SSD turns up on DDR3 module

Solid state drives have already been squeezed into 2.5-inch boxes and spread out over PCI-E circuit boards, but Viking Modular Solutions has just surprised us by sticking one on a standard 240-pin DDR3 module.

The memory maker's new SATADIMM takes its juice from the DIMM socket's 1.5V power supply, and then hooks up to the SATA bus via a standard SATA cable. The idea is that the SSD can be wedged into slim servers where space is at a premium.

The basic principle is that every server motherboard has memory sockets, but it may not have enough spare drive bays and SATA power cables for extra solid state storage space. Viking also points out that it will make the physical design of servers more flexible in the future, as server makers won't necessarily need to factor in the space needed for drive bays.

The only downer at the moment, of course, is you still need to trail a SATA cable from the memory module, but Viking reckons it's found a workaround for this in the future.

"A socket can be easily and cost-effectively designed to be used for either DDR3 DRAM modules or SATADIMM operation," says Viking, where the SATA signal is routed to the memory sockets. However, it will be up to motherboard makers to implement the company's socket design.

Explaining the purpose of the module, Viking's vice president of marketing Adrian Proctor said the SATADIMM "can breathe new life into maxed out systems with the high performance and low power consumption of SSD technology."

Designed specifically for the server market, the SATADIMM uses enterprise-grade multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash memory, and it also supports the TRIM command to ensure fast performance over long-term use.

Viking is currently sampling the SATADIMM module to select customers and plans to kick off mass production in the near future.

The company says the drive will be available in 50GB, 100GB and 200GB capacities.