Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 5, 2015 - 09:00 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: ces 2015, CES, Ultra II, SSD Plus, ssd, sandisk, msata
SanDisk has launched a few items of note this morning. There is a combination USB 3.0 / OTG capable flash drive, but the truly big news is a few updates to existing product lines.
First is an mSATA form factor of their existing and very popular Ultra II SSD. This is expected to perform similarly to its 2.5" SATA brother, but in the smaller form factor needed for some laptops, tablets, and so equipped desktop motherboards.
The other and perhaps most significant launch is the 'SSD Plus'. This is a sequel to SanDisk's original desktop SSD product, and is aimed squarely at the budget consumer that wants an SSD but doesn't necessarily need the best performing product.
The SSD Plus is SanDisk's attempt to beat the competing SSD prices right out of the gate, with launch MSRP's at $70 for 120GB ($0.58/GB) and $110 for 240GB ($0.46/GB). Those are among the lowest launch MSRP's we've seen to date, and that's not taking into account the sales that typically take place in the months after a given SSD launches.
We are going to be reviewing these as soon as we get them in. They are not meant to be super fast, but we doubt they would be what would be considered slow. So long as they are decent performers, that's a very good launch price.
Full press blast after the break.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 4, 2015 - 10:34 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: CES, storage visions, ssd, sandisk, hgst, He8, DriveSavers, ces 2015
Many of the storage announcements this year are under embargo until tomorrow or later in the week. Fortunately there was plenty of things on display out in the open - meaning fair game for me to photograph and present to you in this quick photo walkthrough.
The HGST Ultrastar He8 was on display. This is a 7-platter Helium filled HDD. The lower density atmosphere enables more platters and higher spin speeds without producing too much heat for the drive to handle.
The added platters also enable a very large capacity of 8TB, all while consuming less power than most other available non-He HDD's, which is attractive for enterprise usage where racks upon racks are filled with these drives.
The display model we saw here was covered with plexiglass, but the DriveSavers folks had one completely open in all of its glory:
Seeing the head pack out of a drive is rare, as you're supposed to only get to that point in a clean room environment (unless you don't want your data back, that is). DriveSavers told us the challenge to recovery from an He HDD is getting the Helium back into the housing prior to closing it back up after a failed component replacement. Here's a closer look at that head pack. Note the small logic die built into the ribbon - this component needs to be mounted as close as possible to the heads to minimize interference and signal loss from the very high frequency signal coming from the read heads:
DriveSavers also has recently announced data recovery capability and partnership with SanDisk. There is a separate announcement we will be covering later in the week, but since we're talking about SanDisk, here is a look at the non-embargoed products we were allowed to show for now:
From left: UltraDIMM, FusionIO Atomic, Optimus Max, Optimus MAX (opened), Optimus ECO. More interesting here is that SanDisk is able to pack 4TB into the Optimus form factor. They accomplish this by a unique folding PCB design shown below in unfolded form:
That's it for this update, more to follow shortly.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: General Tech, Storage | September 12, 2014 - 04:08 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: sandisk, sdxc, sdhc, sd card, 512GB
Assuming your camera, card reader, or other device fully conforms to the SDXC standard, Sandisk has developed a half-terabyte (512GB) memory card. Beyond being gigantic, it can be read at up to 95 MB/s and written at up to 90 MB/s, which should be enough to stream 4K video. Sandisk claims that it is temperature proof, shock proof, water proof, and x-ray proof. It also comes with a lifetime warranty and "RescuePRO Deluxe" recovery software but, honestly, I expect people would just use PhotoRec or something.
It should be noted that the SDXC standard covers memory cards up to 2TB so it will probably not be too long before we see another standard get ratified. What is next? SDUC? SDYC? SDALLTHEC? Blah! This is why IEEE assigns names sequentially.
The SanDisk Extreme PRO UHS-I SDHC/SDXC 512GB memory card should be available now, although I cannot yet find them online, for $799.99 MSRP.
Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2014 - 01:38 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ssd, kingston, Samsung, Intel, sandisk, rumour
If the information provided to DigiTimes is correct we may be in for a price war between SSD manufacturers. We have seen price drops in flash memory, especially with the advent of TLC and asynchronous flash which have been heartily approved by most enthusiasts. However there is a chance that in the coming months competition will start driving prices of SSDs down but may have the opposite impact on other products. Micron is planning on reducing the amount of memory it sells to other companies in order to ramp up its stock of SSDs and SanDisk has jumped into the market with both feet. You can also expect to see all the major manufacturers start putting out more M.2 drives as adoption of Intel's Z97 board grows.
"The SSD industry is heading for fierce price competition as major suppliers, including Micron Technology, Intel, Kingston Technology, SanDisk and Samsung Electronics, are gearing up efforts to outperform others, according to industry sources."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Skype to retire Windows and Mac versions after just five months @ The Inquirer
- AMD reveals Firepro W8100 workstation graphics card for high-end CAD @ The Inquirer
- Only 9,000 out of 300,000 servers were patched to fix Heartbleed bug last month @ The Inquirer
- Nouveau Re-Clocking Is Way Faster, Shows Much Progress For Open-Source NVIDIA @ Phoronix
- All Halfbrick Studios iOS Games Are FREE! @ TechARP
- 32,000 motherboards spit passwords in CLEARTEXT! @ The Register
- Linksys WRT1900AC Dual-Band Wireless Router @ eTeknix
- Legit Reviews’ E3 2014 Best of Show @ Legit Reviews
Subject: Editorial, Storage | June 17, 2014 - 09:56 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: sandisk, fusion-io, buyout
Fusion-io was once a behemoth of flash memory storage. Back when SSDs were having a hard time saturating SATA 3Gb/sec, Fusion-io was making fire breathing PCIe SSDs full of SLC flash and pushing relatively insane IOPS and throughput figures. Their innovations were a good formula at the time. They made the controller a very simple device, basically just a simple bridge from the PCIe bus to the flash memory. This meant that most of the actual work was done in the driver. This meant that Fusion-io SSDs were able to leverage the CPU and memory of the host system to achieve very high performance.
Fusion-io ioDrive 160 creams the competition back in 2010.
Being the king of IOPS back in the early days of flash memory storage, Fusion-io was able to charge a premium for their products. In a 2010 review, I priced their 160GB SSD at about $40/GB. In the years since, while flash memory prices (and therefore SSD products) have steadily dropped in price while achieving higher and higher performance figures, Fusion-io products have mostly remained static in price. All of this time, the various iterations of the ioDrive continued to bank on the original model of a simple controller and the bulk of the work taking place in the driver. This actually carries a few distinct disadvantages, in that the host system has to spent a relatively large amount of CPU and memory resources towards handling the Fusion-io devices. While this enables higher performance, it leaves less resources available to actually do stuff with the data. This ends up adding to the build cost of a system, as more CPU cores and memory must be thrown at the chassis handling the storage. In more demanding cases, additional systems would need to be added to the rack space in order to handle the additional storage overhead in addition to the other required workloads. Lastly, the hefty driver means Fusion-io devices are not bootable, despite early promises to the contrary. This isn't necessarily a deal breaker for enterprise use, but it does require system builders to add an additional storage device (from a different vendor) to handle OS duties.
In 2014, the other guys are making faster stuff. Note this chart is 4x the scale of the 2010 chart.
Lets fast forward to present times. Just over a week ago, Fusion-io announced their new 'Atomic' line of SSDs. The announcement seemed to fall flat, and did little to save the continuous decline of their stock price. I suspect this was because despite new leadership, these new products are just another iteration of the same resource consuming formula. Another reason for the luke warm reception might have been the fact that Intel launched their P3700 series a few days prior. The P3700 is a native PCIe SSD that employs the new NVM Express communication standard. This open standard was developed specifically for flash memory communication, and it allows more direct access to flash in a manner that significantly reduces the overhead required to perform high data throughputs and very high IO's per second. NVMe is a very small driver stack with native support built into modern operating systems, and is basically the polar opposite of the model Fusion-io has relied on for years now.
Intel's use of NVMe enables very efficient access to flash memory with minimal CPU overhead.
Fusion-io's announcement claimed "The Atomic Series of ioMemory delivers the highest transaction rate per gigabyte for everything from read intensive workflows to mixed workloads.". Let's see how this stacks up against the Intel P3700 - an SSD that launched the same week:
|Model||Fusion-io PX600||Intel P3700|
|Interface / Flash type||PCIe 2.0 x8 / 20nm MLC||PCIe 3.0 x4 / 20nm MLC|
|Read BW (GB/sec)||2.7||2.7||2.7||2.7||2.7||2.8||2.8||2.8|
|Write BW (GB/sec)||1.5||1.7||2.2||2.1||1.2||1.9||1.9||1.9|
|4k random read IOPS||196,000||235,000||330,000||276,000||450,000||460,000||450,000||450,000|
|4k random write IOPS||320,000||370,000||375,000||375,000||75,000||90,000||150,000||175,000|
|4k 70/30 R/W IOPS||Unlisted||150,000||200,000||240,000||250,000|
|Endurance / TB||12.0||12.3||12.3||12.3||18.3||18.3||18.3||18.3|
|Warranty||5 years||5 years|
We are comparing flagship to flagship (in a given form factor) here. Starting from the top, the Intel P3700 is available in generally smaller capacities than the Fusion-io PX600. Both use 20nm flash, but the P3700 uses half the data lanes at twice the throughput. Regarding Fusion-io's 'transaction rate per GB' point, well, it's mostly debunked by the Intel P3700, which has excellent random read performance all the way down to its smallest 400GB capacity point. The seemingly unreal write specs seen from the PX600 are, well, actually unreal. Flash memory writes take longer than reads, so the only logical explanation for the inversion we see here is that Fusion-io's driver is passing those random writes through RAM first. Writing to RAM might be quicker, but you can't sustain it indefinitely, and it consumes more host system resources in the process. Moving further down the chart, we see Intel coming in with a ~50% higher endurance rating when compared to the Fusion-io. The warranties may be of equal duration, but the Intel drive is (on paper / stated warranty) guaranteed to outlast the Fusion-io part when used in a heavy write environment.
For pricing, Intel launched the P3700 at a competitive $3/GB. Pricing data for Fusion-io is not available, as they are behind a bit of a 'quote wall', and no pricing at all was included with the Atomic product launch press materials. Let's take a conservative guess and assume the new line is half the cost/GB of their previous long-standing flagship, the Octal. One vendor lists pricing directly at $124,995 for 10.24TB ($12.21/GB) and $99,995 for 5.12TB ($19.53/GB), both of which require minumum support contracts as an additional cost. Half of $12/GB is still more than twice the $3/GB figure from Intel.
My theory as to why SanDisk is going for Fusion-io?
- A poor track record since the Fusion-io IPO have driven the stock price way down, making it prime for a buyout.
- SanDisk is one of the few remaining flash memory companies that does not own their own high end controller tech.
- Recent Fusion-io product launch overshadowed by much larger (Intel) company launching a competing superior product at a lower cost/GB.
So yeah, the buyout seemed inevitable. The question that remains is what will SanDisk do with them once they've bought them? Merging the two will mean that Fusion-io can include 'in house' flash and (hopefully) offer their products at a lower cost/GB, but that can only succeed if the SanDisk flash performs adequately. Assuming it does, there's still the issue of relatively high costs when compared to freshly competing products from Intel and others. Last but not least is the ioDrive driver model, which grows incresingly dated while the rest of the industry adopts NVMe.
Subject: General Tech, Storage | May 6, 2014 - 03:46 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: toshiba, ssd, sandisk, 4TB SSD
If you are an enterprise, SanDisk is getting a bit SAS-y with some pretty large SSDs. How large? 4TB. Not large enough? Why are you the way you are. Also, according to VR-Zone, 6TB and 8TB versions will follow, in 2015 (Update: 5/6/2014 @ 5:56pm EST -- VR-Zone might have meant "16TB"... as Tom's IT Pro claims to have heard from SanDisk). These drives will be produced with 19nm NAND, not utilizing the 15nm cells from their partnership with Toshiba. SanDisk claims their choice of 19nm was for reliability. Also, clearly, they are not suffering with density.
Speaking of reliability, the SanDisk warranty is rated in both time as well as the supported number of full drive writes per day. The Optimus MAX SSD is rated at one-to-three drive writes per day, or 4-12TB per day, over the course of its 5-year warranty.
4TB Optimus MAX SSDs are expected to launch "to select OEMs and through the channel" in Q3.
Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 5, 2014 - 10:04 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: wireless, sandisk, flash, CES 2014, CES
While at Storage Visions I checked out the new SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive. This is a flash drive capable as also doubling as a wireless network storage device - and it can do so under it's own power for 3-4 hours.
I really like the idea of such a device. Need several people to access the stuff on your drive? Click one button and you can! It charges off of the same USB connection used to connect it locally (i.e. the 'old school' way). Here's a closer view:
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Storage | July 15, 2013 - 04:05 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: sandisk, Extreme II series, ssd, mlc, slc
SanDisk has done something interesting with their new Extreme II SSD series, they have used both SLC and MLC flash in the drive to attempt to give users the best of both worlds. The drive still has a DDR cache sitting between the flash storage and the controller, but there is an nCache between the MLC flash and the DDR comprised of ~1GB of SLC flash. The idea is that the SLC can quickly accumulate a number of small writes into a larger single write block which can then be passed to the MLC flash for storage. Don't think of it as a traditional cache in which entire programs are stored for quick access but more as a write buffer which fills up and then passes its self to the long term storage media once it is full. The Tech Report put this drive through their tests and found it to be a great all around performer, not the fastest nor the best value but very good in almost any usage scenario.
"With MLC main storage and an SLC flash cache, the SanDisk Extreme II is unlike any other SSD we've encountered. We explore the drive's unique design and see whether it can keep up with the fastest SSDs on the market."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Corsair Neutron GTX 240GB SSD RAID 0 Performance @ Legit Reviews
- SanDisk Extreme II @ SSD Review
- OCZ Vector 256GB @ LanOC Reviews
- Silicon Power Velox V55 240GB SSD @ NikKTech
- Western Digital Se 4TB Review @ TechwareLabs
- Seagate Laptop Thin SSHD 500 GB HDD Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Seagate Desktop HDD.15 4TB / Barracuda XT 4TB @ Hardware.info
- Western Digital SE 4TB Hard Drive @ hardCOREware
- Toshiba Nearline MG03ACA400 4TB SATA III HDD @ NikKTech
- Western Digital Sentinel DX4000 16TB RAID5 4-Bay NAS @ eTeknix
- Icy Box IB-WF200HD @ Rbmods
- Sandisk Extreme microSDXC UHS-I 64GB Memory Card Review @ Legit Reviews
- Patriot SuperSonic Mini 16GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive @ NikKTech
- 49 SD and MicroSD cards tested: there's a difference @ Hardware.info
- Mach Xtreme MX-FX 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive @ NikKTech
Subject: General Tech, Storage | June 12, 2013 - 08:04 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: ultrabook, sandisk, Samsung, pci-e ssd, Marvell, MacBook Air, macbook, haswell, apple
As Scott covered earlier this week, Apple quietly announced an update to the MacBook Air line along side the headline-grabbing Mac Pro redesign preview. Being a MacBook Air user for the past 2 years, I decided it was time to replace my Sandy Bridge-based model with some new Haswell goodness. Today marked the first day of retail store availability, and I picked up an 11" model with 256GB SSD.
Naturally, when I got back to the office there was only one route to take, installing Windows and disassembling it. While Anand uncovered the fact that these MacBooks were hiding a new unadvertised option, in a PCI-Express based SSD, I wanted to check it out for myself.
When I did some digging, I discovered that while Anand found a Samsung based SSD in his MacBook, mine actually contained a model by Sandisk. I did a quick initial benchmark in OS X, and proceeded to inspect the hardware itself.
Subject: Storage | June 7, 2013 - 06:38 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: sandisk, Extreme II series, marvell 9187, 19nm, mlc
SanDisk claims their Extreme II can run at 550/510 MB/s sequential read/write, and 95,000/78,000 for random read/write IOPS, a claim which [H]ard|OCP just put to the test. The two major changes to this drive that will contribute to the difference in speed are the switch from a Sandforce controller to the Marvell 9187 controller and the MLC flash which is 19nm in this drive. Testing shows that the drive does live up to expectations though they did point out the lack of encryption as a weakness. Prices for the drives are around the magic $1/GB mark, making this drive a solid contender in a very populous market.
"SanDisk releases its Extreme II series SSD, which features the Marvell 9187 controller in concert with 19nm eX2 ABL MLC NAND. The competition is heating up as another manufacturer with massive foundry capabilities releases a new SSD. Will the Extreme II "blaze through your day" and "keep you ahead of deadlines?"
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- SanDisk Extreme II Series 120GB, 240GB and 480GB SSD Review @ Legit Reviews
- Seagate 600 240GB SATA III 6Gbps SSD Review @ Legit Reviews
- OCZ Vertex 3.20 240GB SSD Review @ HiTech Legion
- Crucial M500 480GB SSD Review @ Hardware Canucks
- LSI SandForce Next Gen SSD Controller With 1800MB/s Speeds Discovered at Computex @ SSD Review
- Seagate's 600 SSD solid-state drive @ The Tech Report
- KingFast E-Drive KF2510SCF 120GB 2.5" SATA 3 SLC SSD Review @ ModSynergy
- KingFast E-Drive 2.5'' SATAIII SLC 120GB SSD Review @ Madshrimps
- OCZ Vertex 3.20 240GB SSD review: Vertex 3 with 20nm flash @ Hardware.info
- ADATA DashDrive Elite UE700 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive @ eTeknix
- Zalman U3M32 32GB SLC USB 3.0 Flash Drive @ Funkykit
- Seagate's Desktop HDD.15 4TB hard drive @ The Tech Report
- Seagate Constellation ES 1TB Hard Drive Review @ PCSTATS
- Adaptec (by PMC) ASR-72405 RAID Controller (X2) Review - 1M IOPS & 12GB/s Thru 24 SMART Optimus SSDs @ SSD Review
- Vantec NexStar WiFi Hard Drive Dock Review @ Legit Reviews
- ioSafe N2 NAS / RAID Storage Solution Review @ OCIA
- Synology DS713+ NAS @ TechwareLabs
- QNAP TurboNAS TS-221 NAS Server @ NikKTech
- Infortrend EonNAS Pro 510 Review @ TechwareLabs