I few days ago I found the OCZ miniPCI-Express SSD (SATA) by chance. On the website it claims to be an SSD with
- up to 110 MB/s read and up 51 MB/s write speed
- PCIe interface
- 16 GB or 32 GB size
So this is much faster than my 40 MB/s 8GB CF Card I'm currently using for my server and it's much cheaper. Amazon sells the 16 GB version for 57.50 EUR.
So I ordered one, but I got disappointed:
The first problem was, that the card was longer than the standard miniPCI-Express Card (I only new about 2 different miniPCI-Express sizes: the standard size of 30x56mm and a half size of 30×31.9 mm) and so it doesn't fit in my adapter card to use it in a normal PCI-Express slot.
So I had to remove that slot bracket and use a wire to fix the SSD to the adapter as the standard mounting holes couldn't be used. I installed the card in the PCI-Express slot and connected the USB pins of the adapter to the USB port (miniPCI-Express slots provide additional USB and SMBus headers). It booted my PCI but neither BIOS nor operating systems (Linux 2.6, Windows Vista) did find any new PCI devices.
So I googled a little bit, and found that Asus EEE PC uses SSD cards like this in some models and that other vendors than OCZ offers replacement modules for them. I even found a pin assignment for the internal SATA/IDE port of those models using an miniPCI-Express connector (but not using miniPCI-Express). I checked my SSD card and found that exactly the same pins are used here. So I disassembled an old hard disk to use it's SATA connectors and soldered the pins of the connector to the pins of the SSD card.
After installing the card in my PC and powering up, now there was a red power LED lightened up, so this looked promising, but neither BIOS nor operating systems did find any new SATA devices. So I thought back of the problems when connection RS232 devices when TX and RX on each devices have a different meaning and you have to cross connect them (like cross-over cables for Ethernet). So I crossed RX and TX lines, but this wasn't a good idea: As soon as I powered on the PC there some smoke signals coming from the SSD chip which didn't agree with my cabling. 🙁
So my conclusion: Don't buy this SSD. It doesn't have an miniPCI-Express interface and so it won't work on normal miniPCI-Express slots. Maybe it will work in some netbooks providing a special slot for them.
Good article I found the information very insightful. While searching for a small cheap SSD for a counter PC at the family business I found this OCZ derive.
Good to know. Anyway, if we still talkin about Alix, I'd recommend http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microdrive which is a miniature hard-drive, so you don't have to worry about read cycles as normal CF has. Be careful, it won't fit in all card readers when it's 1 [mm] thicker.
This card wasn't planned to be used for Alix, as Alix has no real PCIe slots. (ALIX.6B2 has a PCIe slot, but only USB pins are connected).
Read cycles have never been a problem of flash memory, only write cycles. But on modern branded flash memories with sophisticated wear leveling this seems to be no problem anymore.