Podcast #198 - Maingear Shift with 3x7970s, Galaxy GTX 680, Intel PCIe SSD and more!

Subject: General Tech | April 19, 2012 - 02:17 PM |
Tagged: ssd, podcast, pcie, nvidia, maingear, Intel, amd, 910, 7970, 680

PC Perspective Podcast #198 - 04/19/2012

Join us this week as we talk about a Maingear Shift with 3x7970s, a Galaxy GTX 680, an Intel PCIe SSD 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: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malvantano

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

Program length: 1:15:40

Program Schedule:

  1. 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. MAINGEAR Shift System Review - Triple HD 7970s and Sandy Bridge-E
  6. Western Digital VelociRaptor 1TB Review - 10K RPM Hits a Larger Capacity
  7. Galaxy GeForce GTX 680 2GB Graphics Card Review
  8. This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  9. Intel Releases 910 Series Enterprise PCIe SSD
  10. Valve, tired of rumors, announces wearable computing
  11. AMD Three for Free promo: HD 7900 Price drop & free games
  12. Intel Announces Intel Solid-State Drive 330 Series
  13. PC Perspective Live Review Recap: ASUS Z77 Motherboards
  14. New Fusion ioFX Will Accelerate Professional Workloads
  15. Microsoft Details Four Windows 8 SKUs, Seems Reasonable
  16. The never ending story of TSMC's 28nm process
  17. NVIDIA Teases Another Graphics Card
  18. Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Linksys power line networking...sucks.
    2. Jeremy: Something to do with that old walkman you haven't thrown out
    3. Josh: Finally! Down in price!
    4. Allyn: Stable Internet
  19. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  20. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  21. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  22. Closing

Source:

Intel Releases 910 Series Enterprise PCIe SSD

Subject: Storage | April 12, 2012 - 10:10 AM |
Tagged: ssd, pcie, Intel

Intel has officially entered the Enterprise PCIe SSD market with the release of their 910 Series SSD. Available in 400 and 800GB capacities, this half-height PCIe 2.0 8x card boasts over 180,000 4k IOPS and 2GB/sec sequential on reads. Writes are roughly half of that - limited by the 25W PCIe spec power available to the card, but since many server motherboards have no issue providing a bit more power (28W), those numbers can be boosted to ~120,000 4k IOPS and 1.5GB/sec via end-user reconfiguration possible through the Intel management software.

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The 910 is not all-Intel in its construction. While the flash is High Endurance Technology IMFT, it is driven by an Intel-tweaked Hitachi SAS controller, which is in turn controlled by an LSI 2008 Falcon SAS HBA. This means the storage is presented to the system as either two or four SCSI LUNs. This choice makes sense as you can attain higher IOPS when you let a high end server decide how to spread that data around. It also allows for more flexibility as each 200GB segment of storage appears as its own unit, meaning databases can be distributed amongst them. Unfortunately, this configuration choice means the 910 will not be bootable, at least not with all LUNs paired together.

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Intel is taking endurance seriously with this product. They claim 30x over standard MLC expected lifetime with their High Endurance Technology, and they mean it - The 910 is rated and guaranteed to sustain writing 10x its capacity for each and every day of the 5-year warranty period! That comes to 3EB (yes, EB, or 3,000 TB) for the 800GB model!

Prices start at $1,929 for 400GB and $3,859 for 800GB. Intel is sampling to us shortly, and we will get the full performance review up as soon as humanly possible upon its arrival.

Full press release after the break.

Super Talent Releases New RAIDDrive upStream PCI-E SSD

Subject: Storage | March 22, 2012 - 07:28 AM |
Tagged: super talent, ssd, pcie

Super Talent, a Silicon Valley based company most well known for their RAM and SSD products, today launched a new Solid State Drive (SSD) that eschews the SATA interface for a PCIe x8 connector. The new RAIDDrive upStream upstream joins the RAIDDrive family of PCIe SSDs and utilizes MLC (multi-level cell) NAND flash to deliver between 220 GB and 960 GB of fast storage.

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According to the company, their new RAIDDrive SSD is comprised of four Sandforce based SSDs in a RAID array using an LSI RAID controller to deliver up to 1 GB/s of performance. Specifically, access time of the upStream SSD is 0.1ms, and has a maximum read and write speed of 1.0 GB per second and 900 MB/s respectively. The 460 GB upStream drive was benchmarked (granted, by Super Talent) using HD Tune which showed an average sequential read speed of 832.9 MB/s and an average sequential write speed of 719.0 MB/s. As far as random 4 KB IOPS, the drive hit 3606 read IOPS and 5159 write 4KB IOPS.

Super Talent has further benchmarks and information on the new RAIDDrive upStream SSDs in this product data sheet (PDF). Unfortunately, there is no official word on pricing or availability yet, though Engadget has said the Super Talent upStream drives should be hitting store shelves in April.

If I had to guess; however, this drive is going to be expensive.  Drives like these are a boon for businesses doing work that requires large amount of throughput (CAD work, animation, working and serving large databases, et al), but are still largely priced out of the market of most PC builders.  Here's hoping that high performance PCIe SSDs trickle down to computer enthusiasts as fast as possible!

Source: Super Talent

OCZ shows a new R4 - the Z-Drive R4 CloudServ, with 16 (!) SandForce 2200 SSD's!

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2012 - 04:10 PM |
Tagged: z-drive, ssd, r4, pcie, ocz, CES

OCZ has a monster of a Z-Drive R4 on display at Storage Visions. We looked at the original 1.6TB R4 back in September. That one had 8 SF-2200 controllers on-board. This new R4 has 16!

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This R4 has a beast of a VCA 2.0 controller. It's cooled by heat pipes, can handle up to 16 SATA links, address up to 16TB of storage, and pass up to 1.4 million IOPS across a PCIe bus at 6.5GB/sec (yes, GigaBytes). Note: this is not the R5, it's just a *really* fast R4.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

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

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: OCZ Technology
Tagged: z-drive, ssd, r4, pcie, pci-e, ocz

Introduction

Introduction:

Back in June of last year, OCZ released the RevoDrive, followed up rather quickly by the RevoDrive x2. A further jump was made with the introduction of VCA 2.0 architecture with the RevoDrive 3 and 3 x2. Each iteration pushed the envelope further as better implementations of VCA were introduced, using faster and greater numbers of PCIe channels, linked to faster and greater numbers of SandForce controllers.

While the line of RevoDrives was tailored more towards power users and mild server use, OCZ has taken their VCA 2.0 solution to the next level entirely, putting their sights on full blown enterprise purposing. With that, we introduce the OCZ Z-Drive R4:

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Continue to the full review for all the details!

Internet Machines' PCI-Express Patent Lawsuit Targets Numerous System Vendors

Subject: General Tech | September 22, 2011 - 12:20 PM |
Tagged: Troll, pcie, PCI Express, Patent, Lawsuit

There is an expression that states "everything is bigger in Texas," and that goes double for patent lawsuits. A company by the name of Internet Machines MC LLC recently lodged a complaint with the Eastern District of Texas for alleged patent infringement by a number of OEM manufacturers, system builders, and retailers of computers containing PCI Express switching technologies. Specifically, Internet Machines holds US Patent number 7,539,190, a rather generalized patent that covers multicasting in a shared address space wherein data is stored in a buffer and then forwarded to its intended port. The companies being called to court include PLX Technology, Alienware, Dell, Samsung, and others. While the computers that are assembled using PCI Express may well be utilizing switching technology, the fact that Internet Machines is going after system assemblers and retailers-- companies that work with computers but do not design and build the motherboards and other components themselves-- instead of the standards body that designs and maintains the PCI Express standard that everyone in the industry uses raises a question of integrity on the part of Internet Machines. Are their motives true in defending their patents, or is it the method of operation of a patent troll?

 

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A diagram describing the patent in question

A system builder who wishes to remain anonymous contacted us with further details on the patent case in question. It seems that this patent showdown is not Internet Machines’ first rodeo. They have previously pursued other companies over US Patents 7,421,532 and 7,454,552 which cover switching with transparent and non-transparent ports. The case was settled in 2010, and it seems that Internet Machines (a seemingly no longer operating company) is not satisfied with the settlement. Internet Machines is moving for a jury trial in this latest round of lawsuits and concerns yet another data switching patent for PCI Express that covers multicasting in a shared address space.  It widens the net further by including numerous system builders and OEMs that build devices that contain PCI Express technology but do not deal with the PCIe standard directly. How the company has been able to patent aspects of the PCI Express standard is unclear; however, they patent is worded in such an ambiguous way that it could apply to almost anything they wanted it to.

Beyond the ambiguous use of the patent system is the issue of targeting companies that have little control over the PCI Express specification to begin with. Our source worded it best in stating that PCI Express is a standard that everyone uses. The companies targeted by Internet Machines’ recent lawsuit do not manufacture motherboards or control the PCI Express standard. “We build computers, that’s it.” What are your thoughts on the issue? Let us know in the comments below.

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: OCZ Technology
Tagged: ssd, PCIe SSD, pcie, ocz

Introduction

Introduction:

Back in June of last year, OCZ released the RevoDrive, followed up rather quickly by the RevoDrive x2. Both models represented a new way of economically bundling multiple SSD controllers behind an integrated RAID solution. This broke the mold for storage, as the vast majority of end users were stuck with the common 2.5" form factor SATA SSD (as well as trying to figure out where to put one inside their desktop case full of 3.5" drive bays). Since all desktops had PCIe slots, the Revo concept just seemed to make sense.

Now on the 1-year mark since the original Revo, we have the RevoDrive 3. OCZ has opted to skip the staggering of releases and is also releasing the 4-channel version, the RevoDrive 3 x2. Today we will be looking at the latter, in 480GB form factor. Here's a look at the new silicon:

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Continue to the full review for all the details!

Super Fast PCI Express Cable Capable of 32 Gbps Announced By The PCI SIG

Subject: General Tech, Storage | June 23, 2011 - 07:30 PM |
Tagged: thunderbolt, storage, pcie, PCI SIG, Opitical, Intel

Just as Intel is slowly persuading its super fast data interconnect, the PCI Special Interest Group is already introducing their own competing standard in the form of a PCI Express cable that is slated to be capable of a drool-worthy 32Gbps (gigabits per second). Planned to be constructed from copper wire, the cable standard will be launched as part of the PCI Express 3.0 standard and will be able to pipe both data and power through a thin, flattened cable up to 3 meters (9.84 feet) in length.

The PCIe cable is able to achieve this high bandwidth by combining up to four parallel lanes, each capable of 8 Gigatransfers per second (GT/s). Further, it will be able to provide approximately 20 watts of maximum power to peripheral devices. Speedy connectivity to fast SSD based portable hard drives as well as to tablet and smart phone devices for sync, additional touch interface, and external displays are all aims of the PCIe cable. It is squarely aimed to compete with Intel-backed Thunderbolt; however, the PCI SIG has not stated as such, yet. The interest group was quoted by EE Times in saying "There are solutions [like this] in the industry--Thunderbolt is one of them, and some companies are doing own thing,"

 

Intel's Thunderbolt and the PCIe cable will soon enter the Thunderdome to battle for supremacy

The PCIe cable is expected to be ready for peripheral device makers’ integration as early as June 2013. In the future, the cable is likely to be included in the PCI Express 4.0 standard where it will receive an upgrade to 16 GT/s lanes, and from their it will subsequently receive an upgrade to an optical based transmission material.

You can read more about the new PCI Express cable as well as its merits as a open standard (and how that affects Thunderbolt’s proprietary nature) over at EE Times.

Source: EE Times

MSI shows Gen3 PCIe, X79 Motherboard and GTX 580 Extreme

Subject: Graphics Cards, Motherboards, Shows and Expos | June 1, 2011 - 07:57 AM |
Tagged: computex, msi, pcie, x79, 990fx, z68

MSI had quite a showing at this year's Computex starting with a host of new motherboards based on the Z68 chipset.  The most interesting of which was the new Z68A-GD80 (G3) that in addition to including all the features of the Sandy Bridge processor, SLI, CrossFire, Lucid Virtu and things like OC Genie II and Military Class Components II, is the first motherboard we have seen that integrates support for the PCI Express 3.0 specification.

msi01.jpg

MSI was able to do this by simply adhering to the already existing PCIe 3.0 specifications and claims the performance doubles from 8 GB/s up to 16 GB/s (for a x16 connection).  Even though there are no PCIe 3.0 accessories or graphics cards on the market today, MSI has seen performance improvements when testing PCI Express based solid state drives like the OCZ Revo.  We are eager to get this board in the hands of our storage guru and see what advantages it offers users today.

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Next up is the new MSI 990FXA-GD80 motherboard based on AMD's latest 990FX chipset.  We actually have one of these in the office and should have a review up shortly.  With support for today's Phenom processors and tomorrow's Bulldozer-core based designs, I think the 990FX chipset will find its way into a lot of users machines.

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Even further out into the future, we saw a glimpse of an MSI engineering sample for the pending Socket 2011 processors from Intel, the MSI X79A-GD65.  Supporting the upcoming Sandy Bridge-E processor family and a new quad-channel memory controller, you can clearly see the 2011 socket is HUGE and requires the memory slots to be divided up on either side of it. A lot will change more than likely between now and this boards release but it is cool to see a preview of what is in store for us!

msi04.jpg

Finally, MSI did have another card in the Lightning series to show off, the N580GTX Lightning Xtreme Edition.  This card has all the same engineering features of the previous Lightning models but adds in a couple of unique features called Smart Temp Sensor and Dust Removal.

msi05.jpg

The Smart Temp Sensor is actually a coating on the fan that changes from blue to white in appearance as the ambient temperature increases.  If the inside of your chassis hits the 45C mark then the fans will be completely white and should give you an indication of system stability.  My only concern is that even users with windows on their cases will have trouble seeing the fans on the graphics card cooler posted at a right angle. 

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The Dust Removal feature is more interesting in that it runs the fans on the Xtreme Edition in the reverse direction for the first 30 seconds of the power cycle and then return to the proper direction for cooling the heatsinks.  The idea is that the 30 second reverse interval will help clear out dust from the heatsink and from the fan blades itself saving users in the long run.

Another interesting feature coming very soon to Android phone users is the ability to monitor and overclock your MSI graphics cards via an Afterburner app for your phone.  This will be available this month or early in July for Android and *maybe* by the end of the year for iPhone.

Computex 2011 Coverage brought to you by MSI Computer and Antec

Source: MSI