Introduction, Specifications and Packaging
If you're into the laptop storage upgrade scene, you hear the same sort of arguments all the time. "Do I go with a HDD for a large capacity and low cost/GB, but suffer performance"? "I want an SSD, but can't afford the capacity I need"! The ideal for this scenario is to combine both - go with a small capacity SSD for your operating system and apps, while going with a larger HDD for bulk storage at a lower cost/GB. The catch here is that most mobile platforms only come with a single 2.5" 9.5mm storage bay, and you just can't physically fit a full SSD and a full HDD into that space, can you? Well today Western Digital has answered that challenge with the Black2 Dual Drive:
Yup, we're not kidding. This is a 120GB SSD *and* a 1TB HDD in a single package. Not a hybrid. Two drives, and it's nothing short of a work of art.
Does downloading make a difference?
I posted a story earlier this week that looked at the performance of the new PS4 when used with three different 2.5-in storage options: the stock 500GB hard drive, a 1TB hybrid SSHD and a 240GB SSD. The results were fairly interesting (and got a good bit of attention) but some readers wanted more data. In particular, many asked how things might change if you went the full digital route and purchased games straight from the Sony's PlayStation Network. I also will compare boot times for each of the tested storage devices.
You should definitely check out the previous article if you missed it. It not only goes through the performance comparison but also details how to change the hard drive on the PS4 from the physical procedure to the software steps necessary. The article also details the options we selected for our benchmarking.
- HGST 500GB 5400 RPM HDD - $50 - $0.10/GB
- Seagate 1TB Hybrid SSHD - $122 - $0.12/GB
- Corsair 240GB Force GS SSD - $189 - $0.78/GB
Today I purchased a copy of Assassin's Creed IV from the PSN store (you're welcome Ubisoft) and got to testing. The process was the same: start the game then load the first save spot. Again, each test was run three times and the averages were reported. The PS4 was restarted between each run.
The top section of results is the same that was presented earlier - average load times for AC IV when the game is installed from the Blu-ray. The second set is new and includes average load times fro AC IV after the installation from the PlayStation Network; no disc was in the drive during testing.
Load time improvements
On Friday Sony released the PlayStation 4 onto the world. The first new console launch in 7 years, the PS4 has a lot to live up to, but our story today isn't going to attempt to weigh the value of the hardware or software ecosystem. Instead, after our PS4 teardown video from last week, we got quite a few requests for information on storage performance with the PS4 and what replacement hardware might offer gamers.
Hard Drive Replacement Process
Changing the hard drive in your PlayStation 4 is quite simple, a continuation of a policy Sony's policy with the PS3.
Installation starts with the one semi-transparent panel on the top of the unit, to the left of the light bar. Obviously make sure your PS4 is completely turned off and unplugged.
Simply slide it to the outside of the chassis and wiggle it up to release. There are no screws or anything to deal with yet.
Once inside you'll find a screw with the PS4 shapes logos on them; that is screw you need to remove to pull out the hard drive cage.
Subject: General Tech | November 13, 2013 - 01:15 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: mtbf, hdd
One thing you can do when you have 25,000 consumer level HDDs running is to amass accurate data on the failure rates of drives. Backblaze has done exactly that and published their findings which match fairly closely to the predicted MTBF pattern of a spike in the beginning of the life cycle as flawed drives fail, a long period of reliability followed by another rise in failures as drives age beyond their expected lifespan. They have told the Register that they intend to follow up with tests on enterprise grade disks to see if the premium you pay is a good investment.
"Cloud backup outfit Backblaze has cobbled together all the data it's gathered from the 25,000 or so disk drives it keeps spinning and drawn some conclusions about just how long you can expect disks to survive in an array."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel Readies for Internet of Things Invasion with Linux @ Linux.com
- Pentagon Readies Contingency Plans Due To BlackBerry's Uncertain Future @ Slashdot
- 100,000 gullible hipsters botnetted in Instagram scam @ The Inquirer
- Britain's Conservatives Scrub Speeches from the Internet @ Slashdot
- Makerbot vows to plonk a 3D printer in every one of Uncle Sam's schools @ The Register
- Win A Raijintek Ereboss, Themis or Aidos CPU Cooler @ eTeknix
Seagate's aptly named NAS HDD looks very much like their 4TB Desktop model but internally it has enhanced vibration reduction as well as parts that are more resistant to vibration which should create a quieter and longer lasting drive. It also shares 5900 RPM and a 64MB cache but Seagate claims slightly higher seek times, 8.5ms read and 9.5ms write and time-limited error recovery which makes these drives far less dangerous to use in a RAID than the desktop model in scenarios such as Al has mentioned numerous times. The Tech Report's testing put it against Seagate's Desktop version as well as the WD Red that is also optimized for use in NAS devices, read on to see which gets recommended.
"Seagate's NAS HDD 4TB is optimized for network-attached storage and desktop RAID implementations. It promises better reliability than typical desktop drives, too. We take a closer look to see how the NAS HDD compares to its WD Red counterpart."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Synology DiskStation DS214 NAS @ Kitguru
- Thecus N5550 @ techPowerUp
- QNAP TS-420 review: 4-bay midrange NAS @ Hardware.info
- Synology DS213j Home to Small Office 2-bay NAS Review @ Madshrimps
- HGST Ultrastar 7K4000 3.5-inch 4TB 7200 RPM HDD Review @ Madshrimps
- 42x 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch hard disk group test: lots of affordable storage @ Hardware.info
- MyDigitalSSD 128GB mSATA SuperCache 2 Caching SSD @ SSD Review\
- Toshiba Q Series Pro 256GB SSD @ Custom PC Review
- Kingston Navi Limited Edition 240GB SSD review: gaming SSD @ Hardware.info
- Samsung XP941 NGFF M.2 PCIe SSDs in RAID 0 – Worlds Smallest SSD Combination Hits 2GB/s @ SSD Review
- Sony VAIO Pro 13 Ultrabook Native PCIe SSD Review – 1GB/s Performance Fastest Ultra Speed To Date @ SSD Review
- SanDisk Extreme II 240GB SSD @ Custom PC Review
- ADATA Premier Pro SP900 128GB SSD @ Kitguru
- Seagate 600 Series 240 GB / 480 SSD @ Hardware.info
- Kingston's Fastest Ever SSD? SSDNow V300 240GB Benchmarked @ PCSTATS
- Kingston mS200 120GB mSATA SSD Review @ Legit Reviews
- OCZ Vertex 450 256GB SSD @ eTeknix
- Toshiba HG5D Series SATA M.2 @ SSD Review
- OCZ Vertex 450 256GB SSD @ Custom PC Review
- Mach Xtreme Technology MX Express Driverless PCIe 2.0 x2 @ SSD Review
- Patriot Aero 1TB Wireless Hard Drive @ eTeknix
- Silicon Power Armor A30 1TB USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive @ NikKTech
- HGST Travelstar 5K1500 1.5TB SATA III HDD @ NikKTech
- Kingston 16GB UHS-I Ultimate SDHC/SDXC Card @ Funky Kit
- Lexar JumpDrive P10 32GB USB3.0 Flash Drive @ eTeknix
- Mach Xtreme MX-ES SLC 32GB Flash Drive @ eTeknix
- Mach Xtreme Technology MX-ES 32GB USB 3.0 Pen Drive @ Kitguru
Last July, I went on a bit of a mini-rant about how using a bunch of drives not meant to be in a RAID could potentially lead to loss of the entire array from only a few bad sectors spread across several disks. Western Digital solved this problem by their introduction of the WD Red series. That series capped out at 3TB, and users were pushing for larger storage capacities for their NAS devices. In addition to the need for larger disks came the need for *smaller* disks as well, as there are some manufacturers that wish to create NAS / HTPC type devices that house multiple 2.5" HDD's. One such device is the Drobo Mini - a 4x2.5" device which has not really had a 'proper' NAS storage element available - until now:
Today Western Digital has announced a twofold expansion to their Red Series. First is a 4TB capacity in their 3.5" series, and second is a 2.5" iteration of the Red, available in both 750GB and 1TB capacities.
As a recap of what can potentially happen if you have a large RAID with 'normal' consumer grade HDD's (and by consumer grade I mean those without any form of Time Limited Error Recovery, or TLER for short):
- Array starts off operating as normal, but drive 3 has a bad sector that cropped up a few months back. This has gone unnoticed because the bad sector was part of a rarely accessed file.
- During operation, drive 1 encounters a new bad sector.
- Since drive 1 is a consumer drive it goes into a retry loop, repeatedly attempting to read and correct the bad sector.
- The RAID controller exceeds its timeout threshold waiting on drive 1 and marks it offline.
- Array is now in degraded status with drive 1 marked as failed.
- User replaces drive 1. RAID controller initiates rebuild using parity data from the other drives.
- During rebuild, RAID controller encounters the bad sector on drive 3.
- Since drive 3 is a consumer drive it goes into a retry loop, repeatedly attempting to read and correct the bad sector.
- The RAID controller exceeds its timeout threshold waiting on drive 3 and marks it offline.
- Rebuild fails.
- Blamo, your data is now (mostly) inaccessible.
I went into much further detail on this back in the intro to the WD 3TB Red piece, but the short of it is that you absolutely should use a HDD intended for RAID when building one, and Western Digital is removing that last excuse for not doing so by introducing a flagship 4TB capacity to the Red Series.
Subject: Storage | September 3, 2013 - 08:00 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, red, NAS, hdd
Today Western Digital launched both a 4TB 3.5" Red, as well as a new 2.5" form factor available in both 750GB and 1TB:
Subject: General Tech | August 8, 2013 - 01:58 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: HAMR, SMR, cache, hdd, Seagate, western digital, hgst, helium
Enthusiasts are wholeheartedly adopting SSDs for their storage media of choice with HDDs relegated to long term storage of infrequently accessed storage. For SMB and enterprise it is not such an easy choice as the expense to move to a purely SSD infrastructure is daunting and often not the most cost effective way to run their business. That is why HDD makers continue to develop new technology for platter based storage such as HAMR and shingled magnetic media in an attempt to speed up platter drives as well as increasing the storage density. Today at The Register you can read about a variety of technologies that will keep the platter alive, from Seagate's cached Enterprise Turbo SSHD, HGST's helium filled drives and the latest predictions on when HAMR and SMR drives could arrive on the market.
"At a briefing session for tech journos yesterday, Seagate dropped hints of new solid-state hybrid drives (SSHDs) - which combine a non-volatile NAND cache with spinning platters - and a general session about Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) and Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR)."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- NVIDIA Open Sources SHIELD's Operating System @ Slashdot
- Top 10 Open Source Linux Boards Under $200 @ Linux.com
- Kingston reportedly cuts DRAM module prices amid sluggish demand @ DigiTimes
- Netgear A6200 802.11ac USB Wi-Fi Adapter Review @ Legit Reviews
- Chrome web browser password feature slammed as 'security flaw' @ The Inquirer
- AMD confirms Kaveri will be in the hands of enthusiasts in 2014 @ VR-Zone
Subject: General Tech | June 26, 2013 - 12:56 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: HAMR, western digital, ssd, hdd, Areal Density
Western Digital, along with Seagate, Toshiba, and Hitachi are working on the next step in increasing the storage density of platter based drives while HAMR is still in the works. They will be adding overlapping tracks to their platters, which they are referring to as shingles (as in the roof, not the pox). There will be two types implemented, with the first type having the shingling hidden to ensure compatibility with existing applications which might take exception to overlapping data tracks. Type two will not hide its light under a bushel and will require applications to be aware of the shingling and hopefully take full advantage of the new type of magnetic recording. According to the presentation that The Register attended we will see shingles in the near future, with HAMR due in 2016.
"Over the coming years the remaining players will be pushing traditional technology to its limits to extend the life of hard disk technology. While the industry is pretty much standardised on perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) at present, in a couple of years there will be more fundamental hard drive technologies co-existing in the market than there are hard drive vendors."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Running Ubuntu Linux Is Messy On The 2013 MacBook Air @ Phoronix
- Rise of the ARM Clones @ Slashdot
- Intel demos real-time code compression for die shrinkage, power saving @ The Register
- HP StoreOnce has undocumented backdoor @ The Register
- Oregon Scientific SE833 Heart Rate Monitor with PC Download Review @ Madshrimps
Subject: Storage | May 28, 2013 - 08:15 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: Xe, western digital, wdc, se, RE, hdd
Today Western Digital did a slight rearranging of their enterprise product lineup:
Starting from the top down, the Xe series is essentially a SAS version of their 2.5" 10k RPM VelociRaptor form factor, available in 300GB, 600GB, and 900GB capacities. The Re series is the same 'RE' we are all familiar with, and is now available in both SAS and SATA. That bottom block, however, is something new:
The Se series is Western Digital's attempt at a lower cost Re series drive, and will be available in capacities up to 4TB.
So the Se is an Advanced Format version of the Re, designed for reduced workloads. Throughput is slightly reduced due to differences in track geometry, though WD let me know they expect final shipping Se's may be closer to the Re spec than the slide indicates. The Se carries the same RPM as well as StableTrac (where the spindle is supported at both ends), RAFF (where accelerometers compensate for chassis vibration), and TLER (where IO request timeouts are adjusted to play nicely with hardware RAID).
The key to the success of the Se will be just what sort of reduced cost Western Digital is able to price the drive at. That information, as well as a full review of an Se, will be coming later today, just as soon as our next batch of samples arrives.