Subject: Storage | March 26, 2012 - 02:26 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ssd, Toshiba 400GB SAS SSD, SAS
The main concern for enterprises is reliability, perhaps the main reason that most companies have not immediately jumped onto SSD storage as their primary solution. The cost is another barrier but for high volume database usage as well as disk intensive tasks like transforming video the speed advantage can pay for the initial investment in very little time, as long as the medium is reliable. Where an SSD failure on your home machine is frustrating, it can cost a business a lot of money. This is changing as we are starting to see more companies offering Enterprise class SSDs, usually SAS SSDs which can help ameliorate the possibility of downtime due to a failed drive. The Toshiba MK4001GRZB 400GB SAS 6Gb/s Enterprise SLC SSD is one such drive and when the SSD Review had a chance to test this $7000 drive they jumped at the chance. Check out the review to see its speed in action and keep in mind the stellar warranty which Toshiba offers, unlimited writes for the life of the 5-year warranty, when you are considering the drive for business use.
"Our SSD review today will be on the Toshiba MK4001GRZB 400GB SAS 6Gb/s Enterprise SLC SSD and will be the first to experience our new Enterprise Test Protocol. This SSD brings with it some of the best sustainable performance in the realm, and also has recently taken the Grand Prize for Excellence in Energy Efficiency and Conservation from the Japan Energy Conservation Center, so it is definitely a top candidate to initiate our new Enterprise Test Protocol."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Patriot Pyro SE 240 GB Solid State Drive @ X-bit Labs
- OCZ Octane 512GB @ Legion Hardware
- OCZ Synapse Cache SSD Review @ HCW
- OCZ RevoDrive 3 X2 - 240GB PCIe SSD @ Funky Kit
- Plextor M3 256GB SATA 6Gb/s @ SSD Review
- Crucial Adrenaline SSD Review: Solid State Cache for Your Hard Drive @ Techspot
- Crucial M4 Adrenaline 50GB Cache SSD @ SSD Review
- Kingston SSDNow V+200 120GB SSD Review @ Legit Reviews
- MyDigitalSSD 32GB Super Cache mSATA SSD @ SSD Review
- OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 240GB SSD Review @ circuitREMIX
- SanDisk Extreme 120GB @ OC3D
- Plextor M3 128GB SSD Review @ HardwareLOOK
- OCZ Octane 512GB SSD Review @ Neoseeker
- SanDisk Extreme 240GB SATA 3 SSD @ SSD Review
- 24nm Flash SSD Faceoff - SanDisk Extreme Retake and Plextor M3 Pro @ Tweaktown
- Kingston SSDNow V+200 90GB @ Kitguru
- Patriot Wildfire (SandForce SF-2281) 4x SSD RAID @ Tweaktown
- Plextor M3 Pro 128GB @ Tweaktown
- ADATA S107 Superior USB flash drive @ Guru 3D
- 10 Things to Consider Before Setting Up RAID @ TechwareLabs
- Icy Dock MB082SP EZ-FIT Pro Dual 2.5” to 3.5” Hard drive & SSD Bracket Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- Synology DiskStation DS112j NAS Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Icy Box IB-MP3011Plus Review @ HardwareLOOK
- QNAP TurboNAS TS-419P II 4-Bay NAS Review @ eTeknix
- Synology DiskStation DS412+ 4-bay All-in-1 NAS Server for SMB Users Review @ Madshrimps
- Thecus N4200 Pro 4-Bay NAS Review @ eTeknix
Centon Electronics today announced an expansion of their solid state drive lineup with new SATA III offerings. The 2.5” SATA III drives utilize 20nm class MLC (multi level cell) flash memory and a SandForce 2281 SSD controller. They claim that the drives will take full advantage of the extra bandwidth provided by SATA III with read and write speeds of 400 MB per second and 300 MB per second respectively.
According to a chart on Centon’s website, the new SATA III SSDs are part of a new VVS1 series and they come in 60 GB (though this is listed as VS1 series), 120 GB, and 240 GB capacities. The drives support RAID and are rated for a mean time before failure (MTBF) of 2 million+ hours. They further carry a two year warranty. The 240 GB and 120 GB SATA III SSDs are rated at the 400 MB/s and 300 MB/s read and write speeds, but the 60 GB SATA III SSD is only rated at a max of 300 MB/s read and 200 MB/s write. More information can be found on the company's website.Currently, there is no word on pricing or availability. Also, don't forget about our SSD Decoder for all your SSD research!
Subject: Storage | March 22, 2012 - 07:28 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: super talent, ssd, pcie
Super Talent, a Silicon Valley based company most well known for their RAM and SSD products, today launched a new Solid State Drive (SSD) that eschews the SATA interface for a PCIe x8 connector. The new RAIDDrive upStream upstream joins the RAIDDrive family of PCIe SSDs and utilizes MLC (multi-level cell) NAND flash to deliver between 220 GB and 960 GB of fast storage.
According to the company, their new RAIDDrive SSD is comprised of four Sandforce based SSDs in a RAID array using an LSI RAID controller to deliver up to 1 GB/s of performance. Specifically, access time of the upStream SSD is 0.1ms, and has a maximum read and write speed of 1.0 GB per second and 900 MB/s respectively. The 460 GB upStream drive was benchmarked (granted, by Super Talent) using HD Tune which showed an average sequential read speed of 832.9 MB/s and an average sequential write speed of 719.0 MB/s. As far as random 4 KB IOPS, the drive hit 3606 read IOPS and 5159 write 4KB IOPS.
Super Talent has further benchmarks and information on the new RAIDDrive upStream SSDs in this product data sheet (PDF). Unfortunately, there is no official word on pricing or availability yet, though Engadget has said the Super Talent upStream drives should be hitting store shelves in April.
If I had to guess; however, this drive is going to be expensive. Drives like these are a boon for businesses doing work that requires large amount of throughput (CAD work, animation, working and serving large databases, et al), but are still largely priced out of the market of most PC builders. Here's hoping that high performance PCIe SSDs trickle down to computer enthusiasts as fast as possible!
Biwin is a flash storage manufacturer founded in 1995 that holds headquarters in Shenzhen, China and specializing in USB, memory card, and SSD flash storage. They have 20 SMT assembly lines, ISO9001:2000 factories, and employ more than 50 skilled engineers. Recently, the company founded a subsidiary, Biwin America with headquarters in San Jose, California. The new company will further expand the company's SSD offerings by developing and producing advanced solid state drives for the Enterprise, Embedded, and Consumer markets.
Vice President of Worldwide Marketing for the newly founded Biwin America stated that the company "will be dedicated to developing flash storage solutions that deliver superior performance and reliability." He further noted that the team is very excited to bring new SSDs to the market.
A Biwin SATA 3 SSD
Biwin features 20 SMT (surface-mount technology) lines, die sorting, die packaging, and "sophisticated test and QC processes." They are bringing their experience with flash storage to bear on the US market as they prepare new and expanded SSD products that it will sell direct to OEMs as well as to consumers through authorized distributors.
More information on the company can be found here.
Marvell, a storage technology company founded in 1995, today announced a new SSD controller in the form of the 88SS9187 that supports many of the latest storage technologies and is set to debut in several products this year.
The new 88SS9187 SSD controller is reportedly powered by a powerful embedded processor and supports the SATA 3.1 (6Gbps) interface as well as a NAND flash interface that is capable of up to 200 MB/s per channel. Also, the Marvell controller can support on-chip RAID functionality as well as Adaptive Read and Write Scheme technology in the ECC (error correction code) engine.
Marvell also claims that the 88SS9187 controller supports the DDR3 DRAM interface for "up to 1 G byte memory," and approximately 500 MB/s of sequential write performance under dirty drive conditions. The claim that the new controller will provide Random read and write IOPS with minimum over provisioning and performance degradations (where provisioning is used to provide a buffer for wear leveling algorithms and extra space for the drive controller to work with to increase performance). The Vice President of Marketing for Marvell's Storage Business Group Alan Armstrong, stated that the new 88SS9187 controller will enable SSD manufacturers "to fully customize their products to meet specific customer demands and distinguish their products based on price, performance, power and functionality."
They plan for the new controller to have an impact in both the consumer and enterprise markets and have announced that additional partners will integrate the 88SS9187 controller into their SSDs later this year. For now though, they have only stated that a "significant number" of popular SSD manufacturers will have drives ready in the immediate future. More information is available here.
Subject: Mobile | March 12, 2012 - 09:10 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: widi, ultrabook, ssd, Ivy Bridge, asus zenbook, asus
The Asus UX31 and UX21 have been two popular examples of ultrabooks. Interestingly, they have been available for purchase for less than 6 months and we are already hearing that the company is planning a refresh with upgraded hardware! The two new ultrabooks will be dubbed the UX21A and UX31A and will replace the UX21 and UX31 respectfully while maintaining the same weight and dimensions.
The original UX21 ultrabook
Among the new internal hardware updates, Asus will be moving to Ivy Bridge processors, up to 4 GB of low voltage DDR3 1600 memory, and an alleged 512 GB SATA 3 (6Gbps) SSD (solid state drive) option. The Ivy Bridge processors in question will be pulled from Intel's low voltage mobile CPU range and will sport a 17 watt TDP (thermal design power). The Core i3 3217U, Core i5 3317U, and Core i7 3517U will all be configurable options and carry the following specs.
|Model||Cores||Hyper Threading||Cache (L3)||Clockspeed||Turbo Boost (1core / 2cores)|
|Core i3-3217U||2||Yes||3 MB||1.8 GHz||None|
|Core i5-3317U||2||Yes||3 MB||1.7 GHz||2.6 GHz / 2.4 GHz|
|Core i7-3517U||2||Yes||4 MB||1.9 GHz||3.0 GHz / 2.8 GHz|
The new Zenbook ultrabooks will include two USB 3.0 ports, a micro HDMI port, and an SDXC card reader. Wireless connections will further include 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, and Intel's WIDI wireless display streaming technology. The new UX31A will have the option of a 1920 x 1080 resolution IPS display with a brightness rating at 350 nits or a non IPS (possibly TN) LCD with 300 nits brightness that maxes out at a 1600 x 900 resolution. The smaller UX21A also has the option for a 1920 x 1080 resolution IPS display; however, the non IPS LCD option's resolution will max out at 1366 x 768, coincidentally just enough to do the 1/3, 2/3 side by side Metro application split in Windows 8.
Lastly, they estimate the battery life of the 13" UX31A and 11" UX21A ultrabooks to be around "six to seven hours" and five hours respectively. Once Ivy Bridge processors have launched and other notebook vendors start shipping their Ivy Bridge powered machines, Asus will reportedly start selling the updated Zenbooks for prices starting at $1,050 and $1,100 for the UX21A and UX31A respectively.
A nice hardware update without jacking up the price too much and likely making the older models cheaper? Sign me up! Are you looking forward to more ultrabooks this year?
Subject: Mobile | March 12, 2012 - 04:00 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ultrabook, ssd, asus zenbook, asus
The SSD Review stumbled upon a dirty little secret about the ASUS Zenbook SSD; specifically the SSD part of the name. It seems that when you buy one, you might be picking up a model with an AData XM11 SSD or it might be a Sandisk U100 but unfortunately they are the same price and a similar model number making them very difficult to tell apart ... until you use it. The SandForce drive AData drive is significantly faster than the Sandisk drive which uses its own proprietary controller. The difference is not crippling but it is certainly noticeable when benchmarking and using the system. The final result was that size does matter, the 11.6" UX21 has SandForce while the 13.3" UX31 does not, though both are still very nice Ultrabooks.
"If we told you that we spent $2400 to right a wrong in proving something that you as a consumer should be aware of, would you believe us? This report closely examines the ASUS Zenbook. Within the ‘Zen’, ASUS may provide either of two SATA 3 SSDs, these being the AData ‘SandForce Driven’ XM11 or the Sandisk U100. There is no price difference between the two, the product number is the same and the consumer has no way of knowing which they will receive. The performance drop between the two is somewhat unbelievable, however, and we thought this report important enough to invest in one of each Zenbook to educate the consumer on the reality of their potential Zenbook purchase."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Acer Aspire AS5755-6647 @ TechReviewSource
- Dell XPS 13 Review @ TechReviewSource
- ASUS Transformer Prime (TF201) Android Tablet and Keyboard Dock Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Samsung Series 5 NP530U4B Review @ TechReviewSource
- Gigabyte Unveils U2442 Ultrabook With Great Features @ SSD Review
- Mobile CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Thermaltake Tt eSPORTS Battle Dragon LAN Bag @ Kitguru
- Choiix Wake Up Folio @ LanOC Reviews
- Lenovo IdeaPad A1 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Samsung Galaxy Nexus Review @ HardwareLOOK
- Innovation or hype? Ars examines Nokia's 41 megapixel smartphone camera
- Nokia Lumia 710 Windows Phone Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Hands On With the New iPad @ TechReviewSource
- Apple To Re-Enable 3G Switch In iPhone 4S @ TechARP
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | March 8, 2012 - 04:00 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: Z77, ssd, podcsat, podcast, msi, Intel, gpu, cpu, asus, amd, 7870, 7850
PC Perspective Podcast #192 - 03/08/2012
Join us this week as we talk about the AMD Radeon HD 7870 and 7850, Z77 Motherboard previews, and a Steam console?
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
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malvantano
This Podcast is brought to you by
- 0:00:42 Introduction
- 1-888-38-PCPER or firstname.lastname@example.org
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
- 0:02:00 Installing Windows 8 Consumer Preview In A VirtualBox Virtual Machine
- 0:05:00 AMD Radeon HD 7870 2GB and HD 7850 2GB Pitcairn Review
- 0:18:30 ASUS Z77 Chipset Motherboard Preview: Formula, Gene, mini-ITX
- 0:24:30 MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) LGA 2011 ATX Motherboard Review
- 0:26:00 Visual Computing Still Decades from Computational Apex
- 0:36:00 This Podcast is brought to you by
, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
- 0:37:00 GDC 12: The bigger big picture, Steam Box to be announced?
- 0:40:30 MSI Shows of Next Generation Twin Frozr IV Cards at Cebit
- 0:42:30 Peter Pan presents a stylish mouse at CeBIT; Thermaltake's Level 10 M
- 0:45:45 Apple Launching Quad Core Graphics A5X Powered iPad 3 With Retina Display
- 0:49:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
- 1-888-38-PCPER or email@example.com
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
Subject: General Tech, Storage | March 7, 2012 - 01:39 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: western digital, ssd, hitachi, flash, EMC
Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, which was the result of the merger of Hitachi and IBM's HDD businesses, is likely being purchased by Western Digital tomorrow for about $4.3 billion. This makes sense as WD has been using Hitachi GST as a sales partner when providing EMC with high end flash disks. This deal comes on the heels of a major sell, the SSD400S flash disk which uses Intel's 34nm SLC NAND and the SSD400S-B which utilizes the new 25nm NAND developed by Intel. Check out the specifications of the flash drives as well as the new SSD company over at The Register.
"WD is buying Hitachi GST and the acquisition is expected to be formally announced tomorrow with a condition of two years of independence for Hitachi GST - imposed by a Chinese anti-competition regulator. EMC has certified Hitachi GST's SSD400S flash disks for use in its VNX mid-range unified storage arrays, including the all-flash VNX5500-F, so WD will effectively fulfil this deal once the acquisition is announced."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- TSMC suddenly halts 28nm production @ SemiAccurate
- AMD cuts loose GlobalFoundries stake @ The Register
- Peter Molyneux has left Microsoft @ The Inquirer
- Workers can't escape Windows 8 Metro - Microsoft COO @ The Inquirer
- 5 Tips and Tricks for Using Yum @ The Register
- Adobe lobs out Flash update to plug 3D security hole @ The Register
- Six foot speaker shakes buildings to their foundation @ Hack a Da
- Digital Innovations Accessories @ TechwareLabs
- Cebit 2012 HardwareHeaven Coverage
A paper, titled “The Bleak Future of NAND Flash Memory” was recently jointly published by the University of California and Microsoft Research. It has been picked up by many media outlets who all seem to be beating the same morbid drum, spinning tales of a seemingly apocalyptic end to the reign of flash-based storage devices. While I agree with some of what these authors have to say, I have reservations about the methods upon which the paper is based.
TLC and beyond?
The paper kicks off by declaring steep increases in latency and drops in lifetime associated with increases in bits-per-cell. While this is true, flash memory manufacturers are not making large pushes to increase bits-per-cell beyond the standard MLC (2 bits per cell) tech. Sure some have dabbled in 3-bit MLC, also called Triple Level Cell (TLC) which is a bit of a misnomer since storing three bits in a cell actually requires eight voltage level bands, not three as the name implies. Moving from SLC to MLC doubles density, but the diminishing returns increase sharply after that – MLC to TLC only increases capacity by a another 1.5x, but sees a 2-4x reduction in performance and endurance. In light of this, there is little demand for TLC flash, and where there is, it’s clear by the usage cases that it is not meant for anything beyond light usage. There's nothing wrong with the paper going down this road, but the reality is that increasing bits per cell is not the envelope being pushed by the flash memory industry.
Wait a second – where is 25nm MLC?
Looking at the above we see a glaring omission – 25nm MLC flash, which has been around for close to two years now, and constitutes the majority of shipping flash memory parts currently in production. SLC was also omitted, but I can see the reason for this – it’s hard to get your hands on 25nm SLC these days. Why? Because MLC technology has been improved upon to the point where ‘enterprise MLC’ (eMLC) is rapidly replacing SLC even despite the supposed reduction in reliability and endurance over SLC. The reasons for this are simple, and are completely sidestepped or otherwise overlooked by the paper:
- SSD controllers employ write combination and wear leveling techniques.
- Some controllers even compress data on-the-fly as to further reduce writes and provisioning.
- Controller-level Error Correction (ECC) has improved dramatically with each process shrink.
- SSD controllers can be programmed to compensate for the drift of data stored in a cell (eMLC).