No matter how fast your latest desktop computer rig is, you will always have to deal with the simple fact that loading your operating system is a job that will most certainly be influenced by the storage solution. Nowadays, you can improve the time required by the OS to boot by choosing to integrate a fast Solid State Drive. However, despite their reputation of being a fast storage solution, SSDs are quite prohibitive because of their pricing – still, there will always be technology enthusiasts out there that will do their best to get the utmost performance available. Apparently, this doesn't come from your everyday SSD on the market, but rather from a solution Fusion-IO released earlier this year, namely the ioDrive - PCIe Solid State.
It has already been said of the ioDrive from Fusion-IO that it is the fastest SSD solution on the market, but up until now, none of the usual review sites has been able to get a review sample. Fortunately, the guys over at TweakTown were lucky enough to score one such product, for obvious review-related purposes. As you can imagine, their excitement was way above normal levels, despite the fact that the review was supposed to be conducted under a specific NDA. All they could do was to prepare a system configuration for the test and benchmark the card-based SSD, without disclosing the results until the NDA was lifted.
As soon as they were prepared, they could put the ioDrive through its paces, running benchmarks and tests, and finding out what speed really means when you are talking storage, of course. Keep in mind that we are talking about a product that has been designed for the enterprise market and that, unlike traditional SSD solutions, requires a PCI Express connection slot. There is also another catch, which will stop you from fully taking advantage of the drive's performance, namely that you can't boot the ioDrive, a feature that is expected to become available in the future.
Also, you will have to consider that the cheapest model, which can provide 80GB of storage, goes for about US$2,995.00, while the higher, 320GB model sells for around US$14,400. But enough about specifications and pricing, as the thing of real importance is how fast the drive itself is. Well, basically, according to HD Tune read and write series of tests, the ioDrive can provide average speeds of 469.6MB/s and 345.2MB/s, respectively. Now, if that is not enough to impress, how about the random average read and write access test results from Everest Disk benchmark, where the aforementioned solution recorded speeds of 0.5 and 0.2, respectively.
To sum up, even if compared with Intel's ultra fast X25-M SSD, released earlier this year, the Fusion-IO solution proves to be a much faster solution.