is claiming that their drive can achieve a write bandwidth of 500 MB/s and a read bandwidth of 280 MB/s.  The best SSD for a performance comparison is the 64 GB Intel X-25E. The Intel SSD achieves a write bandwidth of 170 MB/s and a read bandwidth of 250 MB/s. The price for the X-25E is currently running about $700. The ioXtreme is favorably priced at $895.

The ioXtreme is meant for home gaming systems, which means there are some limits to the drive. The ioXtreme is limited to 64-bit Windows operating systems. That means a home user can only use 64-bit Windows XP or Vista. (If you are using 64-bit Windows XP for gaming, you need to have your head examined.)

Another limitation is that you can only RAID two of the drives together. This is a limit that is enforced by the driver. It is meant to keep people from putting several of these drives together to compete with the enterprise offerings from Fusion-io. The ioDrive and the ioDriveDuo are their enterprise offerings. These drives offer higher performance, support 64-bit Linux, and have a 3 year warranty. Meanwhile the ioXtreme comes with a 1 year warranty.

There are internal differences as well between the ioXtreme and their enterprise offerings. While it is unlikely that you will lose a chip on the ioXtreme, should that occur, you will lose your data. On the enterprise side, the ioDrives have more memory chips than needed.  If a memory chip fails internally on the ioDrives, they have hardware that will detect the failure, and use one of the spare chips instead. Fusion-io claims that the ioDrives have a lifespan of 16 years, while the ioXtreme will have a shorter lifespan. For all its  increased performance, engineering, and warranty, the enterprise ioDrives comes with an increased price that starts at $3,600 for the 80GB model.

Update 9/17/09: I was recently contact by FusionIO requesting a correction on some of the data in this article.

  • Read Bandwidth    697 MB/s (64 KB packets)
  • Write Bandwidth      288 MB/s (64 KB packets)

And a short statement:

Though gamers will see incredible performance improvements using the ioXtreme, the market that will likely find the device most useful are content creators, digital media artists and other workstation users. Imagine working on complex 3-D graphics, manipulating massive files, ripping multiple DVDs and installing a new application — all simultaneously.