Podcast #181 - Hybrid Storage Roundup, the ASUS US36SD-XA1 notebook, News of the week and more!

December 8, 2011 - 05:44 PM |

PC Perspective Podcast #181 - 12/08/2011

Join us this week as we talk about our Hybrid Storage Roundup, the ASUS US36SD-XA1 notebook, News of the week and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

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Hosts: Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Allyn Malvantano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 1:03:02

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:40 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. 0:02:05 Hybrid Storage Roundup: Seagate Momentus XT vs. OCZ RevoDrive Hybrid vs. Intel Z68
  6. 0:15:20 ASUS U36SD-XA1 Notebook Review: The Battery That Never Dies
  7. 0:21:00 Video Perspective: AMD A8-3850 vs Intel Core i3-2105 Gaming Comparison
  8. 0:24:20 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  9. 0:25:12 ASRock Z68 Extreme 7 Gen 3 LGA 1155 Motherboard Review
  10. 0:27:15 Asus GeForce Direct CU II Series Reviews
  11. 0:28:16 Intel, Micron double single-chip flash capacity
  12. 0:33:46 Mobile madness minus benchmarks; new mobile GPUs from AMD & NVIDIA
  13. 0:40:39 Ivy Bridge should be here by the spring
  14. 0:46:05 Chrome passes Firefox and is now the 2nd most used browser
  15. 0:49:50 It's a bit early for 11.12, but how about Catalyst 11.11c?
  16. 0:51:15 Memorieeessssss lots of memoriesssss
  17. 0:55:06 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Jeremy: Twine ... so called physical computing; made easy
    1. Josh: Treat yourself for Christmas with a new vid card and game
    2. Allyn: Ready Player One - (Audiobook)
  18. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  19. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  20. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  21. Closing

Third time is the charm? Seagate releases the third generation of their hybrid drive

November 29, 2011 - 06:19 PM |

Over the past few years Seagate has been trying to perfect a way to get the best of both storage worlds by combining an SSD as a semi-permanent cache for a large platter based hard drive.  The new Seagate Momentus XT is the third generation of this series, a 750GB HDD with a 8GB SLC SSD available to cache frequently used files and are calling it FAST (Flash-Assisted Storage Technology).  Legit Reviews investigated their performance claims, after repeatedly using the drive to fill the cache as this drive will perform exactly like the platter based drive it is until that cache has moved frequently accessed or slow to load files into the flash memory.  It did seem to reduce boot times and program loading to almost SSD levels, though it does not effect infrequently used programs.  It was significantly less expensive than an SSD so if you tend to do similar tasks on your PC every day and need the large storage space this drive might just be for you.


"Overall, we'd certainly recommend the Momentus XT and frankly wouldn't go back to a plain old hard drive unless we were forced to. The expediency of boot and application load times are something that, once you get used to it, you can't seem to live without. Keep in mind that it may take two or three times for the Adaptive Memory Technology to decide that it should be cached and speed things up. On the down side, every operation is not SSD fast, especially if you're performing it for the first time..."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:



RevoDrive 3 and Hybrid Highlight OCZ Showcase at Computex

June 1, 2011 - 08:37 AM |

OCZ is definitely pushing its SSD products to the consumer and it was no different when we stopped by the OCZ suite at Computex 2011.  The most interesting devices came in the form of PCI Express based SSDs including the pending RevoDrive 3 model that upgrades the SSD controllers to SandForce 2200 models and gets some pretty hefty performance boosts because of it.


The RevoDrive 3 includes a pair of SF-2200 controllers and was rated at 900 MB/s read and 700 MB/s write using the PCIe x4 interface.  The 240GB model is apparently only going to have a $599 price tag and it should be available in a matter of a short few weeks.  The X2 model adds another module to the mix and doubles the controller count to four and improves performance to as high as 1500 MB/s read and 1200 MB/s write.  Obviously these types of devices are only for those that REALLY need to push the envelope in storage performance.

Also, more good news: OCZ has implemented a newer firmware feature on the RevoDrive 3 (and other newer PCIe based models) that will enable support for features like TRIM natively.  This is done by hiding the multiple controllers from the operating system and passing on / delegating the TRIM commands as needed.  Allyn will have more on this when we get a sample later this month.  


Another new PCIe-based SSD was the new Z-Drive R4 that fits more into the enterprise market with insanely high IOPS and performance. 


OCZ actually showed a server running a pair of the R4 88 models that were able to achieve a 1 million IOPS rating on random 4K. 


Another option for consumers was the new RevoDrive Hybrid that is exactly what it sounds like it is - a combination of a PCI Express SSD and a standard 2.5-in spindle based drive on a single unit.  This will bring the performance benefits of not only an SSD but a PCIE SSD to consumers that want to have the appearance of a single large hard drive inside their system.  It will use SandForce SF-2200 controllers and is rated at 575 MB/s read and 500 MB/s writes with several models planned for production.  The SSD portion that acts as the cache will be available in either 60GB of 120GB capacities while the HDD will start at 500GB and go up from there.  Pricing will apparently start at $400 for the 60GB/500GB version and will definitely be appealing for enthusiasts.  Now everyone can get the advantages of hybrid storage without being locked into the Z68 chipset or even an Intel platform at all. 

This implementation does not use any kind of Intel technology at all and instead is based on a firmware option from NVELO called Dataplex.  Based on the marketing numbers we saw the implementation that OCZ has created with the PCIe-based SSD will outperform Intel's SATA-based SRT technology by a noticeable margin, at least in benchmarks.  We can't wait to get our hands on one to see for ourselves. 


Finally, OCZ is going to throw their hat into the ring with the mSATA offering called the Devena 2 that runs on a SandForce SF-2181/2141 controller.  Expect to see this marketed as an option even for Intel SRT.  It looks like the rest of 2011 will be very busy for Allyn and our storage test bed.

Computex 2011 Coverage brought to you by MSI Computer and Antec


For the past few months, we've seen rumors upon rumors of a hybrid combination of the H67 and P67 chipsets into a 'Z' series. As the storage editor, I don't normally focus on a chipset update unless there is a corresponding increase in SATA bus speeds and/or ports available on the newer product.

This time things were different. While the Z series had the same SATA bandwidth specs as its older brothers, there was an extra feature that was rather huge in the storage world: Smart Response Technology.