I mentioned that I bought a Gigabyte GC-RAMDISK (a.k.a. i-RAM) to go in my new home file server, largely to see if using it as a solid-state log device would improve ZFS performance.

Unfortunately, I’ve been completely and totally unable to get the card to do anything at all. I’m not sure if I have a defective card or if Gigabyte’s SATA implementation is just really buggy. When I plugged it into the motherboard’s ICH9R SATA ports, the BIOS didn’t even show it on the boot-up scan and Solaris reported it as failing to initialize correctly. When I plugged it into the Supermicro AOC-SAT2-MV8 8-port SATA card, the BIOS could see it but Solaris gave a similar error. Connecting it to the motherboard’s Marvell eSATA ports made the Marvell hang at bootup and made Solaris really unhappy, spewing drive failure messages all over the console.

I can’t find a single review that suggests that anyone has got this to work with a recent motherboard. Digging through the Linux kernel mailing list suggests that it has a really spotty SATA implementation. Apparently they developed it using a couple Windows drivers as a comparison, instead of actually paying attention to the SATA spec.

So, it’s going back to Amazon today. It was a nice idea, but it just doesn’t appear to work. I don’t know if it’s broken or just poorly designed, but either way it’s not useful to me.