Subject: Storage | November 20, 2012 - 10:35 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: WD, western digital, Black, 4TB, hdd
Today Western Digital announced their new 4TB Black Series HDD. This new drive boasts some features normally reserved for their RE (enterprise) series drives, such as dual processors and dual stage actuator tech. This 7200 RPM unit comes with the now standard 64MB cache and SATA 6Gb/sec interface. We will be reviewing a sample upon its arrival, but I suspect performance will be close to the RE series, albeit without the additional enterprise-specific features.
The 4TB Black kicks off at an MSRP of $339. Hopefully we see some 4TB Greens and Reds out of Western Digital shortly - as those should be at a lower cost and be more suited to the typical mass-storage applications of such a high capacity drive.
Press blast after the break:
Subject: General Tech | August 9, 2012 - 01:12 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: hdd, toshiba, western digital, 3tb, Warranty, sad
As has been mentioned previously on PC Perspective the current trend of HDD manufacturers reducing the length of warranty is not being well received, though with only three manufacturers left consumers have little choice in the matter. At least with Western Digital, you are more likely to get a 3 to 5 year warranty than you are a single year. That negative feedback obviously hasn't fazed Toshiba, who are using the WD plants they purchased earlier this year to manufacture 1.5, 2 and 3TB HDDs, 3.5" in size and available in both 7200 and 5400RPM models and offering 1 year of warranty. In short, a factory which was previously capable of providing a 5 year warranty on spinning disks for your long term storage now offers a shorter warranty than the SSD manufacturers who are poised to replace them. The Inquirer offers more on this depressing topic here.
"Toshiba, the distant third vendor in the storage industry, was given the chance to buy part of Western Digital's hard drive business when it wanted to appease regulatory bodies to approve its purchase of Hitachi. With some of Western Digital's plants, Toshiba is now set to launch a range of 3.5in hard drives topping out at 3TB."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Kaspersky spots Zeus for BlackBerry @ The Register
- Kaspersky Lab warns of noxious ‘Gauss’ financial trojan @ The Inquirer
- Intel to try out wireless charging technology in ultrabooks and smartphones in 2H13 @ DigiTimes
- NASA's $2.5bn Curiosity rover: An Apple PowerBook on wheels @ The Register
- Buffalo Air Station AC1300 N900 802.11ac Wireless Router Review @ Legit Reviews
- How to Make Your Own Cat5e Network Cable @ Techgage
- NO!SE: The Game of Silence – win awesome prizes! @ Kitguru
- Win a Patriot Viper 3 Memory Kit @ Hi Tech Legion
Subject: Storage | August 3, 2012 - 02:25 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: western digital, WD, TLER, red, raid, hdd
This morning I received a tweet about WD Red drives not supporting Time Limited Error Recovery. TLER is the feature which allows a RAID comprised of Reds to much more gracefully handle drive failures and/or read errors. It's carried down from enterprise drives like the RE4 and RE4-GP.
I'm posting this quick note here to let the masses know that the Red drives *do* in fact support TLER. It's a primary component of NASware - the NAS aware firmware that drives the Reds. Here's the official reply I received from Western Digital:
WD does enable intelligent error recovery controls, which is not the same as a desktop drive. WD's exclusive NASware technology is built in each WD Red drive, which reduces the concern with using desktop drives in a RAID environment.
More info on details of NASware can be found here: http://www.wd.com/en/products/
Western Digital has assured me they are tracking down where the miscommunication occurred.
Introduction and Internals
I'm going to let the cat out of the bag right here and now. Everyone's home RAID is likely an accident waiting to happen. If you're using regular consumer drives in a large array, there are some very simple (and likely) scenarios that can cause it to completely fail. I'm guilty of operating under this same false hope - I have an 8-drive array of 3TB WD Caviar Greens in a RAID-5. For those uninitiated, RAID-5 is where one drive worth of capacity is volunteered for use as parity data, which is distributed amongst all drives in the array. This trick allows for no data loss in the case where a single drive fails. The RAID controller can simply figure out the missing data by running the extra parity through the same formula that created it. This is called redundancy, but I propose that it's not.
Subject: Storage | July 10, 2012 - 08:04 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: western digital, wdc, red, NAS, hdd, Hard Drive
** Note ** - Full review has been posted HERE!
Today Western Digital launches their Red series of hard drives. These are basically Caviar Greens that are specificially tuned to operate in small RAID configurations - namely home and small business NAS solutions containing up to 5 drives. These drives carry over some of the features present on Western Digital's Enterprise lines while adding a few of their own.
We got samples of the Red in yesterday evening, so instead of going on with conjecture derived from the news post, I'll hit you with the new features and a bit of my initial impressions from our early benching:
- Extremely quiet operation thanks to a new dynamic balancing mechanism built into the spindle motor hub. The drive essentially re-balances itself on-the-fly as temperatures change, etc.
- Seeks are equally quiet - quiet enough that a bunch of these doing random access outside of an enclosure would barely be audible from only a few feet away.
- Great sequential throughput (~150MB/sec at start of disk, ramping down to ~65MB/sec at the end).
- Random access times in the 20ms range - likely due to the very quiet seeking mechanism.
- Red Series drives will all be advanced format (i.e. internally addressed by 4k sectors).
- Reds will all be 1TB/platter, available in 1, 2, and 3TB capacities. This gives similar throughput figures regardless of capacity purchased.
- 3-year warranty, with a 24/7 support hotline specifically for Red owners.
- Red drives feature a QR code on the label to assist with any support issues down the road.
I'm not kidding about the quiet operation. The only sound the Red makes is reminiscent of a DVD spinning at low speed, in a sound deadening enclosure. There is no motor whine whatsoever and the head actuator is nearly inaudible. I have to almost lay my head on the drive to tell it is seeking at all.
A full review with all of the gory details will be up later today. For now I leave you with the WD press release after the break, along with this nifty QR to get you more info on the Red Series:
*note - the QR page may not yet be live.
Subject: General Tech, Storage | June 29, 2012 - 03:25 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: hdd, Futuremark, thailand
While it is easy to understand why the destruction of a good portion of the HDD industries manufacturing capabilities caused by the flooding in Thailand would effect both the availability and pricing of HDDs it is not so easy to explain what those manufacturers are doing now. It is not just the reduction in warranty to 1 year which we previously informed you about, it is the bizarre pricing which adds to the confusion. This is an industry which has collapsed into two major players, with two others appearing to compete but in reality are working with or outright owned by the two major players. They are under siege from the SSD industry which offers longer warranty, better performance and prices which are falling quickly; making the high prices and lousy warranty offered by HDD manufactures quite unattractive. The Tech Report assembled an array of graphs which display the state of the hard drive companies as well as some suggestions on the best current deals in HDDs if you are inclined to pick one up.
"Mechanical hard drive prices rose sharply after last year's Thailand flooding. Prices have fallen since, but their decline has slowed in recent months. We take a closer look at the numbers."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Fiberglass-reinforced cases expected to be adopted for ultrabooks in 2H12 @ DigiTimes
- Adobe Stops Flash Player Support For Android @ Slashdot
- Techies evac'd as raging wildfire menaces $100m Colorado data centre @ The Register
- Raspberry Pi enclosure turns it into a desktop PC @ Hack a Day
- Netgear WNDR4500 Dual Band Gigabit Router @ X-bit Labs
- I, Cyborg @ The Tech Report
- Win the KFA2 GeForce GTX 680 LTD OC 2048MB @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech | June 15, 2012 - 01:01 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Hard Disk, Seagate, western digital, fud, hdd
There are quite a few things in the industry to speculate on, from Microsoft's intimating a 'big new thing' next Monday to AMD and the HSA's plans for the future of the industry, but if you want to go for the big one then it is the hard drive industry you should be following. The most recent sign that something big is going on would be the change in warranty length on consumer drives from the two remaining players, both of which now offer a 1yr warranty. That is a vast reduction from previous 3yr and 5yr warranties and while it does not necessarily imply these drives will fail any faster it does mean they offer shorter warranties than their competition, the SSD. This could convince a lot of people that paying $1/GB for an SSD is not really that bad of a deal and you can only expect that price to fall, especially on larger sized SSDs.
Also consider the fact that there are only two major HDD manufacturers left, Seagate and Western Digital. This defragmentation of the industry has been going on for quite a while now, resulting in those two manufacturers owning their competitions resources and IP and pretty much being able to determine what the market will provide and at what cost to the consumer. That has lead to the rather counter-intuitive profits that these two, especially Western Digital, made over the past year. You would not expect a company which lost its manufacturing capabilities to the Thai floods to see a 230% increase in profit, yet that is exactly what happened from March 2011 to March 2012. Seagate held their first place spot over the same time period, with higher volume sales contributing to that success with their prices only rising 20% instead of the 40% they threatened during the supposed supply difficulties.
The HDD market seems to be on its way out, not just because ultraportable devices chose SSDs over HDDs but also because the average consumer has come to the realization that while having a few terabytes of storage is nice for long term storage they really do not need it, especially on a device which does not have long term support. The Inquirer smells something foul in the air and comments on this topic here.
"Seagate, Western Digital and to a lesser extent Toshiba are starting to see free market economics - or as close as it gets - show their strategy of consolidation and profiteering. With the number of solid state disk (SSD) in the low teens, prices are falling steeply while hard drive makers rely on artificially high prices and shorter warranties to make a quick buck."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- The other side of Computex @ The Tech Report
- Inside the “Card-That-Unlocks-All-Cable-Channels” Scam @ Hardware Secrets
- Microsoft's $1bn Yammer gobble gabble blabbed by insiders @ The Register
- Skype 4.0 For Linux Now Available @ Slashdot
- Intel to hold ultrabook cost-reduction meeting with Taiwan supply chain makers in July @ DigiTimes
Subject: General Tech | February 24, 2012 - 12:38 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: flooding, thailand, hdd
It won't be completely back to normal but if DigiTimes' information is correct the HDD industry is getting back on their feet after the flooding in Thailand wiped out several fabs. This is not just great news for your average consumer or enthusiast but also for businesses that have had server upgrades and maintenance postponed since stocks of enterprise HDDs dried up. While it may seem funny that NewEgg limits the number of units you can buy for some of their stock, it is not so funny for a company that needs to rebuild a 10 disk RAID on a SAN. By Spring we should see a return to stock levels of about 80% and prices about 30% higher than what existed on the market previously which will help out a lot of bottom lines as well as bring much needed money into Thailand to help with the recovery.
"The global production capacity of hard disk drives (HDDs) will increase to 140-145 million units, about 80% of the level before flooding hit Thailand in late 2011, in the first quarter of 2012, according to industry sources.
HDD makers exhausted their inventories of products and components in December 2011 and January 2012, the sources indicated. However, HDD vendors have not hiked quotes due to the off-season.
Among HDD vendors, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies and Seagate Technology have suffered less damage from the flooding and therefore have moved faster in restoring production capacities, compared to Toshiba and Western Digital, the sources indicated."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Globalfoundries to acquire ProMOS for NT$20-30 billion, say sources @ DigiTimes
- Nvidia announces partnerships to develop LTE modems @ The Inquirer
- Expert Tips and Tricks With Kate and Konsole @ Linux.com
- How-To: Make Conductive Ink @ MAKE:Blog
- The crystal ball for PC processors in 2012 @ The Inquirer
- If Android is a "stolen product," then so was the iPhone @ Ars Technica
- 3D processor-memory mashups take center stage @ The Register
- DCS-1130 Missing Features After Firmware Update @ Computing on Demand
- Cyberlink PowerDVD 12 Ultra Review @ Hi Tech Legion
Subject: Storage | February 14, 2012 - 05:30 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: vibration, Tiché PC HDD Vibration Killer, hdd
At first glance they may just look like colourful metal 3.5" to 5.25" drive bay adapters but the Tiché PC HDD Vibration Killer kit includes a rubber suspension intended to stop the noise and vibrations generated by a spinning hard disk. It should help with cooling since the drives have more space around them in a 5.25" bay and it will help save space as three drives will fit in only two 5.25" slots. SPCR's testing disproved the first as they saw noticeably higher temperatures from the drives once installed in the mounts, but not worryingly so. They did see seriously positive results when they looked at the effectiveness of vibration reduction as well as noise reduction. If you've got a drive that shakes your house when you boot this kit is worth checking out.
"The Tiché PC HDD Vibration Killer is an aftermarket internal hard drive suspension system that is simple but effective and cost efficient."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Intel 520 Series 240GB @ Tweaktown
- Intel 520 Series Cherryville 240GB SSD Review @ HCW
- Intel 520 Series 240GB (Raid 0 update) @ SSD Review
- Intel 520 Series 240GB Solid State Drive Review @ eTeknix
- Intel 520 Series SSD @ The Inquirer
- Intel 520 SSD Review (Round Two) - RAID Testing at 1.5GB/s With Highpoint 2720SGL RAID Controller @ SSD Review
- OCZ Synapse Cache 64GB SSD Review@ HardwareLOOK
- OCZ Synapse Cache SATA III Solid State Disk @ Pro-Clockers
- OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS 240GB SSD @ Funky Kit
- OCZ Technology Octane 512GB Solid State Drive with 1.13 Performance Firmware @ Tweaktown
- Understanding SSD Advertised Performance and Its Purchase Implications - An SSD Primer @ SSD Review
- A Look at Enterprise Performance of Intel SSDs @ AnandTech
- Synology DS212 NAS Server Review @ Techgage
- Buffalo CloudStation Pro Duo Network Storage @ X-bit Labs
- OCZ Technology Octane 128GB @ Tweaktown
- Meet Intel's Cherryville: 520 Series 240GB SSD Review @ Techgage
- Asus BW-12B1LT Internal 12X Blu-Ray Writer Review @ Tweaknews
- Diablotek SSD to USB 3.0 SATA Adapter @ TechwareLabs
- HornetTek Enterprise 4X @ LanOC Reviews @ LANOC
- Hitachi Touro Desk Pro 3TB USB 3.0 External HDD Review @ Madshrimps
- Serial Technologies SATA II to IDE Adaptor Review @ eTeknix
- Zalman ZM-VE300 2.5” USB3.0 External HDD Enclosure Review @ Madshrimps
Subject: General Tech, Storage | February 8, 2012 - 11:34 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: laser, hdd, Hard Disk
The big hoopla as of late has been wrapped around SSD's and flash memory technology, with constant die shrinks promising cheaper and faster solid state storage for your PC. Everyone seems to be slowly forgetting about good old HDD's, but spinning rust may have some life left after all.
A team of scientists formed iron and gadolinium into a series of alloy 'nanoislands'. These are basically isolated mini magnets. Each one carries a magnetic charge. Normally you would write to materials like this by hitting them with a much larger magnetic field (i.e. from your HDD write head). This team had a different trick up their sleeve - don't bother with the bigger magnet, just hit it with a burst of heat and get it to change state on its own.
Magnetic nanoislands getting hit by a frickin' laser.
Picture a sling shot, stretched out, and frozen in a block of ice. If you melt the ice, the rubber band will just snap back to its unstretched state and stay there. The same kind of thing happens when you heat a magnet - it becomes demagnetized. Now imagine if you could melt the ice, but flash freeze it while the rubber band has extended in the opposite direction. You've reversed the direction of the sling shot. Pull off the same trick with a magnet, and you can flip its poles. The trick is finding just the right length of time to heat the magnet and catch the 'flip' on the other end of its resonance. This team appears to have figured it out, and the magic number (for their material) is 60 femtoseconds. They can heep hitting the same spot repeatedly, and each time causes another flip in the poles.
Each pulse flips the bit.
To back this down into typical computer terms. A 1GHz CPU clock triggers every 1.00000 nanosecond, and 60 femtoseconds is 0.00006 nanoseconds. Ultrashort Pulse lasers have been around for a while. One was even used on my eyeballs a few years back. These pulses are so fast that the biggest issue would be getting information to the laser fast enough. The straight line theoretical speed of this technique ranges in the Terabytes per second, with densities limited by the capabilities of the nanotech used to create the islands.
To be clear, this isn't the first time heat or lasers has been used in magnetic media. TDK pioneered Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording tech years ago, but that tech is only heat *assisted*. This new breakthrough is writing, with heat, without the magnet at all. Now the only trick is figuring out how to read such a high density of tiny written bits. Since the laser writes much smaller than a magnetic head could accomplish, we might see a reversion back to optics for the reads.We're not sure how long before this technology appears on your desktop, but what we can say is that magnetic storage is not dead yet.