Samsung smashes the 830 series with the 840 Pro

Subject: Storage | September 25, 2012 - 05:02 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, 840 Pro 512GB, 840, mdx, pro, ssd

Allyn wasn't the only one blown away by the performance and efficiency increase of the new Samsung 840 Pro 512GB SSD, anyone who had a chance to review this drive saw incredible performance.  It is not yet available for purchase but you can expect to see the 256G at $270 and this 512GB at around $600 when they do become available.  Inside the 3-core eight channel MDX controller is paired with eight 64GB modules of Samsung’s new 21nm MLC DDR-2 toggle mode NAND, which give this drive its incredible speed.  SSD Reviews came to the same conclusion that Al did, we need a new interface as SATA 6Gb/s is already being saturated by high end SSDs.

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"Our report on the Samsung 840 Pro SSD begins post take off from Pearson Int’l Airport in Toronto and on route to Seoul, South Korea. Having had this SSD in our hands for some time, even the enormity of the Samsung 840 family release celebration cannot overshadow the performance of what just might be the hottest solid state drive to hit the streets to date. How does just under an extra hour laptop life and 100,000 IOPS grab you to start?"

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: SSD Review
Subject: Storage
Tagged: 840, mdx, pro, Samsung, ssd

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging

Introduction

Samsung has been at this SSD thing for quite some time now. The first SSD I bought was in fact a Samsung unit meant for an ultraportable laptop. Getting it into my desktop was a hack and a half, involving a ZIF to IDE adapter, which then passed through yet another adapter to convert to SATA. The drive was wicked fast at the time, and while it handily slaughtered my RAID-0 pair of 74GB VelociRaptors in random reads, any writes caused serious stuttering of the drive, and therefore the entire OS. I was clearly using the drive outside of its intended use, but hey, I was an early adopter.

Several SSDs later came the Intel X25-M. It was a great drive, but in its earliest form was not without fault. Luckily, these kinks were worked out industry-wide, and everyone quickly accelerated their firmware optimizations as to better handle random writes. Samsung took a few generations to get this under control. The first to truly get over this hump was the 830 Series, which launched earlier this year. It utilized a triple core Arm 9 CPU which was able to effectively brute force heavy random write workloads. It also significantly increased the speed and nimbleness of the 830 across the board, which combined with Samsung's excellent reliability record, quickly made it my most recommended series as of late.

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...and now we have the 840 Series, which launched today. Well, technically it launched yesterday if you're reading from the USA. Here in Korea the launch started at 10 AM and spanned a day of product press briefings leading to the product NDA expiration at 8 PM Korea time. This review will focus on the 512GB capacity of the 840 Pro model. We will follow on with the 840 (non-pro) at a later date:

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Read on for the full review!

Samsung Launches New 840, 840 Pro SSD Series at Global SSD Summit

Subject: Storage | September 23, 2012 - 10:00 PM |
Tagged: ssd, Samsung, pro, mdx, 840

Good morning from Seoul, Korea!

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I'm here at the Samsung Global SSD Summit, where Samsung has officially launched their 840 Series of SSDs. This new controller features many advancements which enable it to climb past 100,000 IOPS in random reads (!!!). Samsung also claims peaks of 90,000 IOPS in random writes. These are seriously high numbers for any SATA SSD, and we will be publishing our full review of the 840 Pro once the NDA lifts later this evening (tomorrow morning for everyone back in the states).

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Unfortunately there is nothing more I can disclose at this time, but stay tuned for more info! While all of you are sleeping tonight, I will be attending several briefings covering the 840, and those juicy tidbits will all be filtered into our review, so don't miss this one!

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Press Blast after the break:

Hynix does Sandforce SSDs as well as LAMD

Subject: Storage | September 17, 2012 - 07:34 PM |
Tagged: Hynix, Strontium Hawk Series, ssd, SandForce SF-2281, synchronous NAND

Hynix jumped into the world of SSDs with the first model containing a LAMD controller, their Neutron series.  Obviously Hynix are not limiting themselves to that controller as the release of the new Strontium Hawk series demonstrates, with the well known SF-2281 controller making an appearance.  When the SSD Review began their testing they expected results in line with other SandForce based drives but soon found themselves very pleasantly surprised.  With compressed data, this drive surpassed other 120GB models and kept up with some 240GB models, a very impressive feat but not as impressive as the results they saw when checking out the incompressible data benchmarks.  It would seem that Hynix has found a way to beef up performance in a way no other SandForce drive has managed yet.  This review is well worth checking out.

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"The production of a non-LAMD based SSD for Hynix is actually not that shocking as an exclusive contract between Corsair and LAMD was in place long before the Hynix purchase. The length of this contract is not known, however, it accounts for probably one of the smartest moves made by Corsair to date. The performance of their newly released LAMD controlled Neutron Series has taken the industry by storm and can be seen in our recent review of both the Neutron and Neutron GTX."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: SSD Review

OCZ's Ryan Peterson Resigns

Subject: Editorial | September 17, 2012 - 06:32 PM |
Tagged: ssd, Ryan Peterson, ocz, CMO, CEO, Alex Mei

OCZ started in a strip mall making heatsinks and fans in 2002.  Not exactly an auspicious beginning to a company that now is a dominant force in the SSD industry.  The guy that has helped the company make the massive jumps it has is Ryan Peterson.  Today OCZ has announced his resignation.  Alex Mei, current CMO (chief marketing officer) is taking over as interim CEO until a replacement can be found.

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It is hard to believe that just 10 years ago OCZ sprang into existence.  A few quick exposes from other tech sites revealed a small company that was situated in a strip mall.  Back in those years there was some questionable marketing tactics that the company used to present themselves as a much larger organization than they actually were (their website showed large, modern buildings and automated memory manufacturing equipment- neither of which the company had).  Through perseverance, decent technical support, and some really interesting products at a time where enthusiast style memory was starting to grow, the company thrived and expanded.

The memory market has softened, and seemingly OCZ was well aware of where the market was going.  They transitioned from being a memory company to a full blown SSD manufacturer.  Along the way they picked up Indilinx and are now finally starting to produce their first custom silicon.  The company continued to grow, and at the head of it all was Ryan Peterson.  Often known as a polarizing figure, he nonetheless helped to lead OCZ into a position of significance and authority when it came to SSD technology.

It seems that the recent downturn in the company’s profits, and the seeming failure of the sale to Seagate of the company, Ryan submitted his resignation and the board of OCZ accepted it.  Not much else is included in the release, other than thanking Ryan for his dedication to the company and wishing him and his family the best of luck.

This must be a hard day for Ryan, as he was truly a driving force in taking OCZ from the strip mall to the high rise.  Change is inevitable though, and rarely do we see CEO’s like AMD’s Jerry Sanders last for decades at the helm of a company.  The market is changing, and perhaps OCZ needs a new vision.  Still, OCZ is now synonymous with the growing SSD market, and their acquisition of Indilinx allows them some flexibility and differentiation in what is now a very crowded area.  Their introduction of inexpensive “server” style PCI-E SSD devices was another milestone, and it provided an inexpensive (and powerful) solution that competed well with other much more costly products from companies such as FusionIO.

It will be very interesting to see where the company goes, but we wish Ryan the best of luck.

The entire press release can be found here.

Source: OCZ

Small Form Factor Intel NUC PCs coming in October for under $400

Subject: General Tech | September 16, 2012 - 12:16 AM |
Tagged: ssd, small form factor, SFF, nuc, Ivy Bridge, Intel, htpc

Earlier this year, Intel showed off a small motherboard and processor combination that piqued the interest of many enthusiasts and attendees. The rather oddly named Next Unit of Computing (NUC) PC was originally intended to power digital signage, kiosks, and embedded systems (car PC anyone?). However, in response to the interest shown by enthusiasts, the x86 chip giant has decided to bring the super-small form factor computers to retail.  

The Next Unit of Computing PC’s main attraction is its small size: the motherboard is tiny, measuring a mere 4” x 4.” For reference, the mini-ITX standard is a 6.7” x 6.7” motherboard, and VIA’s Pico-ITX form factor boards measure 3.9” x 2.7.” In that respect, the NUC is not the smallest PC that you can build, but it will be the fastest – and by a significant margin thanks to the bundled Ivy Bridge CPU.

While i3 and i5 editions were allegedly designed, currently Intel is only bringing the i3 to the retail market. Specifically, the CPU powering the NUC will be an Intel Core i3-3217U Ivy Bridge processor, and it will be soldered onto the motherboard. That particular CPU is a 1.8GHz dual core/four thread part with 3MB cache, and Intel HD 4000 graphics (there is no Turbo Boost functionality). Not bad for a small form factor PC!

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Image credit: PC Pro.

The boards will have two SO-DIMM slots for RAM, an mSATA port for an SSD, and a mini-PCIe slot for a Wi-FI card. Intel is making two versions of the NUC motherboard that will differ only in IO. One motherboard will have 3 USB 2.0 ports, 1 HDMI output, and 1 Thunderbolt port. The other board will have 3 USB 2.0 ports, 2 HDMI outputs, and one Gigabit Ethernet jack. Intel believes that the Thunderbolt-equipped model will be more popular with consumers while the Gigabit-Ethernet and dual HDMI model will be used more by businesses.

Intel is reportedly sourcing several chassis designs for its custom form factor motherboard (there are at least two cases at present), and you will be able to build out a barebones system with one of the custom cases, integrated heatsink, and power supply. Additionally, when spec'ed out with the Intel i3-3217U CPU, 4GB of RAM, Wi-Fi card, and a 40GB Intel SSD, the company expects the entire NUC computer to cost around $399 in the US. The parts will be available for purchase in October, according to Engadget.

Hopefully, we will see OEMs take this form factor and make something cool with it. It's not clear which specific OEMs will be first to bring pre-built systems to market but they should be coming in the future.

Personally, I’m a big fan of small form factor computers, and despite the odd “NUC” name I’m excited to see where Intel takes this platform. If you were looking for a small but powerful computer to drive your next project, it might be worth keeping an eye on the NUC. What do you think of this sub $400, approximately 5” (with case) PC?

Read more about SFF and HTPC components at PC Perspective.

Source: Engadget

OCZ Vector SSD Spotted - Indilinx Barefoot 3 Controller

Subject: Storage | September 11, 2012 - 09:48 PM |
Tagged: ocz, idf, idf 2012, vector, ssd, Indilinx, barefoot 3

While wandering around San Francisco today, I was stopped by a stranger on the corner of Market and 4th to show me something he found outside the convention hall.  It LOOKS like an SSD PCB but what do you think?

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What you have here is a the internals of a new OCZ Technology SSD brand called Vector that will sit ABOVE the Vertex 4 in the product stack.  This SSD uses the as yet unreleased Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller.

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The drive should be available sometime in Q4 of this year and it marks the first complete Indilinx controller design - no Marvell or other third party intellectual property to be found.

That's all we know for now but you can be sure we'll have the details as they are released!!

Western Digital Hybrid Hard Drives: 5mm 500GB Sampling

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Storage | September 10, 2012 - 05:50 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, ssd caching, ssd, Hard Drive

Western Digital has been sampling 5mm-thin 2.5” hard drives designed for Ultrabooks. They have currently announced partnerships with Acer and ASUS to include these drives in future ultrathin laptops. Western Digital has currently only listed capacities of 500GB for the spindle portion of the drive but no word how much MLC flash will be included to cache most used files. The product will be discussed during the company’s investor day on the 13th of this month.

At this stage SSDs are pretty much the missing link to a fast and responsive computer.

Prices have dropped to under one dollar per gigabyte ($1/GB) a few months ago with some models reaching 70c/GB – and those are the good ones too. The massive drop in price is still about an order of magnitude more expensive than spindle hard drives and consumers are using whatever space they can get. Several solutions exist to balance the speed of SSDs with the storage effectiveness of HDDs.

One solution is to include both in a single drive and keep the most used data in the SSD cache. Western Digital has just released samples of 5mm-thin hybrid hard drives for OEMs to put in extremely thin laptops.

I wonder if they're feeling chip-er...

Users who purchase laptops often have the mistaken assumption that a faster processor directly leads to increased response. That is certainly the case when comparing an Intel Atom to an i5 – but an i3 will probably spend just as much time idle and awaiting instructions from the hard drive as an i5 would.

Western Digital has not broken the SSD market despite their long success with spindle storage. It makes sense that Western Digital will push into the market with the starting point from which they are most comfortable. Western Digital has been shipping SSDs for over two-and-a-half years at this point but never really gained any traction.

It looks like Western Digital is realizing that they need to mix SSDs with what they know best and do something innovative to get a unique hook in the market – buying just a little more time.

The drive which has been announced today will contain a storage capacity of 500GB with an undisclosed amount of MLC NAND flash memory caching the most used data. The hook to differentiate themselves from other hybrid hard drives is its size: 5mm compared to the more common 9.5mm.

The Ultrabook market could be a lucrative wave to ride for the time being and give them even more capital to invest future SSDs. Hopefully they will not wait for solid state storage to creep up on them twice. Fool you once…

Western Digital is expected to discuss and showcase this product more at their Western Digital Investor Day on this Thursday, September 13th, 2012.

Deal for September 4th - Plextor 256GB SSD for $195

Subject: General Tech, Storage | September 4, 2012 - 06:11 PM |
Tagged: ssd, plextor, deal of the day

Today's deal comes from TigerDirect and will allow you jump on the SSD bandwagon for a more than reasonable price.  How does a 256GB Plextor M5 series SSD for just $195 with free shipping sound? 

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Source: LogicBuy

Podcast #216 - GTX 660Ti Roundup, AMD Steamroller Details, Multi GPU Graphics Card Rumors and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 30, 2012 - 04:22 PM |
Tagged: zotac, Steamroller, ssd, revodrive, podcast, ocz, msi, MARS III, Intel, galaxy, evga, asus, arm, ARES II, amd, 7990, 690, 660ti

PC Perspective Podcast #216 - 08/30/2012

Join us this week as we talk about our GTX 660Ti Roundup, AMD Steamroller Details, Multi GPU Graphics Card Rumors 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!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom and Allyn Malvantano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

Program length: 1:01:56

Program Schedule:

  1. Introduction
  2. PCPer moving to pcper.com/live
  3. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  4. http://pcper.com/podcast
  5. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Reviews:
    1. 0:02:15 GeForce GTX 660 Ti Roundup
    2. 0:16:00 AMD Steamroller details from HotChips
    3. 0:27:30 ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A Review
  2. 0:29:45 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  3. News items of interest:
    1. 0:30:25 EVGA 1500 watt power supply
    2. 0:34:30 Powercolor HD 7990 Devil 13 graphics card
    3. 0:37:26 AMD releases FX-4130 and lowers prices
    4. 0:39:24 Synology refreshes DiskStation
    5. 0:40:50 ASUS MARS III GTX 680 - dreamers only
    6. 0:43:17 EVGA Mini ITX Z77 motherboard
    7. 0:45:15 NVIDIA shows Unreal Engine 3 on Tegra 3
  4. Closing:
    1. 0:51:11 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
      1. Ryan: OCZ RevoDrive 3 x2
      2. Jeremy: Something to vie for your upgrade budget
      3. Josh: Can never have enough space
      4. Allyn: Kingston HyperX Genesis 32GB DDR3 1600
  1. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  2. http://pcper.com/podcast
  3. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  4. Closing/outro