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Test notes
Today we'll be comparing the i-RAM's performance with that of a handful of the fastest Serial ATA drives on the market and a couple of SATA RAID configurations ripped from our recent chipset Serial ATA RAID comparison. Even against a four-drive RAID 0 array, we expect the i-RAM to clean up. However, it will be interesting to see by how much.

We'll be subjecting the i-RAM to our standard gauntlet of storage tests, but we've had to cut a few apps to accommodate the i-RAM's capacity constraints. Even packed with 4GB of memory, the i-RAM doesn't offer enough storage to complete the WorldBench suite or File Copy Test's partition-to-partition file copy test. The i-RAM's limited capacity also impacts our iPEAK multitasking tests, as we'll explain further in a moment.

Our testing methods
All tests were run three times, and their results were averaged, using the following test systems.

Processor Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.4GHz
System bus800MHz (200MHz quad-pumped)
Motherboard Asus P5WD2 Premium
Bios revision0422
North bridgeIntel 955X MCH
South bridgeIntel ICH7R
Chipset driversChipset
Memory size1GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory typeMicron DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz
CAS latency (CL)3
RAS to CAS delay (tRCD)3
RAS precharge (tRP)3
Cycle time (tRAS)8
Audio codecALC882D
Graphics Radeon X700 Pro 256MB with CATALYST 5.7 drivers
Hard drives Maxtor DiamondMax 10 300GB SATA
Western Digital Caviar SE16 250GB SATA
Western Digital Raptor WD740GD 74GB SATA
Hitachi 7K500 500GB SATA
Western Digital Caviar RE2 400GB SATA
Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 160GB SATA
Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 500GB SATA
Gigabyte i-RAM 4GB SATA
OS Windows XP Professional
OS updatesService Pack 2

We packed our i-RAM with four 1GB Value Series DDR400 modules from OCZ. The DIMMs in question are among the least expensive 1GB modules around, making them perfect for the i-RAM.

Our test system was powered by OCZ PowerStream power supply units. The PowerStream was one of our Editor's Choice winners in our last PSU round-up.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

The test systems' Windows desktop was set at 1280x1024 in 32-bit color at an 85Hz screen refresh rate. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled for all tests.

All the tests and methods we employed are publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.