Subject: Storage | August 12, 2013 - 09:00 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: ssd, silicon motion, sata, controller
You may very well have never heard of Silicon Motion (SMI), a major priducer of flash memory controllers, even if you've followed the SSD industry for a while. This is primarily because the vast majority of their products have been tailored for the devices that folks tend to not crack open during review, namely USB memory sticks, eMMC devices, and SD / CF cards:
Creating controllers in those arenas will tend to force a company to do a few things very well:
- Handle a very limited number of flash channels with the greatest speed possible, due to packaging requirements for very small devices.
- Operate at the lowest power draw possible as to meet the current draw limits of the host interface.
This has resulted in SMI developing a 6Gb/sec SSD controller, dubbed the SM2246EN, using the above techniques:
The block diagram shows what appears to be a fairly standard 4-channel configuration, though there are fewer steps in the pipeline as compared to SandForce and other controllers, which should help decrease latency and improve efficiency. There is also no compression engine, which means power consumption should be further reduced.
Read on for further details on specs and power consumption, followed by the full press blast.
Subject: Storage | July 18, 2013 - 01:12 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: tlc, ssd, slc, sata, Samsung, cache, 840 evo
Samsung's release of the 840 EVO earlier today likely prompted some questions, such as what type of flash does it employ and how does it achieve such high write speeds. Here is the short answer, with many slides in-between, starting off with the main differences between the 840 and the 840 EVO:
So, slightly increased specs to help boost drive performance, and an important tidbit in that the new SSD does in fact keep TLC flash. Now a closer look at the increased write specs:
Ok, the speeds are much quicker, even though the flash is still TLC and even on a smaller process. How does it pull off this trick? Tech that Samsung calls TurboWrite.
A segment of the TLC flash is accessed by the controller as if it were SLC flash. This section of flash can be accessed (especially written) much faster. Writes are initially dumped to this area and that data is later moved over to the TLC area. This happenes as it would in a normal write-back cache - either during idle states or once the cache becomes full, which is what would happen during a sustained maximum speed write operation that is larger than the cache capacity. Here is the net effect with the cache in use and also when the cache becomes full:
For most users, even the smallest cache capacity will be sufficient for the vast majority of typical use. Larger caches appear in larger capacities, further improving performance under periods of large write demand. Here's the full spread of cache sizes per capacity point:
So there you have it, Samsung's new TurboWrite technology in a nutshell. More to follow (along with a performance review coming in the next few days). Stay tuned!
Subject: Storage | July 17, 2013 - 09:06 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: Samsung, ssd, sata
Good morning from Seoul, Korea!
We're covering the 2013 Samsung Global SSD Summit, and the press embargo has just been lifted on a new SSD - the 840 EVO:
The EVO will push 10nm-class (1x nm) flash, promises increased (2x-3x) write speed improvements over the 840, and will be available in capaities as high as 1TB:
Full press blast after the break, and more to follow as the Samsung SSD Summit continues.
Introduction, Specifications and Packaging
Last month OCZ introduced the Vertex 3.20, which took their popular Vertex line to 20nm flash territory. The Vertex 3.20 used the same tride and true SandForce controller used in previous iterations of that line. The older Vertex line was starting to show its age, and the move to 20nm didn't really help the issue. We knew it was just a matter of time before they brought 20nm to their Indilinx Barefoot line, and that time is now. The new model suggests OCZ may abandon the Vector name, and resurrect the performance of their flagship product line by shifting their Indilinx Barefoot 3 (BF3-M10) over to a newly dubbed Vertex 450:
Lets jump right into the specs:
- Capacity: 128, 256GB, 512GB
- Sequential read: 540 MB/sec
- Sequential write: 525 MB/sec
- Random read IOPS (up to): 85 k-IOPS
- Random write IOPS (up to): 90 k-IOPS
Subject: Storage | February 15, 2013 - 04:26 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: vector, ssd, sata, ocz, mlc, Indilinx Barefoot
Just in case you forgot how impressive the OCZ Vector 256GB is, Overclockers Club would like to remind you. The Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller is matched with low cost 25nm MLC IMFT NAND modules and 512MB of DDR3-1600 RAM for a cache. That translates to incredibly fast performance but without the high price of other drives. The 256GB model sits currently just under $1/GB, it is not the least expensive SSD available but when you consider the speeds this drive operates at it is the best value. Remind yourself where OCZ's Vector sits in the pack by reading on at OCC.
"OCZ's Vector line of solid state drives is every bit the performer that the Vertex 4 drives are with very few exceptions. In many of the tests, the two fastest drives were the Vertex 4 and OCZ's latest Indilinx Barefoot 3-equipped Vector. The only real weakness I saw was that the Vector was less frugal with the CPU cycles than the other Indilinx equipped drives. OCZ's move to the Barefoot 3 controller is beginning to pay dividends as it uses the technologies it has available in-house after the Indilinx and PLX acquisitions. It's taken a while to go all-in but that time has come. As the first totally in-house designed controller from OCZ, it seems to have hit on a controller that does better at managing real world usage scenarios and handling both compressible and incompressible data streams.”
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- OCZ Vector 256GB Solid State Drive Review @ OCIA
- Micron P400m 200GB Enterprise SSD @ Tweaktown
- Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD @ Tweaktown
- Samsung 840 SSD Storage Endurance Testing - TLC to the End @ Tweaktown
- kingston HyperX 3K 120GB SSD Review @ XtremeComputing
- Intel DC S3700 800GB Enterprise SSD @ Tweaktown
- Intel 525 Series mSATA SSD Performance Roundup @ Legit Reviews
- Plextor M5M 128GB review: the mSATA version of the M5 Pro @ Hardware.info
- Plextor 128GB M5M mSATA @ Kitguru
- MyDigitalSSD BP4 120GB SSD Review - SATA 3 At an Amazing Price @ SSD Review
- Micron P400m @ AnandTech
- Intel 525 mSATA SSD Review – Every Capacity Tested @ HCW
- Intel SSD 335 vs. Intel SSD 330 Review: Inexpensive SSD Evolution @ X-bit Labs
- Western Digital Red Hard Disk Drives for Network Attached Storage @ X-bit Labs
- Seagate Enterprise Capacity 3.5 V.3 4TB SATA III HDD Review @ NikKTech
- HighPoint RocketStor 5322 Review @ OCC
- Kingston Wi-Drive MobileLite Wireless Card Reader Preview @ Legit Reviews
- Kingston DataTraveler HyperX Predator 512GB Flash Drive Review @ Techgage
- Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate G3 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Review @ NikKTech
- SanDisk Extreme 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive @ Tweaktown
- Thecus N5550 @ Legion Hardware
- Thecus Top Tower N8850 review: a powerful eight-disk NAS device @ Hardware.info
- 24 two-bay NAS device group test @ Hardware.info
- Transcend StoreJet 25M3 1 TB External USB 3.0 HDD Review @ OCC
Subject: Storage | November 27, 2012 - 04:47 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: vector, ssd, sata, ocz, mlc, barefoot 3
There are three members of the OCZ Vector SSD, the 128GB and 256GB models will have 512MB cache and the 512GB model 1GB of cache, each costing a bit over $1/GB. Inside is the brand new Barefoot 3 controller which features 8 channels and both an ARM cortex processor and OCZ's secret sauce, the Aragon co-processor. On paper, the 256GB and 512GB models have the same performance specs with the 128GB model having slightly slower sequential writes and 4k reads, though still the speeds are impressive enough that you won't suffer unduly. [H]ard|OCP takes you through their torture test here and of course if you haven't seen what Allyn did to them, get reading!
"OCZ soft launches the 256GB Vector SSD with its first OCZ-proprietary controller, the Barefoot 3. Geared for steady state performance, the OCZ Vector SSD is designed with the end user in mind. Today we take a look at the Vector and the new controller architecture and see how these fare in our steady state testing."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- OCZ's Vector SSD @ The Tech Report
- OCZ Vector SSD Review - Indilinx Barefoot 3 Becomes Reality @ SSD Review
- OCZ Vector 256GB @ TechSpot
- OCZ Vector 256GB @ Kitguru
- OCZ Vector SSD Launch @ Hardwareheaven
- OCZ Vector 256GB @ Tweaktown
- OCZ Vector 256GB SSD @ Hardware.info
- OCZ Vector SSD @ Guru of 3D
- OCZ Vector 256GB SSD Review @ Hardware Canucks
- OCZ Vector 256GB Indilinx Barefoot 3 SSD Review @ Legit Reviews
- Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB SSD @ DVHardware
Subject: Storage | November 27, 2012 - 03:48 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: vector, ssd, sata, ocz, mlc, barefoot 3
SAN JOSE, CA – November 27, 2012 - OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, today announced the availability of its new SATA III-based Vector SSD Series featuring the company’s next-generation Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller. OCZ’s worldwide technology hardware and firmware teams developed the new controller silicon and firmware completely in-house to enable full design control over the Vector SSD Series roadmap, while delivering exceptional I/O performance, enhanced reliability and endurance, and a host of differentiated features to empower high performance laptops, desktops, and workstations with superior storage capabilities.
OCZ Vector SSDs provide exceptional input/output operations per second (IOPS) performance and the cutting-edge Barefoot 3 controller consistently delivers superior sustained performance over time regardless of whether the data streams are in compressed or uncompressed formats. As a result, this groundbreaking SSD series provides faster file transfers and boot-ups, and a quicker, more responsive storage experience.
“The development of the Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller architecture is a crowning achievement in our company’s history, being our first controller silicon and firmware completely designed in-house from start to finish using all of the OCZ technology development teams,” said Ralph Schmitt, CEO for OCZ Technology. “These are the first SSD products delivered under the new OCZ and leverages cutting-edge controller technology to deliver a groundbreaking level of sustained performance and reliability for customers seeking a superior SSD for their high performance computing applications.”
The Vector SSD Series is available in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB capacities, and delivers read bandwidth of up to 550 MB/s, write bandwidth of up to 530 MB/s, random read performance of up to 100,000 IOPS. The Vector’s ultra-slim, 7mm sleek alloy housing supports a wide spectrum of computers including the latest thin form factor notebooks, and each Vector SSD is also bundled with a 3.5-inch desktop adapter bracket and Acronis® True Image™ cloning software to enable quick and easy data transfer from legacy hard disk drive (HDD) storage to high performance Vector SSD storage.\
Endurance was a major priority in the design of the Vector Series, and the highly intelligent Barefoot 3 controller includes an advanced suite of flash management tools that can analyze and dynamically adapt to increasing NAND vulnerabilities as flash cells wear or process geometries get smaller. In this way, the Barefoot 3 controller overcomes the shortcomings associated with MLC NAND flash memory and is specified to deliver 20GB host writes per day for 5 years. This 5-year warranty ensures that Vector SSDs can be reliably used in a wide range of high performance computing environments over an extended lifetime.
Introduction, Specifications and Packaging
OCZ has been in the SSD game for quite some time, and has previously done quite well mixing and matching hardware from other vendors into solutions of their own. It was a good way to put out a large array of products, fitting many a niche for a decent cost. Further, OCZ has always been known as somewhat of an underdog who tailored their parts more towards the power user / tweaker crowd. All of that said, they have been taking steps to become more of a major player in the SSD market, and the fruits of that labor begin their payoff today, with the release of the OCZ Vector:
A new Indilinx Controller?
The Vector comes equipped with a bunch of firsts for OCZ. The controller is OCZ's first 100% in-house part, and has been engineered from the ground up to be as high of a performing part as possible. There has been a paradigm shift within OCZ lately, and the Vector went through a large beta test phase *before* release, as to avoid the need for a series of rapid fire firmware updates just after the product ships. Vector should perform at or near its maximum potential today, not after some firmware updates seen months from now. Here's a look at the controller functional block diagram:
This morning, OCZ pushed out a new firmware, dubbed 1.4RC. This is a release candidate of the upcoming performance-boosting firmware, and is meant for "enthusiasts who like to tinker with their hardware".
New Performance Specs in Red:
Max Read / Write
128GB: 535MB/s - 550MB/s / 200MB/s - 420MB/s
256GB: 535MB/s - 550MB/s / 380MB/s - 465MB/s
512GB: 535MB/s - 550MB/s / 475MB/s
As a heads up for those who are feeling froggy this Monday morning and choose to update their Vertex 4 - this is a destructive update and will wipe the drive. The updater runs within a Windows session with the Vertex 4 connected as a secondary drive. While you're 'under the hood', I'd also recommend performing a secure erase with the OCZ Toolbox software after you have udpated and power cycled the SSD.
I have been able to partially confirm the performance increases, and will be reporting full results later this evening (for all three capacity points). Stay tuned!
*Note* OCZ NDA'd this update for this morning, but we have not seen where they have posted it for download from their site. We will post a link in the comments below once it has become available.
Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging
Samsung has been in the SSD business for a good long while now. My first "serious" SSD setup consisted of a pair of 32GB G.Skill 'FlashSSD's in a RAID. A few months later I upgraded to an Intel X25-M, starting working for PCPer, and have since seen a slew of different controller types come and go. Of those, Samsung and Intel both come to mind as the most reliable controllers out there. Of those two, Samsung has always been the primary choice of PC OEMs. It may have been because the Samsung controllers have always leaned towards the slow-but-steady approach. Other fire breathing controllers would be quick out of the gate but slow over time as fragmentation effects set in, while Samsung controllers would take the hit on random IOPS, but they maintained that lower level even after repeated and sustained abuse. They were not the fastest, but as a testament to their consistency, I continue to use one of the two aforementioned G.Skill drives in the PCPer Storage Testbed to this day.
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