SanDisk joins the hard drive haters with the release of their Ultra SSDs

Subject: General Tech | July 28, 2011 - 09:40 AM |
Tagged: ssd, sandisk, sandisk ultra

SanDisk is releasing a line of SSDs, called the Ultra series.  They are not aimed at the high end market, they use the older SATA 2 interface and claim sequential transfer speeds of 280MB/s read and 270MB/s write.  The prices should range from $130 for the 60GB product to $450 for the 240GB model, which puts them about middle of the road for pricing.  They also list expected lifetime in terms of the amount of data written to them; 40TB of data written for the 60GB up to 120TB of total data written to the 240GB.  The Register covered the release here.

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"SanDisk has a new Ultra line, a cruise flash missile aimed at taking out PC and notebook hard drives and replacing them with much faster SanDisk SSDs.

These are 2.5-inch format, 2-bit multi-level cell flash drives, coming in 60, 120 and 240GB capacity points. The Ultra brand is used by SanDisk for consumer flash products such as SDHC cards, and now a trio of SSDs will be sold under the Ultra name."

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Tech Talk

Source: The Register

OCZ wraps both its ARMs around a new SSD controller and gives it a little TLC

Subject: General Tech | July 26, 2011 - 09:03 AM |
Tagged: ssd, ocz, arm, tlc, sata 6Gps, Indilinx Everest

OCZ is never satisfied with the performance of their SSDs in general and their controllers specifically.  After purchasing Indilinx to ensure that their controllers would be of high quality and designed to OCZ's specific needs, they've now been pushing Indilinx to improve on their controllers.  That has lead to Everest, which has a dual core ARM processor and 400MHz DDR3 cache that can support up to 512MB.  The controller is optimized for 8K writes which is perfect for the current flash utilized in SSDs.  OCZ has also optimized the flash memory, developing Triple Level Cell (TLC) which has three layers as opposed to MLC which sports two.  The controller will be backwards compatible, which is a good idea if OCZ wants to license the controller to other manufacturers, which makes sense as Everest should hit 200MT/s as compared to SandForce's current 166MT/s.  There is more that this controller can do, click on over to The Register to read about it.

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"OCZ is sampling a new flash controller that gives a picture of future solid state drives.

The company bought Indilinx for its solid state drive (SSD) controller technology in March this year and has now unveiled the Indilinx Everest controller platform.

It has a 6Gbit/s SATA III interface, a dual-core ARM processor and a number of enticing features, such as 3-bit multi-level cell (MLC) support. This is going to be called TLC, for triple-level cell, to distinguish it from today's MLC, which is 2-bit MLC."

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Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Corsair Forces synchronicity into their latest SSD

Subject: Storage | July 25, 2011 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: ssd, corsair, corsair force gt 120GB, sata 6Gps

The new Corsair Force GT 120GB SSD goes a different way from the crowd with their use of synchronous MLC flash memory, the SF-2000 controller is very familiar though.  Synchronous flash is more expensive than asynchronous and in theory should provide better speeds with large uncompressed files, though not a huge boost. That theory bore out Neoseeker's testing with better results across the board when compared to the Patriot Wildfire SSD.  If you are willing to invest the money to get that little bit more out of your machine, the Corsair Force is worth considering.

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"In an SSD market where 500MB/s data read/write speeds are becoming the norm across manufacturers, Corsair's Force GT differentiates itself from the pack by using 25nm ONFI synchronous NAND flash memory, versus standard 25nm asynchronous NAND. This allows the drive to excel at reading and writing compressed data, which is supposed to translate into faster real-world performance with files like video, music and graphics. Hit our latest SSD review to see just how real this real-world performance ends up looking."

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Storage

Source: Neoseeker

Intel reproduces '8MB bug', fix coming soon.

Subject: Storage | July 24, 2011 - 06:22 PM |
Tagged: ssd, Intel, firmware, 320

We've seen some recent mumblings about a corner case where inadvertent or improper power loss to an Intel 320 Series SSD would result in the drive getting stuch in an inaccessible mode where it appears as an 8MB drive. From what I've gathered, the issue seems rare and may be tied to some specific hardware configurations.

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The SSD 320 we tested back in March (we couldn't get it to 'stick' in 8MB mode).

More after the break...

OCZ Technology Unveils Indilinx Everest Series Solid State Drive Controller

Subject: Storage | July 20, 2011 - 11:43 AM |
Tagged: ocz, Indilinx, Indilinx Everest, sata 6Gps, ssd

SAN JOSE, CA - July 20, 2011 - OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, today unveiled the Indilinx Everest SATA 3.0 SSD platform. The Everest platform features support of 6Gbps interface speeds, high transactional performance that is optimized for compressed files, and maximum capacities up to 1TB.

"The new Indilinx Everest platform is a complete customizable solution that delivers superior storage performance, features, and capabilities designed to exceed the needs of the most demanding SSD applications," said Bumsoo Kim, President of Indilinx. "Combining a 6Gbps SATA Revision 3.0 host interface, a dual-core CPU, and support for the latest, most advanced NAND Flash memory technology available, Everest offers SSD manufacturers unparallel flexibility in optimizing their designs for both performance and cost."

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As a true next generation solution the new Indilinx Everest platform includes a complete spectrum of enhanced capabilities including:

Supports Next Generation Flash Technologies
The Everest Platform supports state-of-the-art, Multi-Level Cell (MLC) NAND components and next generation three bit per cell NAND Flash. The ability to leverage Triple-Level Cell (TLC) NAND Flash with proprietary Everest and Indilinx Ndurance Technology provides customers with significant cost reductions associated with moving to the new process.

Advanced Architecture Optimized for High Speed and Density
The Everest Platform features the only controller to support 200 mega transfers per second (MT/s) synchronous-mode flash, up over the 166 MT/s supported by other NAND Flash controllers. Everest supports 1TB capacities in a single controller SSD design with current generation Flash components. Its innovative eight channel design with up to 16-way interleaving for maximum performance, supports full data path and power fail protection to deliver best-in-class data integrity and reliability for enterprise applications.

Performance Optimization
Everest's leading-edge design delivers high sequential speeds up to 500MB/s and is optimized for small file writes at the 8K file size with next generation page mapping technology, which increases transactional performance optimized for 4K to 16K compressed files , by matching file sizes to the 8K page size typical in newer generation NAND Flash.

Enhanced Boot Time
Indilinx's new boot time reduction algorithms can be configured to decrease system boot time by up to 50% over existing SSD controller architectures for customers that require faster boot times and an instant-on experience in their applications. This provides the real world benefits users seek from their storage solutions and enables quicker access and greater responsiveness, allowing clients to take full advantage of solid state storage as a boot device.

Indilinx Everest Platform Complete Feature-Set:

  • SATA Revision 3.0 - Supports 6Gbps, 3Gbps, and 1.5Gbps interface speeds
  • Dual Core ARM CPU
  • 1TB Maximum Capacity
  • High Sequential Speeds
  • High Transactional Performance - Optimized for 4K to 16K Compressed Files
  • Up to 8 Channels of ONFI 2.0/Toggle 1.0 Flash at up to 200MT/s with up to 16-way Interleaving
  • Advanced BCH ECC engine - over 70 bits per defined sector
  • 400MHz DDR3 DRAM Cache Interface with Support for up to 512MB
  • Proprietary Ndurance Technology
  • Enhanced Power Fail Protection
  • Supports up to 1xnm Node NAND Flash with 1, 2, or 3 bits per cell
  • Efficient NAND Flash Management - Dynamic and Static Wear-Leveling, and Background Garbage Collection
  • Boot Time Reduction Optimizations - Collaborative Platform Development
  • NCQ Support up to 32 Queue Depth
  • End-to-End Data Protection
  • TRIM Support
  • Numerous Over-Provisioning Options
  • Industry Standard SMART Reporting

Patriot's new SSD is on fire

Subject: Storage | July 14, 2011 - 09:56 AM |
Tagged: patriot, 32nm NAND, Sandforce SF2281, sata 6Gps, ssd

Patriot's original foray into the SSD market was overshadowed by many other manufacturers releasing SSDs and did not get much stage time compared to Intel or OCZ for instance.   This may change now that the community has realized it is the controller that makes the SSD, not the manufacturer.  Their new 120GB Wildfire is a true SATA 6Gps drive and it features the high performing Sandforce SF-2281 controller.  That isn't the only trick they have up their sleeves, though it means the drive costs more, they chose 32nm NAND over 25nm NAND which results in faster performance and possibly longer life which is in line with the three year warranty Patriot offers.  Check out the actual performance over at Neoseeker.

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"The Patriot WildFire is a 120GB SSD using the latest Sandforce SF-2281 controller, and 32nm MLC NAND memory. Together these components promise enterprise-level performance in a package priced for hardware enthusiasts. Hit our review to see if the WildFire can live up to its name, or if it ends up burning out prematurely."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: Neoseeker

OCZ Technology Introduces Next Generation RevoDrive PCI-Express Solid State Drives

Subject: Storage | July 13, 2011 - 10:32 AM |
Tagged: VCA, ssd, revo 3, PCIe SSD, ocz

SAN JOSE, CA—July 13, 2011—OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, today launched the RevoDrive 3 and RevoDrive 3 X2 lineup of SSDs. Designed to deliver maximum throughput in multithreaded applications, the new RevoDrive 3 incorporates an advanced data management feature-set based on OCZ’s proprietary Virtualized Controller Architecture (VCA) technology, providing both the performance and features required by the intensive workloads common in high performance computing and workstation environments.

The RevoDrive 3 provides unique benefits to users by incorporating features from the VCA 2.0 flash virtualization software that allow certain direct memory access (DMA) and data management functions. Included in this feature-set are OCZ’s exclusive command queuing and queue balancing algorithms, which can be handled by the onboard processing core for higher performance and reduced burden on the host resources. VCA 2.0 is also the only virtualization layer in the industry with TRIM and SCSI unmap support to enhance sustained performance and provide greater endurance by significantly reducing the overhead associated with garbage collection. Furthermore, VCA also offers consolidated SMART support and provides system administrators with advanced features for monitoring, analyzing, and reporting device attributes.

“OCZ RevoDrive 3 PCIe SSDs use our VCA 2.0 technology to deliver superior performance and functionality for everything from scientific computing to high availability clustering,” said Daryl Lang, Vice President of Product Management of OCZ Technology. “This exciting new workstation-class storage product accelerates application performance and takes full advantage of today’s multithreaded processors and software, providing customers with greater throughput in an easy-to-deploy, single card solution.”

With its all-new architecture, the RevoDrive 3 shatters its predecessor’s performance record and is faster than comparable solutions that are up to ten times the price. Available in two different models, the Revo3 delivers up to 1.5GB/s of bandwidth and up to 230,000 IOPS (4K random write) under HPC or workstation workloads with a single-card solution. Additionally, the Revo3 X2 960GB offers ample capacity for users in media development and management looking for more storage room.

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ADATA digs their toes into the sand and then jumps into SSDs

Subject: Storage | July 5, 2011 - 11:50 AM |
Tagged: sandforce, SF-2281 controller, sata 6Gps, ssd

With SSDs it seems that the brand on the shell tells you very little about the performance of the drive its self and picking up an off brand SSD can net you a great deal, as long as you know what is inside.  Since ADATA chose the SandForce SF-2281 SATA 6GB/s controller, the same as we've seen in Al's review of the OCZ Agility 3 drive which fared very well in our testing.  The reported prices run from $155 for a 60GB to $520 for the 240GB which is in line with OCZ's Vertex 3 series and is too bad in a way.  In almost every test Benchmark Reviews tried, the ADATA offering fell slightly behind both flavours of the OCZ Vertex 3, which you would hope would bring the price down.  However in the market right now SSD makers can pretty much charge whatever they want as enthusiasts will pay the price; that makes it very nice to see the market opening up with a wide variety of vendors putting out top notch SSDs.

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"ADATA knows that SandForce-driven SSDs are a win-win combination of performance and speed. In this article, Benchmark Reviews tests the ADATA S511 solid state drive. Based on the popular new SandForce SF-2281 SATA 6GB/s controller and fast IMFT-branded NAND flash components, ADATA claims the AS511S3 is capable of 550 MB/s read and 510 MB/s write speed with 4K random write speeds as high as 60,000 IOPS in real world testing. We test these claims, and compare performance to competing storage solid-state solutions in this review to find out which SSD is best."

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Storage

OCZ Elevates Enterprise Solid-State Storage with 2nd Gen. of Proprietary Controller Architecture

Subject: Storage | July 5, 2011 - 07:54 AM |
Tagged: ocz, superscale, VCA, ssd

SAN JOSE, CA—July 5, 2011—OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ),a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, today announced the release of the second generation of its proprietary Virtualized Controller Architecture (VCA). Leveraged in OCZ’s PCI-Express (PCIe) and SAS SSD solutions for workstation, enterprise, and OEM clients, VCA 2.0 supports a rich enterprise feature-set enabling unprecedented flexibility, increased performance, and the reliability required for high throughput storage systems.

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“OCZ’s proprietary VCA technology is the next step in the evolution of virtualization layers for solid state storage. VCA 2.0 enables industry-leading configurable performance aggregation along with a rich enterprise feature set not found on competitive products,” said Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ Technology Group. “With its scalable performance, TRIM and SCSI unmap support, and enhanced management tools, VCA 2.0 provides superior reliability and superior performance, in a plethora of OCZ’s easy-to-deploy storage solutions.”

Building on the company’s first generation VCA technology, which was originally deployed in OCZ’s Z-Drive R3 PCIe and Talos SAS SSDs, VCA 2.0 provides even greater enterprise flash management features. In OCZ’s enterprise PCIe devices, VCA 2.0 supports the creation of a virtual pool of logical units (LUNs) and features best-in-class configurable performance aggregation, simplifying data management without impacting performance, to provide clients with an easily deployable total solution. VCA 2.0 is the only virtualization layer in the industry with TRIM and SCSI unmap support, which enhances the sustained performance by significantly reducing the overhead associated with garbage collection.

Additionally, VCA 2.0’s user-selectable data recovery and non-stop modes allow for unprecedented data protection, while consolidated SMART support provides system administrators with advanced features for monitoring, analyzing, and reporting device attributes. Unlike other flash virtualization layers, VCA 2.0 also supports complete power fail protection. In the event of unexpected system power loss, OCZ’s enterprise power fail protection completes all in-progress transactions, protecting the integrity of all active data.

When combined with OCZ’s SuperScale storage controller, VCA 2.0 provides unique benefits to users by allowing certain direct memory access (DMA) and data management functions, including OCZ’s unique command queuing and queue balance algorithms, to be handled by the onboard processing core. This results in higher performance and reduces the burden on the host CPU.

VCA 2.0 technology will become available with the launch of OCZ’s upcoming workstation and enterprise-class PCIe SSDs, including the RevoDrive 3 and Z-Drive R4. IT and datacenter administrators looking to learn more about the technology, or OCZ’s SSD offerings should visit http://ocztechnology.com.

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: OCZ Technology
Tagged: ssd, PCIe SSD, pcie, ocz

Introduction

Introduction:

Back in June of last year, OCZ released the RevoDrive, followed up rather quickly by the RevoDrive x2. Both models represented a new way of economically bundling multiple SSD controllers behind an integrated RAID solution. This broke the mold for storage, as the vast majority of end users were stuck with the common 2.5" form factor SATA SSD (as well as trying to figure out where to put one inside their desktop case full of 3.5" drive bays). Since all desktops had PCIe slots, the Revo concept just seemed to make sense.

Now on the 1-year mark since the original Revo, we have the RevoDrive 3. OCZ has opted to skip the staggering of releases and is also releasing the 4-channel version, the RevoDrive 3 x2. Today we will be looking at the latter, in 480GB form factor. Here's a look at the new silicon:

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Continue to the full review for all the details!