Subject: General Tech | October 22, 2015 - 02:12 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: yoga 900, xr321ck, western digital, video, valve, ultrawide, steam link, Steam Controller, sandisk, podcast, Lenovo, freesync, acer, 3440x1440
PC Perspective Podcast #372 - 10/22/2015
Join us this week as we discuss the Steam Controller and Steam Link, Acer XR321CK Ultrawide Freesync Display, and more!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano, and Sebastian Peak
Program length: 1:29:18
Week in Review:
0:40:00 Learn how to add narration to your Kindle ebooks. Visit amazon.com/pcper
News item of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
Subject: Storage | October 21, 2015 - 09:22 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: western digital, WD, sandisk, ssd, hard drives, solid-state drive
Western Digital has agreed to purchase Sandisk for $19 billion in cash and stock, a deal which values Sandisk at $86.50 per share and represents a 12% premium over yesterday's closing price. Current Western Digital CEO Steve Milligan will remain in charge of the company, which retains its headquarters in Irvine, California, while SanDisk's CEO Sanjay Mehrotra is expected to remain with Western Digital and join their board of directors.
Sandisk had reportedly been looking for a buyer, with Micron the other likely candidate according to this morning's report from The Wall Street Journal. The move should help to better position Western Digital in the SSD space, something rival Seagate appeared to be focused on when purchasing LSI last year. Neither company has any significant presence in the consumer solid-state market dominated by Samsung, and it will be interesting to see where WD goes with the Sandisk brand.
Subject: Storage | September 23, 2015 - 02:28 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: kingston, HyperX Fury, Ultra II, sandisk, SandForce SF-2281, Marvell 88SS9189
The Kingston HyperX Fury 240GB SSD is currently $90 and the same size SanDisk Ultra II is $86 though the 960GB model that The Tech Report actually reviewed is a relatively decent $300. At those prices they can be quite attractive although there is a big difference between the two drives, Kingston's uses SandForce's SF-2281 while SanDisk opted for the Marvell 88SS9189 controller. Once the benchmarks started the difference did not show in real world applications, both are good performers overall though the HyperX did show some delays in the IOMeter testing. The OCZ Arc 100 that they included did end up on top overall, a strong showing for a drive that is getting a little long in the tooth.
"Kingston's HyperX Fury 240GB SSD and Sandisk's Ultra II 960GB drive both offer solid-state storage at budget-friendly prices for their capacity. We put them through their paces to see whether they're worthy of builders' hard-earned cash."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Intel SSD DC P3608 @ The SSD Review
- The Compact NAS Battle: Synology DS414slim vs. QNAP TS-453mini @ Legion Hardware
- Seagate NAS Pro 6-Bay 24TB NAS Server Review @ NikKTech
- PowerNAS CMA 8TB @ Kitguru
- Synology DiskStation DS715 @ Kitguru
- Kingston DataTraveler microDUO 3C USB 3.1 Drive @ Modders-Inc
- Kingston 32GB Data Traveler Micro Duo 3C Review @ OCC
Subject: Storage | August 25, 2015 - 06:30 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: sandisk, Ultra II, Marvell 88SS9189, Marvell 88SS9190
We've seen Sandisk's Ultra series before but the Ultra II is relatively new to the market. If anything, they have made the pricing even more attractive, the top end 960GB model is a mere $310, $0.32/GB is getting closer to Ryan's preferred SSD pricing. As far as the advertised speeds, sequential read and write remain constant at 550MB/s and 500MB/s but IOPS vary by the size of the drive from 81K/80K random read/write for the 120GB model to 99K/83K for the 960GB model. [H]ard|OCP's testing shows performance more or less in line with the OCZ Trion 100 but somewhat slower than the Samsung 850 EVO, both of which are almost the exact same price. Check out the full review to see the exact differences, or simply rejoice in the fact that SSDs are approaching prices below $0.30/GB.
"Most of you know that the easiest way to get a performance boost from your old mechanical hard drive is to get rid of it and replace it with a shiny new SSD. SanDisk's Ultra II offers a lot of capacity for the money and comes with a 3 year warranty. Is that enough to compete in a market where prices are falling across every category?"
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- ADATA XPG SX930 Gaming SSD @ Benchmark Reveiws
- Samsung SSD 850 Evo 2TB @ Legion Hardware
- Toshiba HK3R2 960 GB @ techPowerUp
- QNAP TS-453mini NAS @ Kitguru
- Lexar Professional 2000x SDXC UHS-II Card @ SSD Review
- Toshiba AL13SXB600N 600GB SAS 6Gb/s HDD Review @ NikKTech
- Seagate 2TB Backup Plus Slim Portable Drive @ Kitguru
- Seagate Personal Cloud 2 Bay @ Kitguru
- Thecus N5810 Pro 5-bay NAS @ techPowerUp
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.