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Fusion-io ups SSD ante

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Solid state storage maker Fusion-io has upped the ante in the SSD game, launching the ioDrive Duo, a PCI-Express peripheral card with 640GB of capacity.

The ioDrive Duo is a kicker to the company's first generation of SSDs and doubles up the capacity by cramming two modules on the same board. The ioDrive Duo is rated at 186,000 read I/O operations per second (IOPS) on reads (using 4Kb packets) and a surprising 167,000 IOPS on writes (also using 4Kb packets). Fusion-io says the device has a latency of under 50 microseconds.

The SSD has multi-bit error detection and correction electronics and a feature called flashback that provides n+1 chip-level redundancy on the board, so if one flash chip craps out the board can heal around it. The board also has RAID 1 mirroring if customers are willing to sacrifice capacity for higher levels of data protection. The drive comes in two flavors: one that fits in a PCI-Express 1.0 x8 slot and another that plugs into a PCI-Express 2.0 x4 slot.

The SSD is made using Samsung flash memory and is being offered in 160 GB, 320 GB, and 640 GB capacities starting in April. It will be available in a 1.28 TB capacity sometime in the second half of 2009.

Specific pricing was not available for the ioDrive Duo, according to a Fusion-io spokesperson, because the company is redoing its price list tomorrow. What the company could say is that prices for existing SSDs are coming down and that the ioDrive Duo will sell for "well under $30 per usable gigabyte."

This week, Texas Memory Systems announced its own hefty SSD, a PCI-Express x4 card that holds 450 GB of capacity and lists for $18,000. Looks like Texas Memory is going to have to cut its prices by about 25 per cent or more. ®

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