IDF Shenzhen: Intel Demos 3D XPoint Optane File Copy at 2 GB/s

Subject: Storage | April 14, 2016 - 03:56 PM |
Tagged: Optane, NVMe, Intel, idf

At IDF Shenzhen, Intel talked more about 3D XPoint (spoken cross-point). Initially launched in July of last year, 3D XPoint is essentially a form of phase change memory which has speeds closer to that of DRAM.

XPoint.png

It can be addressed at the byte level, unlike flash which transfers in pages (~8KB) and erases in blocks (~6MB). There have been a few demos since the initial launch, and this morning there was another:

Optane demo.png

It is great to see XPoint / Optane technology being demonstrated again, but as far as demos go, this was not the best / fairest example that Intel could have put together. First of all, the 'NAND SSD' they are using is a Thunderbolt 3 connected external, which was clearly bottlenecked badly somewhere else in the chain (when was the last time you saw a 6 Gbit SATA SSD limited to only 283 MB/s?). Also, using SATA for the NAND example while using PCIe x4 NVMe for the Optane example seems a bit extreme to me.

The Optane side of the demo is seen going 1.94 GB/s. That is an impressive figure for sure, but it is important to note that a faster Intel 'NAND SSD' product has already been shipping for over a year:

DSC00947.JPG

Yes, the P3700 (reviewed by us here), can reach the speeds seen in this demo, as evidenced by this ATTO run on one of our 1.6TB samples:

Intel DC3700 800GB - atto-4 (driver)--.png

Looking at the P3700 specs, we can see that the 2TB model performs even better and would likely beat the Optane SSD used in today's demo:

P3700 spec.png

Further, in the IDF 2015 demo (where they launched the Optane brand), Intel showed off Optane's random IO performance:

P1020333-.JPG

This demo showed 464,300 4K random IOPS, and if you do the math, that works out to 1.9 GB/s *worth of random IO*, which is far more impressive than sequentials that basically match that of the current generation NVMe product of the same form factor and interface.

I'm still happy to see these demos happen, as it means we are absolutely going to see 3D XPoint in our hands sooner than later. That said, I'd also like to see demos that better demonstrate the strengths of the technology, because if today's demo was comparing apples to apples, it would have shown a P3700 matching the speed of Optane, which does not make the previously stated 1000x speed improvement nearly as obvious as it should be presented.

Micron no longer has NVMe envy

Subject: General Tech | April 14, 2016 - 12:28 PM |
Tagged: Ryan's Law, NVMe, micron

Micron has announced their own PCIe 3.0 NVMe devices today, in HHHL, M.2 and 2.5" form factors.  The specifications are a little sparse at the moment, we do not know the flash which resides within the devices nor the endurance differences between the 7100 PRO series which is designed for read heavy scenarios or the 7100 MAX which is for mixed usage.  In addition to the 7100 series, they also announced the 9100 series which ranges in size from 800GB up to 3.2TB and has theoretical sequential reads of 3GB/s and writes of 2GB/s.  The Register was not provided with any specific pricing but Micron suggested the 7100 series could be priced similarly to SATA drives, while the 9100 series will obviously lie outside the boundaries of Ryan's Law.

You should also take a look at the information Al gathered while he was at the product launch.

micron_nvme_ssds_performance_650.jpg

"These NVMe SSDs complement Micron's existing S600DC SAS SSDs, which are now shipping in volume. The 7100 is the smaller product and the 9100 its big brother. Both have a PCIe gen 3 NVMe interface, which is faster than the 12 Gbit/s SAS interface used by the S600DC flash drives."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

Behold, the spectrum of storage

Subject: General Tech | April 5, 2016 - 12:47 PM |
Tagged: NVMe, SAS, sata, PCIe SSD, low latency

The Register have put together a nice graphic and table displaying current storage technologies and how they relate to each other.  They constructed the graph to demonstrate the major boundaries in storage, between cache/memory, local storage and external storage and how these are going to move thanks to new technology.  NVMe-over-fabric will enable companies to utilize external storage at latencies lower than internal storage that still uses SATA or SAS, with only pure PCIe local storage outpacing its potential.  X-Point, assuming it lives up to the hype, will blur the line between local storage and memory/cache storage, offering latency previously only seen in system memory or on-die cache.

They also provide a table to give you some rough ideas how this translates between storage media, normalizing it a theoretical task which would take L1 cache 1 second to access, this can make it somewhat easier to comprehend for some than nanoseconds.

memory_storage_latency_spectrum.jpg

"Two technology changes are starting to be applied and both could have massive latency reduction effects at the two main storage boundary points: between memory and storage on the one hand, and between internal and external, networked storage on the other."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

Podcast #390 - ASUS Z170 Sabertooth Mk1, Corsair Carbide 400C, more about Windows Store Games, and more!

Subject: General Tech | March 10, 2016 - 02:10 PM |
Tagged: podcast, video, asus, z170 sabertooth, corsair, carbide 400c, Windows Store, uwp, dx12, amd, nvidia, directflip, 16.3, 364.47, 364.51, SFX, Seagate, OCP, NVMe

PC Perspective Podcast #390 - 03/10/2016

Join us this week as we discuss the ASUS Z170 Sabertooth Mk1, Corsair Carbide 400C, more about Windows Store Games, 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!

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

Seagate to Show 10 GB/s PCIe x16 Flash Drive at OCP Summit

Subject: Storage | March 8, 2016 - 03:07 PM |
Tagged: ssd, Seagate, pcie, NVMe, flash drive

Today Seagate announced that they are production ready on a couple of NVMe PCIe SSD models. These are data-center tailored units that focus on getting as much parallel flash into as small of a space as possible. From engineering drawings, the first appears to be a half height (HHHL) device, communicates over a PCIe 3.0 x8 link, and reaches a claimed 6.7GB/s:

Seagate-6.7GB-Sec-Production-Ready.png

The second model is a bit more interesting for a few reasons. This is a PCIe 3.0 x16 unit (same lane configuration as a high end GPU) that claims 10 GB/s:

Seagate-10GB-Sec-Production-Ready.png

10 GB/s, hmm, where have I seen that before? :)

The second image gives away a bit of what may be going on under that heatsink. There appears to be four M.2 form factor SSDs in there, which would imply that it would appear as four separate NVMe devices. This is no big deal for enterprise data applications that can be pointed at multiple physical devices, but that 10 GB/s does start to make more sense (as a combined total) as we know of no single SSD controller capable of that sort of throughput. It took four Intel SSD 750’s for us to reach that same 10 GB/s figure, so it stands to reason that Seagate would use that same trick, only with M.2 SSDs they can fit everything onto a single slot card.

That’s all we have on this release so far, but we may see some real product pics sneak out of the Open Compute Project Summit, running over the next couple of days.

Full press blast after the break!

Source: Businesswire

10GBps of Non-Volatile Memory Express based storage from Seagate

Subject: General Tech | March 8, 2016 - 01:23 PM |
Tagged: Seagate, PCIe SSD, NVMe

Seagate is rightfully bragging about their new PCIe SSD line up, the fastest currently available.  The drives come in two types, a 16 lane and an 8 lane model, using a standard PCIe interface.  The 16 lane version provides the full theoretical speed of 10GBps while the 8 lane model is less expensive and offers a mere 6.7GBps of throughput.  These drives are designed for enterprise usage but if you can afford the steep price tag which will come with these drives you could certainly using them for an impressive upgrade.  Check out more at The Inquirer.

seagate-6-540x334.png

"SEAGATE HAS announced what the firm claims will be the world's fastest solid state drive (SSD). The 10GBps device is already production-ready and has been built to Open Compute Project (OCP) specifications, making it suitable for hyperscale data centres."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Podcast #385 - Rise of the Tomb Raider Performance, 3x NVMe M.2 RAID-0, AMD Q1 Offerings

Subject: General Tech | February 4, 2016 - 11:53 AM |
Tagged: video, Trion 150, tesla, steam os, Samsung, rise of the tomb raider, podcast, ocz, NVMe, Jim Keller, amd, 950 PRO

PC Perspective Podcast #385 - 02/04/2016

Join us this week as we discuss Rise of the Tomb Raider performance, a triple RAID-0 NVMe array 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!

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Gigabyte

Introduction

NVMe was a great thing to happen to SSDs. The per-IO reduction in latency and CPU overhead was more than welcome, as PCIe SSDs were previously using the antiquated AHCI protocol, which was a carryover from the SATA HDD days. With NVMe came additional required support in Operating Systems and UEFI BIOS implementations. We did some crazy experiments with arrays of these new devices, but we were initially limited by the lack of native hardware-level RAID support to tie multiple PCIe devices together. The launch of the Z170 chipset saw a remedy to this, by including the ability to tie as many as three PCIe SSDs behind a chipset-configured array. The recent C600 server chipset also saw the addition of RSTe capability, expanding this functionality to enterprise devices like the Intel SSD P3608, which was actually a pair of SSDs on a single PCB.

Most Z170 motherboards have come with one or two M.2 slots, meaning that enthusiasts wanting to employ the 3x PCIe RAID made possible by this new chipset would have to get creative with the use of interposer / adapter boards (or use a combination of PCI and U.2 connected Intel SSD 750s). With the Samsung 950 Pro available, as well as the slew of other M.2 SSDs we saw at CES 2016, it’s safe to say that U.2 is going to push back into the enterprise sector, leaving M.2 as the choice for consumer motherboards moving forward. It was therefore only a matter of time before a triple-M.2 motherboard was launched, and that just recently happened - Behold the Gigabyte Z170X-SOC Force!

160128-170345.jpg

This new motherboard sits at the high end of Gigabyte’s lineup, with a water-capable VRM cooler and other premium features. We will be passing this board onto Morry for a full review, but this piece will be focusing on one section in particular:

160128-170427.jpg

I have to hand it to Gigabyte for this functional and elegant design choice. The space between the required four full length PCIe slots makes it look like it was chosen to fit M.2 SSDs in-between them. I should also note that it would be possible to use three U.2 adapters linked to three U.2 Intel SSD 750s, but native M.2 devices makes for a significantly more compact and consumer friendly package.

160122-181745.jpg

With the test system set up, let’s get right into it, shall we?

Read on for our look at triple M.2 in action!

CES 2016: HyperX Teases New Predator NVMe SSD

Subject: Storage | January 10, 2016 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: pci-e, NVMe, M.2, kingston hyper x, kingston

The 2016 Consumer Electronics Show is over, but news is still trickling out from attendees. Maximum PC spotted HyperX's first NVMe solid state drive on the show floor. First shown off at IDF 2015, the HyperX Predator NVMe M.2 SSD made an appearance at CES and the company released a bit more information.

Specifically, the new NVMe SSD will come with an optional PCI-E add-in-card for desktops without an M.2 slot much like its non-NVMe predecessor (AHCI protocol). It will come in 240 GB, 480 GB, and 960 GB capacities and will hit speeds up to 2,585 MB/s reads and 1,354 MB/s writes. Further, Overclockers.com observed a 480 GB model at CES benchmarking at 1,775 MB/s sequential reads and 1,675 MB/s sequential writes.

Kingston HyperX Predator NVME M.2 PCIE SSD.jpg

Beyond that, HyperX (which is the enthusiast division of Kingston Technologies) is not talking details just yet and we do not know which controller or NAND flash they are using. The previous generation Predator uses Toshiba A19 toggle NAND though which is promising.

The new NVMe drive will be available sometime in the second quarter of 2016. Pricing has not yet been announced. Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more details closer to launch. I'm looking forward to the full reviews and what moving to supporting NVMe will do for end users' experiences.

Coverage of CES 2016 is brought to you by Logitech!

PC Perspective's CES 2016 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Maximum PC

CES 2016: Lenovo Announces Updated ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Subject: Systems, Mobile | January 3, 2016 - 10:30 PM |
Tagged: ThinkPad X1 Carbon, Thinkpad, NVMe, Lenovo, Intel Skylake, CES 2016, CES

The thinnest, lightest ThinkPad of them all, the X1 Carbon, has received an overhaul for 2016 with 6th gen Intel Core processors and NVMe SSDs among the upgrades.

07_ThinkPad_X1_Carbon_HERO_SHOT_02_SKYPE_v04.jpg

“The lightest 14" business Ultrabook. It is lighter and thinner with increased performance; 11hrs battery life, faster storage with NVMe SSDs, faster connectivity with LTE-A, and improved docking with WiGig & OneLink+.”

Lenovo provides this list of key features:

  • Up to Intel 6th Gen Core i7 vPro
  • 2560x1440 WQHD 300nits; 14” 1920x1080 FHD IPS, 300 nits
  • Up to 16GB memory
  • Up to 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • Intel HDGraphics HD520
  • Optional LTE-A WWAN
  • Optional WiGig docking
  • Mil Spec tested
  • Common Ports: 3x USB 3.0; OneLink+ (RJ45), mDP, HDMI, microSD, Audio, Touch FPR, WWAN
  • Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
  • Battery life: Up to 11 hrs (52Whr)
  • Dimensions: 13.1 x 9.0 x .66 inches; 2.6lbs / 1179 g weight
  • Camera&Mic: 720p / Digital array mic

20_ThinkPad_X1_Carbon_BIRD-EYE_SHOT_v04.jpg

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon will go on sale in February starting at $1299.

Coverage of CES 2016 is brought to you by Logitech!

PC Perspective's CES 2016 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Lenovo