Samsung's M.2 SM951 PCIe SSD appears for sale and is worth every penny

Subject: Storage | June 25, 2015 - 03:42 PM |
Tagged: SM951, Samsung, PCIe SSD, M.2

Samsung's M.2 SM951 PCIe SSD was never originally intended to be sold on its own but thankfully the 128, 256 and 512GB models are showing up on Newegg and other sites and the speeds it can reach are very impressive.  The Tech Report tested the 512GB model and saw it beat the Intel 750 Series in IOMeter at a queue depth of one, though the Intel SSD still shows off its prowess at higher queue depths.  Their testing showed that the speed of the flash produces enough heat that the drive throttles itself so you should consider rigging an active cooling solution if you do pick up this drive.  Check out their full review to see some very impressive numbers and boot times.

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"Samsung's SM951 SSD squeezes a quad-lane PCIe Gen3 interface onto a diminutive M.2 form factor. It offers incredible performance under the right conditions, but it also struggles in some scenarios. Our in-depth review explains the drive's strengths, weaknesses, and unique enthusiast appeal."

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Checking out PCIe SSDs, both the full sized version and the bite sized ones

Subject: Storage | April 7, 2015 - 02:49 PM |
Tagged: Plextor M6e, XP941, Samsung, DC P3700, Intel, PCIe SSD, M.2

The Tech Report have updated their storage testbed to properly benchmark PCIe SSDs, the M.2 versions as well as ones such as Intel's DC P3700 which takes up a full slot.  They contrast the performance with 10 popular SATA drives to give you an idea of the difference performance a PCI SSD will give you.  The rather expensive DC P3700 dominates almost every test they performed, apart from boot times in Windows 8.1 which are still well under 1 minute.  Read through the review with your own usage patterns in mind, in many cases a SATA SSD is still a great choice for many gamers and are much more affordable.  Then again, if you can afford a $2500 SSD, Intel's offering is definitely king.

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"SSDs have been bumping up against the limits of the Serial ATA interface for a while, but they don't have to be stuck behind the 6Gbps link. Native PCIe drives with way more bandwidth have made their way onto the market over the past year. We've tackled a trio of them—Plextor's M6e, Samsung's XP941, and Intel's server-grade DC P3700—with a fresh slate of benchmarks to see how the new breed stacks up against the SATA incumbents."

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Samsung is releasing new PCIe SSDs

Subject: General Tech | September 26, 2014 - 01:26 PM |
Tagged: PCIe SSD, Samsung, NVMe, SM1715, 3d nand

Samsung's new SM1715 NVMe PCIe SSD will use their new 3D V-NAND and come in a 3.2TB card, double the previous model and perhaps the smallest of the new line of SSDs they are working on.  The stats are fairly impressive at 750,000/130,000 random read/write IOPS or 3GB/sec read bandwidth and 2.2GB/sec write bandwidth if you prefer that measurement.  Samsung offers a nice mix of bandwidth and size with the new model and you can expect the competition to start releasing new models with increased capacities and speeds in the near future.  The Register was not provided the full set of specifications for the drive but those should be forthcoming in the near future.

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"Faster, fatter flash cards that speed up server applications are in demand, and Samsung has announced it is mass-producing a 3.2TB NVMe PCIe SSD using its 3D V-NAND technology. It says higher capacities are coming."

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Source: The Register

Plextor's M.2 PCIe SSD, the M6e

Subject: Storage | June 17, 2014 - 06:48 PM |
Tagged: plextor, Plextor M6e, M.2, PCIe SSD

The Plextor M6e M.2 SSD Series comes in 128, 256 and 512GB models and for those lacking a M.2 slot you can opt for the model below which ships with a PCIe 2.0 adapter for an additional $60.  One caveat that Legit Reviews offers immediately is that for many models of motherboards you must manually enable the M.2 slot in the UEFI, otherwise your drive may not be detected.  Once enabled properly and benchmarked the performance was found to be in line with the advertised speeds of 770MB/s sequential read and 580MB/s sequential write speeds for the 256GB version.  It would seem that the SATA 6Gbs limitation can indeed be overcome but of course that was not enough for the crew at Legit Reviews, they picked up a second M6e and RAIDed them to reach 1408MB/s read and 1098MB/s write!

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"Are you wanting to get beyond 550MB/s without having to do a RAID setup? Are you willing to try a new interface? Meet the Plextor M6e Series of PCI Express SSDs! Plextor is leading the charge for native PCIe SSDs and has come up with the first readily-available M.2 PCIe SSD on the consumer market. Other drives like the Samsung XP941 series have been around much longer, but they are OEM only and aren’t really meant for end users. Plextor has stepped up to the plate with a drive that had end user firmware updates, an impressive 5-year warranty and mouth watering speeds."

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OCZ Launches the RevoDrive 350 PCIe SSD

Subject: Storage | April 24, 2014 - 01:41 PM |
Tagged: RevoDrive 350, PCIe SSD, ocz, SF-2282

OCZ has announced the release of the RevoDrive 350, a PCIe SSD using the SandForce 2282 controller and available in 240, 480 and 960GB models which should be priced at  $530, $830 and $1300 respectively.  This is certainly more expensive than SATA SSDs but then again if you check out the three reviews you can see that this drive is also significantly faster than SATA drvies.

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SAN JOSE, CA – April 24, 2014 - OCZ Storage Solutions - a Toshiba Group Company and leading provider of high-performance solid state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, today announced the RevoDrive 350 Series with workstation-grade design capabilities and maximum performance for professional content creation, multimedia, and extreme gaming applications. Achieving three times the performance of SATA-based SSD solutions, RevoDrive 350 is based on proven performance architecture and features 19nm Toshiba NAND to complete OCZ’s portfolio transition to in-house flash, offering a high-performance yet cost-efficient SSD solution for bandwidth-intensive client applications.

Using the PCI Express Gen. 2 x8 interface and up to four LSI SF-2282 processors to offer more available bandwidth than the previous generation, RevoDrive 350 features up to 1.8GB/s sequential speeds and up to 140,000 4K random write IOPS, delivering SSD RAID performance without the hassle in an easy-to-deploy, single card solution. Enabling both performance and functionality for applications ranging from scientific computing to extreme gaming systems, this workstation-class storage product accelerates application performance and takes full advantage of today’s multithreaded processors and software, supporting up to 50GB of host writes per day for 3 years to provide leading endurance for media professionals over less robust consumer SSDs.

“The new RevoDrive 350 is built using proven technology with the added benefit of utilizing in-house premium Toshiba flash and OCZ’s proprietary Virtualized Controller Architecture (VCA) 2.0 to deliver highly efficient performance aggregation while reducing the burden on host resources,” said Daryl Lang, Senior Vice President of Product Management for OCZ Storage Solutions. “This next generation PCIe SSD is the ideal solution for performance-minded users looking to maximize both bandwidth and density for the complete gamut of gaming, content creation and workstation applications.”

VCA 2.0 effectively makes the RevoDrive 350’s multi-controller design appear and act as a single drive to the host system to enable drive-level management features such as secure erase, SMART, and TRIM. In addition to mass data storage, the RevoDrive 350 can also be used as bootable device, promoting ultra-fast system boot-ups.

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Improving on the previous generation, RevoDrive 350 features a sleek integrated heatsink that provides a more stable and cooler thermal SSD environment, and includes optimized drivers redesigned from the ground up with new Linux support in addition to Windows® OS. Available in 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB capacities, RevoDrive 350 provides ample space, and comes backed by a 3-year warranty.

Source: OCZ

Skip PCIe SSDs and jump into ULLtraDIMMs

Subject: General Tech | April 23, 2014 - 01:13 PM |
Tagged: mcs, ULLtraDIMM, diablo, PCIe SSD

Memory Channel Storage is exactly what it sounds like, non-volatile flash storage that is placed into DIMM slots to take advantage of the low latency connection between the CPU and more traditional DIMMs.  This may not help gamers to rack up higher scores but for server applications which have large queue depths resulting in very large IOPS.  This setup also allows for workload to be shared across memory channels, as opposed to a PCIe solution which is only able to connect to the lanes accessible to that particular slot.  There is a link to the white paper on The Register for those who wish to delve deeper.

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"Diablo provides Memory Channel Storage (MCS) technology to SanDisk’s subsidiary SMART Storage. It’s OEMed on to Supermicro and also IBM (soon to be Lenovo) for its x86 servers as ULLtraDIMM technology."

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Source: The Register

Plextor Launches M6e PCI-E SSD In United States, Initially A Newegg Exclusive

Subject: Storage | April 4, 2014 - 02:05 AM |
Tagged: plextor, PCIe SSD, pci-e ssd, M6e, M.2

Update: Plextor has provided MSRP pricing for all three drives (see table below). Further, the company expects Newegg prices to be at or possibly slightly below MSRP. The new pricing information certainly makes the drives more attractive than previous estimates.

Plextor showed off its M6e PCI-E SSD at CES earlier this year, and the drives will soon be available for purchase in the US. The M6e is a M.2 form factor SSD that uses a Marvell 88SS9183 controller and Toshiba Toggle NAND MLC flash to offer up to 512GB of speedy (and bootable!) storage.

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The Plextor M6e drive comes as a bare M.2 drive or as a version paired with a M.2-to-PCI-E adapter card for desktop PCs without the newer M.2 connector on the motherboard itself. In either case, the M6e utilizes two PCI-E 2.0 lanes and avoids the SATA III 6Gbps storage bottleneck altogether. The drive has its own BIOS implementation and should not require users to install separate drivers. The SSD supports both legacy and UEFI BIOSes along with standard storage technology such as AHCI, NCQ, encryption (AES-256), TRIM, SMART, et al.

The drives come in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB capacities. The M6e SSDs are rated with a 2,400,000 hour MTBF and come with a 5 year warranty. Both the 256GB and 512GB drives reportedly offer up 770 MB/s sequential reads, 105,000 4K random read IOPS, and 100,000 4K random write IOPS. The 512GB M6e SSD has the highest sequential write speeds at up to 625 MB/s with the 256GB model topping out at 580 MB/s. The 128GB version is a bit slower in sequential writes and random read/write IOPS due to fewer NAND chips and channels, but still manages to offer up to 770 MB/s reads, 335 MB/s writes, 96,000 4K random read IOPS, and 83,000 4K random write IOPS.

The table below lays out the speeds and estimated pricing of the drives at the available capacities according to Plextor. Fortunately, Tek Syndicate found that at least the 256GB drive performs very close to its rated speeds in their video review.

Plextor M6e Capacities 128GB 256GB 512GB
DRAM 256MB DDR3 512MB DDR3 1GB DDR3
Sequential Read* 770 MB/s 770 MB/s 770 MB/s
Sequential Write* 335 MB/s 580 MB/s 625 MB/s
Random Read IOPS* 96,000 105,000 105,000
Random Write IOPS* 83,000 100,000 100,000
Price MSRP $179.99 $299.99 $549.99

*All listed speeds are "up to n MB/s."

The drives will be available later this month at as-yet-unreleased MSRPs. The drives will initially be a Newegg exclusive in the US from April 7th to April 13th, after which it should make its way to other retailers. Note that the USD prices in the above chart are estimates based on pricing information scattered around the internet for the M6e drives. I have reached out to Plextor for comment and will update with official MSRP information as soon as possible.

Source: Plextor

Fusion-Io looks to Accelerate your databases

Subject: General Tech | February 11, 2014 - 03:15 PM |
Tagged: fusion-io, PCIe SSD, ION Accelerator

If you love fast storage Fusion-Io has new products you are going to love.  The first is the ION Accelerator, which can hold up to 32TB of flash storage in proper server form factor, the full 32TB likely being 4U.  They rate the speed of this device at 1.7 million random IOPS, 56 microsecond access latency and 23GB/sec of bandwidth.  They also released the hybrid ioControl line of appliances with a flash cache in front of HDDs which will provide great performance at a fraction of the cost of the purely flash ION.  There are three models of ioControl, the n5-50 with up to 1.46TB flash and 160TB, the n5-100 with handles up to 3.14TB of flash and 176TB of HDD and the largest n5-150 with 4.8TB of flash and 192TB of disk space.  Obviously the larger pool of flash can improve performance; to see the full spec sheets drop by The Register.

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"These two appliances are essential server/controllers running Fusion-io software with their innards stuffed full of Fusion’s PCIe flash cards, plus disks in the hybrid appliance product. The company says they are “for accelerating enterprise applications including Oracle, SAP HANA, and Microsoft SQL Server, as well as virtualisation workloads.”"

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Source: The Register

CES 2014: ADATA shows new PCIe SSD and unique OTG flash drive

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2014 - 11:20 PM |
Tagged: PCIe SSD, OTG, CES 2014, CES, adata

ADATA will be rolling out their own PCIe SSD, this solution opting for the SF3700 controller due out later this year. Their demo produced the same 1.8 Gb/sec sequential read speed we saw over at Kingston earlier today:

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While the above solution is SF3700-equipped M.2 adapted to standard PCIe by a ustom PCB, ADATA was also showing an operational PCB which had the components direct mounted:

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Note the heat sink to help dissipate the heat produced by the SF3700. We hope the heat output will be optimized as development of this new controller progresses.

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We also saw a unique spin on the OTG-style USB flash drive we'd been seeing all around CES this year:

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Instead of having a common center containing the flash memory, they have made the center section into more of an adapter to bridge the super-small USB drive (right) across to the micro-USB port (left). An advantage of this format is that you could use the same adapter to bridge pretty much any standard USB flash drive over to an Android device.

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CES 2014: Plextor launches M6e PCIe SSD (and a sneak peek)

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2014 - 11:02 PM |
Tagged: plextor, PCIe SSD, M6e, CES 2014, CES

This morning Plextor launched their new M6e PCIe SSD. Their press blast appears after the break, but before you do so, check out the pics we grabbed earlier today:

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The M6e is essentially an interposer board that simply interfaces the Marvell controller / Toshiba flash M.2 PCIe SSD to a standard desktop class PCIe connector. This solution is slower than the upcoming SF3700 solution being implemented by Kingston and ADATA, but this product is shipping now, while the SF3700 will not be production ready for at least another six months time.

Full press blast appears below:

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