Asus Launches Solid-State Drive Aimed at Gamers

The Republic of Gamers is growing. The popular product line from Asus, aimed at gamers and enthusiasts, first appeared on a couple of speciality motherboards a few years ago, and has since encompassed expensive sound cards, video cards, laptops and mice, among other things. Most recently, Asus has added a solid-state drive “certified” with the ROG mark – the cleverly-named RAIDR Express, which promises fast data access for the price of a PCI Express slot instead of a SATA port on your motherboard.

Yes, you read that right. Take a look at the official promo video:

The device is basically two 120GB SSDs on a card, permanently set up in a RAID0 array for a capacity of 240GB. With the increased headroom of the PCIe 2.0 x2 interface, Asus says the RAIDR Express can deliver 830 and 810MB/s of sequential read and write speeds, respectively, and 100,000 4K random read/write IOPS (input output operations per second). In comparison, most normal SATA SSDs top out with 500MB/s sequential transfer speeds and around 72,000 random read IOPS.


Big, colourful shroudBig, colourful shroud


Though you could just use the RAIDR as a boot drive, Asus also provides HybriDisk software, which basically turns the RAIDR Express into a cache for your traditional hard drive. In turn, RAMDisk and SSD TweakIt software can turn your system's excess RAM into cache for the RAIDR Express. As well, a DuoMode switch ensures compatibility with older non-UEFI systems, and Asus promises an average of 620,000 hours before the device will start to fail on you.


Under the shroud: flash memory and controllers under a heatsinkUnder the shroud: flash memory and controllers under a heatsink


While that 620,000 number might be less than some other SSDs, which are rated for up to 1.2 million hours, remember that the RAIDR Express is two drives on one card. As well, due to the RAID0 mode, if even one of the two onboard SSDs fails, all 240GB of the data is gone. I assume many people will find the high performance worth these drawbacks, though, along with...


DuoMode switch and accompanying LEDDuoMode switch and accompanying LED


...the aesthetics of the card, which personally I can do without. The RAIDR boasts the same black-and-red-and-somewhat-excessive motif that covers the rest of the ROG lineup of hardware. A double-sided metal shroud and a “cool red LED” are present on this card. Of course, those without windowed computer cases can't take advantage, but the shroud at least “provides great heat dissipation and reduces electromagnetic interference (EMI).” The jury's out on what extra benefit the LED serves, though.


Mounted on a matching Asus motherboardMounted on a matching Asus motherboard


Anyway, while Asus hasn't released warranty, pricing or availability-related information yet, I predict we will see the RAIDR Express on retailer store shelves within a month or two. Like the rest of the Republic of Gamers lineup, don't expect these to be cheap.