August 12, 2008 | 12:22

Tags: #gizmodo #raid #sdhc #ssd

Companies: #photofast

If you're looking to get in on the SSD market, but are looking for something a little more interesting than a drop-in drive replacement, how about a one-box SSD RAID system?

The PhotoFast CR-9000 device, spotted on Japanese website Impress by Gizmodo is a SATA-connected 2.5” device which takes up to SDHC flash memory cards and presents them to the host PC as a single logical drive.

Available in Japan at a price of ¥9,980 (about £48) the unit has a low entry cost so long as you've got a bunch of matching SDHC cards already lying around. While the performance can't match a custom-built drive, Impress were able to get a pretty impressive 111.4MB/s read and 55.2MB/s write when combining the device with six Transcend 8GB Class 6 SDHC cards.

Perhaps most interestingly is the lack of backwards compatibility on the drive itself – the device supports SDHC cards of 4GB or higher only, without the capability to utilise smaller SD cards that one would expect of an SDHC-aware device. I'm afraid that you'll have to find another use for those hundreds of 512MB and 1GB cards that seem to accumulate every time you buy a new gadget.

With the cost of real SSD drives dropping by the day – and the performance ever rising – I can't help but feel that this gadget serves more purpose as a proof-of-concept than a serious upgrade. I'm especially worried as to the idea of a RAID 0 array spanning six SDHC cards, with the knowledge that it only takes a single card's death to send all my precious data to the graveyard.

Can you think of a use for the CR-9000, or is it destined to be nothing more than a novelty for people with more SDHC cards than they know what to do with? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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