Asus reveals RAIDR Express 240GB PCIe solid state drive

By on July 29, 2013, 12:15 PM
storage, asus, ssd, pcie, flash storage, raidr express 240gb pcie, raid0

Another day, another new entrant into the emerging solid state drive market. Hardware maker Asus is throwing their name into the mix with a 240GB solid state drive aimed at the desktop market. I say desktop because their solution utilizes the PCI Express 2.0 x2 interface rather than SATA.

Traditional SATA-based solid state drives have pretty much maxed out the available bandwidth over that interface but PCI Express affords much faster speeds. Coming in under the Republic of Gamers banner, the RAIDR Express 240GB card utilizes two SandForce controllers linked to 19-nanometer Toshiba MLC NAND.

As you might have guessed, two controllers on one card can only mean one thing – RAID. Asus elected to configure a RAID0 array for maximum speed and that’s exactly what you’ll get. We are told the card offers peak sequential read speeds of 830MB/sec and peak write speeds of 810MB/sec. 4K random read and write speeds are clocked at up to 100,000 IOPS.

Unlike some other PCI Express SSD solutions already on the market, Asus made sure to implement TRIM support so performance over the long haul shouldn’t be a concern. What’s more, the card comes with a bit of versatility built in thanks to a physical DuoMode. This switch allows the SSD to work seamlessly with BIOS-driven boards as well as newer UEFI motherboards. Copies of RAMDisk and ROG HybridDisk are also included in the retail package should you want to use the drive as a RAMdisk or combine it with a traditional HDD as a caching device.

Pricing and availability wasn’t mentioned in the press release. If Asus can price the card competitively, they could have a winner on their hands given the solid feature list and TRIM support.




User Comments: 22

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Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I hope the price is right on this one, if it is, I'll pre-order this.

fimbles fimbles said:

Been looking at revodrives on ebay for a few weeks now since im limited to sata 2, This looks much much nicer however!

Critica1Hit said:

This looks interesting. Yeah price will be the determining factor. I may get one if the price is right... (you reading Asus?).

1 person liked this |
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Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

The price for the 240GB model will be ca $440

Way too expensive IMO, much cheaper to run your own RAID0 on normal SATA3 SSD's

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

How do they offer TRIM support? Win 7 and Win 8 don't do TRIM over PCIe... the hardware may support it but you'd need Linux or Unix or something else to use it.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Why are the speeds so slow? The latest RevoDrive has 1000MB/s+, while also using RAID.

http://ocz.com/consumer/revodrive-3-x2-pcie-ssd

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Why are the speeds so slow? The latest RevoDrive has 1000MB/s+, while also using RAID.

http://ocz.com/consumer/revodrive-3-x2-pcie-ssd

While thats a good question; wouldn't the price also be comparable, if the performance compared to RevoDrive?

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

$640 on Newegg. Double bandwidth at PCIe 2.0 x4?

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

How do they offer TRIM support? Win 7 and Win 8 don't do TRIM over PCIe... the hardware may support it but you'd need Linux or Unix or something else to use it.

Been reading more into this. The drive appears as a single device on AHCI and the RAID is essentially transparent. I don't believe this gets around the issue with Windows, PCIe and TRIM as Windows won't pass TRIM across a PCIe bus.

See this post for details:

[link]

Note. me&er says "TRIM for your Revo x 2 is NOT currently passed through Driver filtering at the SCSI/ATA or PCIe layering."

So the Asus drive covers the SCSI issue but it would be blocked on the PCIe layering issue. I.e. TRIM would be filtered out by the PCIe layer in Windows is my understanding.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Been reading more into this. The drive appears as a single device on AHCI and the RAID is essentially transparent. I don't believe this gets around the issue with Windows, PCIe and TRIM as Windows won't pass TRIM across a PCIe bus.
Are you suggesting there is not a PCIe SATA add-in card that supports TRIM for SSD drives?

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

Are you suggesting there is not a PCIe SATA add-in card that supports TRIM for SSD drives?

I'm investigating atm. Maybe the PCIe layer wasn't the problem. OCZ were using SCSI miniport and bridging to SATA which was losing the TRIM command. This may be why Asus's solution works and previous ones don't. Confirming with Asus now if they respond to me

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Why are the speeds so slow? The latest RevoDrive has 1000MB/s+, while also using RAID.

http://ocz.com/consumer/revodrive-3-x2-pcie-ssd

Apart from what the figures say, do you think you'll actually notice a difference in performance? I'm more interested in it's price & warranty than performance figures.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

Apart from what the figures say, do you think you'll actually notice a difference in performance? I'm more interested in it's price & warranty than performance figures.

Depends on what you do with your storage of course. In databases, IOPs are probably more valuable. In large sequential media file processing (stuff that isn't too CPU intensive) like perhaps 4K video, I'm sure there is a significant improvement there.

If you are just talking game load times, you probably won't see much improvement.

Personally, I'd go 2x 256GB SATA III (samsung 840 pros probably) drives in RAID-0. The price should come close to if not under a single 512GB and you get almost double the perf. Intel SATA 3 controllers are reasonably stable now too and we know TRIM is supported on new boards. All bases covered.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Depends on what you do with your storage of course. In databases, IOPs are probably more valuable. In large sequential media file processing (stuff that isn't too CPU intensive) like perhaps 4K video, I'm sure there is a significant improvement there.

If you are just talking game load times, you probably won't see much improvement.

Personally, I'd go 2x 256GB SATA III (samsung 840 pros probably) drives in RAID-0. The price should come close to if not under a single 512GB and you get almost double the perf. Intel SATA 3 controllers are reasonably stable now too and we know TRIM is supported on new boards. All bases covered.

Yeah but the Asus drive is marketed under their ROG gaming brand which can be misleading. It's doubtful it's of much benefit to the gamer, even RAID 0 SATA 3 drives are overkill. A single SSD is probably makes the most snse and the best value for money.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

This is where my hatred of ASUS escalates... Even a half-baked product on a dual Sand Force would show a way better speed via PCI Express 2.0. This one is artificially limited, so they can charge way more for a version that has no limit set in it. Damn you, ASUS!

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Well, it's pretty obvious this thing is targeted and pseudo-gamers. Isn't that the initial target market of the ROG brand?

Much like those guys with tri-SLI 780's running on a 60hz 1080p screen.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Much like those guys with tri-SLI 780's running on a 60hz 1080p screen.
But with tri-SLI, would you have an extra card slot for this SSD card?

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Of course! These guys buy $400 mobos with 4+ PCIe slots, spaced appropriately!

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Of course! These guys buy $400 mobos with 4+ PCIe slots, spaced appropriately!

LOL, ahhh those guys.

They probably already have the RevoDrive installed. But hey! If they have room for one more, who knows what they will buy next.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

A single SSD is probably makes the most snse and the best value for money.

Depends on what amount of storage you want. A single TB SSD is MUCH more expensive than 2x 512GB drives. 2x256GB drives are usually below a single 512GB drive.

There are a few pros to RAID-0 on SSDs. In RAID-0, you are effectively adding the write lives of the 2 drives as you are halving the data written to each drive for each file. You are almost doubling IOPs, sequential reads, writes. You are also doubling the risk from freak complete drive failure which is the only real risk from what I've seen.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Depends on what amount of storage you want. A single TB SSD is MUCH more expensive than 2x 512GB drives. 2x256GB drives are usually below a single 512GB drive.

There are a few pros to RAID-0 on SSDs. In RAID-0, you are effectively adding the write lives of the 2 drives as you are halving the data written to each drive for each file. You are almost doubling IOPs, sequential reads, writes. You are also doubling the risk from freak complete drive failure which is the only real risk from what I've seen.

You're totally correct and I agree but I was looking at this from a gaming standpoint of view seeing that this is a ROG part which are usually targeted at gamers. It seems the goalposts have shifted as far as ROG parts go.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

Yeah not much practical increase for gamers. Level load times down a fraction I guess...

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