Corsair Unveils Two New 90GB SATA 6Gb/s SSDs, A World's First

Subject: Storage | August 19, 2011 - 02:35 AM |
Tagged: ssd, ONFI, Force Series 3, corsair, asynchronous NAND, 90GB

Corsair recently added two new solid state drives to its SSD lineup. The new drives weight in at 90 GB, and make an interesting choice for those that need a bit more space than Corsair’s 60 GB drives provide but not enough to justify a higher priced 120 GB drive. Of the two drives, one will be labeled a Force Series 3 drive, and the other will be a Force Series GT SSD. Tweaktown quoted Corsair in stating:

“We're happy to add the world's first 90GB SSD to our product lineup. With 50% more storage capacity than our 60GB models and at pricing significantly lower than our 120GB models, they help make the Force Series 3 and Force Series GT among the most robust and flexible SSD lines on the market.”

The new 2.5” drives are powered by Sandforce 2281 controllers, and the SATA 3 (6Gb/s) interface. Using the benchmarking utility IOMeter 08, Corsair measured the IOPS (input/output operations per second) of the two drives to be 85,000. The Force Series 3 90GB SSD uses asynchronous NAND, and is capable of sequential read and write speeds of 550MB/s and 500MB/s respectively. On the other hand, the Force Series GT 90GB SSD uses ONFI synchronous flash, and features a slight performance edge with sequential reads of 555MB/s and sequential writes of 505MB/s.

ssd_f3_angle_90gb.png

The 90GB SSDs supports SMART monitoring, the TRIM command, and have a MTBF (mean time before failure) of 2 million hours. Further, the drives carry a three year warranty. The drives are available now from authorized retailers with an MSRP of $159 for the Force Series 3 drive and $199 for the Force Series GT SSD.

Source: Tweaktown

Podcast #166 - John Carmack interview, Crysis 2 DX11, Samsung SSD announcements, and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 18, 2011 - 08:32 PM |
Tagged: ssd, podcast, nvidia, Intel, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #166 - 8/18/2011

This week we talk about our John Carmack interview, Crysis 2 DX11, Samsung SSD announcements, 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, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano

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

Program length: 1:04:28

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:37 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. 0:01:35 John Carmack Interview: GPU Race, Intel Graphics, Ray Tracing, Voxels and more!
  6. 0:14:43 NVIDIA Releases Q2 FY 2012 Results
  7. 0:23:17 Acer AC700-1099 Chromebook Review: Cut to the Bone
  8. 0:24:05 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  9. 0:25:20 Never mind the barrier, we even tessellated the water table !
  10. 0:31:00 SSD News
    1. Samsung Announces New High Performance SSDs for Mobile
    2. Samsung Announces New 830 SATA 3 SSDs for Consumers
    3. Intel Releasing Firmware Fix For 8MB SSD Bug In Two Weeks (correction: NOW)
    4. The Good, the bad and the ugly of SSDs
  11. 0:41:32 AMD Announces New Sub-$100 Triple Core A6-3500 APU
  12. 0:43:11 Intel ultra-balks at Ultrabook manufacturers requests
  13. 0:47:50 Sandy Bridge-E Processors: Cooler Sold Separately                                       AMD Considers Bundling FX Processors With Sealed Loop Water Coolers (LCS)
  14. 0:52:20 Bitcoin Trojan Stuff
  15. 0:55:08 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Tripit.com and apps
    2. Jeremy: Antikeylogger01-USB @ $49 or Brain experimentation 
    3. Josh: AMD A-3850... same price, but DiRT 3 for FREE!
    4. Allyn: Anti-pick: McAfee iOS app fail
  16. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  17. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  18. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  19. 1:03:28 Closing
Source:

Samsung Announces New 830 SATA 3 SSDs for Consumers

Subject: Storage | August 17, 2011 - 07:08 AM |
Tagged: ssd, Samsung, mlc, 830 SDD

Samsung today announced a new lineup of consumer solid state drives (SSD) with the SATA 3 (6Gb/s) interface called the SSD 830 Series. We reported last week on this series of SSD's OEM variant, the PM830 Series, and this week is the unveiling of the consumer versions.

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The new 830 SSD series builds on its Samsung 470 predecessors while upgrading the controller interface to SATA 3 (6Gb/s), providing twice the amount of available bandwidth. Further, the consumer drives differentiate themselves from the PM830 OEM versions in three distinct manners, including capacity sizes, exterior design, and bundled components.

On the aesthetic front, the 830 drives have a dark brushed aluminum body with a silver colored Samsung logo and orange corner accent, while the OEM PM830 drives are more simple in design with a dark casing and information sticker.

Further proving that the drives are meant for consumer usage, Samsung provides a full upgrade bundle that (in addition to the SSD itself) includes a copy of Norton Ghost to image an old drive onto the new SSD, a 2.5" to 3.5" adapter bracket, all the necessary cables, and detailed instructions on how to use the drive. A notebook oriented upgrade bundle will also be available that includes the SSD itself, manuals, Norton Ghost software, and a USB to SATA adapter to image the old drive onto the new SSD before switching the new drive into the laptop.

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The full upgrade kit for desktops.

The new 830 SSD lineup will come in consumer friendly capacities of 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB (for comparison, the OEM PM830 versions only come in capacities greater than 128GB).

Unfortunately, Samsung has not yet announced pricing or detailed specifications on the new drives, instead opting to withhold that information until the official product launch in October 2011. If the OEM versions are any indication on the speed front; however, the consumer versions are looking at MLC NAND capable of respectable 500MB/s read and 350MB/s write speeds.

Update 8/25/2011:  We recently came across a few more tidbits of information on the Samsung 830 consumer SSDs.  Specifically, the drives will be powered by a triple ARM9 based controller that is similar to their previous generations.  The NAND flash that the drives will use is 20nm class rated, which is marketing speak for any NAND manufacturing node that is between 20nm and 29nm.  In Samsungs case, they are likely utilizing 25nm MLC NAND for their 830 series drives.  Finally, the company will be releasing their own "software toolbox" to keep the SSDs healthy by performing secure erase, monitoring, and user adjustible over-provisioning.  Over-provisioning is a process that reserves a specificied amount of NAND cells so that the SSD controller can replace bad and/or worn out cells and keep performance and capacity at stable levels.

End of Update.

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more information on the new drives as we get closer to the official launch date.

Image credit: Samsung

Intel Releasing Firmware Fix For 8MB SSD Bug In Two Weeks

Subject: Storage | August 16, 2011 - 04:07 AM |
Tagged: ssd, Intel, firmware bug, 320

We reported a few weeks ago that Intel was able to reproduce the 8MB firmware bug in it's lab and was working on a fix.  Officially called the Bad Context 13x Error, the 8MB bug is a rather serious firmware issue that a small percentage of users ran into when their drives unexpectedly lost power due to improper shutdown procedures or power outage at an especially wrong time.  Once the drives were powered on again, they reported a capacity of 8MB to its users, who were able to restore the drive using secure erase but not the data.

Fortunately, a fix is on its way very soon, as Computer World quoted Intel in stating "the new firmware update is in final validation testing and is targeted for release on Intel Communities within the next two weeks."

Further, users will be able to apply the firmware fix without needing to secure erase the drive; however, none of the lost data can be recovered.  As with any drive, SSD or otherwise, be sure to perform regular backups to mitigate the amount of data one can lose in drive failure.  Intel is also recommending that users ensure they shut down their computers properly and to avoid unplugging the SSD from a powered on machine.

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more information on the Bad Context 13x Error as it develops.  Until then, rest assured that a fix is on the way soon.

The Good, the bad and the ugly of SSDs

Subject: Storage | August 15, 2011 - 02:23 PM |
Tagged: ssd, SF-2281 controller, sata 6Gps

The good and the bad are obvious, unparalleled transfer speeds and a very high price per gigabyte are familiar to anyone keeping up with the new storage medium.  The ugly is the reliability, as we have seen a variety of manufacturers and controllers spawn significant problems for users.  That is before you consider how long an SSD will last, something that we have yet to fully see the scope of as niether the technology nor the drives have been on the market long enough for MTBF to be tested in the real world.

If you are willing to risk the possible failures that some users have been seeing with the SF-2281 controller, AnandTech have rounded up several drives which use that specific controller.  Head over to see if you can pick a winner in this incredibly close race.

anand_die.jpg

"It's a depressing time to be covering the consumer SSD market. Although performance is higher than it has ever been, we're still seeing far too many compatibility and reliability issues from all of the major players. Intel used to be our safe haven, but even the extra reliable Intel SSD 320 is plagued by a firmware bug that may crop up unexpectedly, limiting your drive's capacity to only 8MB. Then there are the infamous BSOD issues that affect SandForce SF-2281 drives like the OCZ Vertex 3 or the Corsair Force 3. Despite OCZ and SandForce believing they were on to the root cause of the problem several weeks ago, there are still reports of issues. I've even been able to duplicate the issue internally."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: AnandTech

Samsung Announces New High Performance SSDs for Mobile

Subject: Storage | August 11, 2011 - 05:32 PM |
Tagged: ssd, SATA3, Samsung, mobile

Samsung recently announced volume production of a new lineup of SSDs using the fast SATA 3 (6Gb/s) interface and will be available in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB capacities.  The new SSDs are called the PM830 series, and Samsung expects the drives to replace their SATA 2 (3Gb/s) drives by year-end.

512GBSATA6Gbs_SSD_image_01 (1).jpg

Wanhoon Hong, executive vice president, memory sales & marketing, Device Solutions, Samsung Electronics stated that Samsung's new SSDs "will raise the performance bar to the next level for ultra-slim notebooks and tablets."  In addition, he believes that the new high capacity drives will spur competition in that segment and increase market interest in SSDs with greater-than 256GB capacities.

The new PM830 drives use Samsung's 20nm class (their term for a process node somewhere between 20 and 29), 32 Gigabit MLC NAND flash with a toggle DDR interface in addition to a proprietary controller.  Samsung claims that the controller and flash are able to take advantage of the SATA 6Gb/s interface by delivering 500MB/s sequential read speeds and 350MB/s sequential write speeds.  Further, the drive uses AES 256-bit encryption to secure private and corporate data.

The new SATA 6Gb/s solid state drives are targeted at OEMs for use in notebooks and tablets.  They are currently only available to OEMs; however, a consumer variant of the drive is forthcoming and will be announced at a later date.

Source: Samsung

Hitachi Releases New Enterprise SSD Based On Intel's 25nm MLC HET NAND

Subject: Storage | August 9, 2011 - 09:10 PM |
Tagged: ssd, mlc, Intel, hitachi, enterprise

Hitachi recently released a new enterprise class SSD based on Intel's 25nm MLC flash.  Dubbed the Hitachi SSD400M, the new solid state drive is aimed at Enterprise users and Cloud data centers.  It comes in the standard 2.5" form factor, features a SAS 6Gb/s interface, and will be available in 200GB and 400GB capacities.

UltraStar_SSD400_4e3972f88e304.jpg

As an enterprise drive, the Hitachi SSD400M supports end to end data protection, error correction, error handling and self encryption on certain models compliant with the Trusted Computing Group’s Enterprise A Security Subsystem Class encryption specification.  Further showing it's intended usage as an Enterprise drive, the 25nm MLC based drive is rated for 7.3 Petabyte lifetime write, which Hitachi says amounts to 10 full drive writes per day for five years.  Coincidentally, the warranty of the drive is a five year limited warranty or until the drive exceeds the maximum rated number of petabyte writes per capacity.  Hitachi states that they expect a .44 annual failure rate and have projected a 2 million hour MTBF.

Performance of the drive is much better than that of the previously reported Intel drive, as it delivers 495MB/s sequential reads and 385MB/s sequential writes.  The SSD is further rated at 56,000 read IOPS and 24,000 write IOPS.

The SSD400M has already shipped to various OEMs and will be available soon.  More information on the new SSD can be found here.

Source: Hitachi

Intel 710 SSD Prices Leaked

Subject: Storage | August 8, 2011 - 02:34 PM |
Tagged: ssd, nand, mlc, Intel, 710

According to VR-Zone, Intel's newest enterprise series 710 Lyndonville solid state drives (SSD) will be launching soon in a mid-august time frame, and will be carrying a price-per-gigabyte metric that only a corporate expense account could love.

IntelSSD.png

The Intel 311.  The 710 series will have the same 2.5" form factor.

The new drives will come in 100GB, 200GB, and 300GB capacities and will be priced at approximately $650, $1250, and $1900 USD respectively.  Featuring 25mm eMLC HET, the drives feature 64MB of cache, user-controllable over-provisioning up to 20% (which helps drive longevity by reserving more of the drive for replacement of worn out cells), and a SATA II 3.0Gbps connection.  The SATA 3Gbps connection is not likely to bottleneck the drive as it will only feature 270MB/s read and 210MB/s write speeds.

The eMLC HET flash chips are higher quality MLC chips that Intel hopes will provide enterprise level SLC enduring without the higher cost of the SLC chips.  Interestingly, the drives only carry a 3 year warranty that is then further impacted by the state of the E9 wear level indicator so that the warranty expires once the three years are up or the E9 indicator reaches 1, whichever comes first.  The consumer grade Intel 320 drives on the other hand carry a longer 5 year warranty.

My aging X-25 drive remembers the days when Intel pushed for driving down the cost of SSDs; however, does Intel still remember that goal?

Source: VR-Zone

For a few dollars more; synchronized SSD shooters draw first

Subject: Storage | August 8, 2011 - 02:10 PM |
Tagged: ssd, sata 6Gps, asynchronous flash, synchronous flash, SF-2281 controller

With the latest SSD controller from SandForce, the SF-2281 SATA III, we have been seeing two different types of flash memory used as the storage medium depending on which vendor or product line you look at.  Asynchronous flash and synchronous flash differ in their timing when sending read and write commands, [H]ard|OCP's analogy of synchronous flash working like DDR is perfect as the new variety can send a command on both the rise and the fall of a clock cycle.

The reason this now matters is SATA III, which allows enough bandwidth for synchronous flash to show off its higher speeds; with the previous SATA standard it simply had no impact.  That speed impact on the new standard becomes obvious in [H]'s testing, especially when they fill both drives half way and conduct some real world tests.  Now that some of both types of drives are on the market, they also look at the price difference between the two types of flash,; a comparison in which the old asynchronous flash does not look good coming out of.

H_flashtypes.png

"News flash! All flash NAND is not created equal! Sure, you know about multi-level and single-level NAND when it comes to speed, but what about synchronous and asynchronous NAND inside your shiny new SSD? We have answers and tell you where your money is best spent for real data speed."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Patriot tries out the SandForce 2281 controller in the newest Wildfire SSD

Subject: Storage | August 1, 2011 - 03:51 PM |
Tagged: ssd, patriot, wildfire 120GB, sandforce, SF-2281 controller

120GB is a nice spot for SSDs, enough space for an OS and limited programs but without forcing you to spend $500+.  The Patriot Wildfire 120GB SSD SATA 6GB/s drive is $300, not the least expensive but certainly competitive with other similar drives, in price.  As for performance, with the new SATA standard and a SandForce controller it seemed best matched against the OCZ Vertex III Max IOPS.  Hi Tech Legion's testing showed the two to be running neck and neck in both performance and price.  Competition that close will hopefully bring sales and discounts making both drives even more attractive.

HTL_wildfire.jpg

"The Patriot Wildfire 120GB SSD claims to deliver enterprise-class performance on a home PC. The Patriot Wildfire 120GB SSD is equipped with the SandForce SF-2281 controller paired with 16 8GB Toshiba 32nm toggle mode NAND chips. Much like other next generation SandForce based SSDs, the Patriot Wildfire 120GB has DuraWrite technology, Windows 7 TRIM support and is 256-bit AES encryption capable. With a sequential read speed of 555MB/s and write speed of 520MB/s, as well as a max random write IOPS of 85,000, the Patriot Wildfire 120GB SSD is aimed squarely at enthusiasts who want raw speed and uncompromised performance."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage