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!

OWC grabs the SandForce SF-2200 controller and heads for the lead of the SSD pack

Subject: Storage | June 23, 2011 - 10:47 AM |
Tagged: ssd, owc, sata 6Gps, sandforce

OWC has been around for a while, but since they were making drives for Apple they were not a common name for enthusiasts.  They've since broken free and are selling their SSD line to any and all.  The first generation was good, not outstanding but not a the back of the pack performance wise.  Their new Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G 240GB is poised to take the lead though, as Legit Reviews compared it to the outstanding OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 240 GB SSD.  In this apples to apples review we see the OWC hit reads of 559MB/s and writes of 527MB/s and it took top spot in quite a few benchmarks.

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"The SandForce SF-2200 controller does all the heavy lifting, pushing out listed reads of 559MB/s and writes of 527MB/s. This is almost exactly what we saw on the benchmarks in terms of max performance so OWC was true to their specifications. Fresh off of testing the OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 240 GB drive we felt others would have a tough time topping its performance but OWC came through with a drive that eked out better scores more often than not. OWC is going to garner a lot of attention if they keep putting out products like the 240 GB Mercury EXTREME Pro 6g SSD as we found it to be the best overall performing SATA III drive we have tested to date..."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

OCZ Technology Introduces Deneva 2 Series Of SSDs For The Enterprise

Subject: Storage | June 21, 2011 - 07:54 AM |
Tagged: ssd, sata 6Gps, sandforce, enterprise, deneva 2

SAN JOSE, CA—June 21, 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 Deneva 2 SSD line for enterprise clients. Taking full advantage of the cutting-edge SATA 6Gb/s interface, Deneva 2 SSDs are designed for a wide range of enterprise applications including servers, cloud computing, and data centers. The Deneva 2 series delivers maximum performance while meeting the stringent reliability, security, performance and economical needs of enterprise storage environments.

"Data centers are one application where the speed benefits of a fast SSD visibly fall straight to a company's bottom line," said SSD analyst Jim Handy of Objective Analysis. "This has driven the enterprise to be the fastest-growing market for SSDs - Objective Analysis forecasts for enterprise SSD unit shipments to grow at an average annual rate of 83 percent, nearly doubling every year."

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As the demand for increased storage efficiency, maximized data throughput, and a smaller operating footprint broadens across various industries, more and more companies are turning to the benefits of SSDs to significantly optimize their storage infrastructures. With these requirements in mind, OCZ has been a pioneer in the design and development of SSDs for the enterprise environment, pushing the envelope to develop solutions that combine industry-leading performance with a robust feature-set. Deneva 2, the company’s latest offering, features several enterprise-critical options not available in OCZ's consumer product lines, including power loss data protection, best-in-class endurance (e.g., minimal write amplification, intelligent block management and wear-leveling), and advanced encryption and ECC.

“Processing data is critical to any business looking to compete in a rapidly changing, global marketplace. However, many enterprise organizations are limited by outdated storage solutions, which limits their ability to process the necessary data they require to operate their businesses,” said Ryan Petersen, CEO at OCZ Technology Group. “Deneva 2 SSDs are optimized for high-volume storage applications, offer industry-leading reliability, and leverage the latest NAND and controller technology to deliver superior performance. This combination means that enterprises can overcome previous roadblocks, and use their data in real-time.”

Based on SandForce® SF-2000 SSD processors, the Deneva 2 series delivers up to 80,000 4KB random write IOPS and 550MB/s of potential bandwidth. Along with world-renowned performance, Deneva 2 SSDs are specifically designed to deliver superior reliability and are manufactured with the latest flash components specific to the customer’s needs. In addition, the series includes enterprise-grade multi-level cell (eMLC) NAND flash technology, which offers improved endurance for write-intensive applications. Deneva 2 SSDs can also be customized, come in a wide variety of interface options including PCIe, and are available in 2.5, 3.5, and 1.8 inch form factors for use in very high density computing environments, including blade servers.

OCZ Deneva 2 solutions overcome the performance, durability, and maintenance obstacles inherent to mechanical HDD storage. OCZ's ability to provide a tailored solution ensures ultimate compatibility, reliability, and cost-savings, resulting in products that are optimized to specifically address the unique needs of enterprise clients.

Does Intel's SRT need an Intel SSD to work properly?

Subject: Storage | June 20, 2011 - 09:25 AM |
Tagged: ssd, srt, Intel, kingston, cache

It is a common question with the release of the Z68 series of boards, as people wonder if they really need to shell out the money for an Intel SSD in order to take advantage of Intel Smart Response Technology, which lets you use an SSD of 60GB or less as a cache drive.  Techgage took it upon themselves to investigate and compared the performance improvements to a HDD when using an Intel 20GB 311 SATA II SSD and a Kingston 64GB SDnow 100V+ SATA II SSD.  As happens all to often lately the answer is not clear cut; the best cache drive depends heavily on the file sizes you commonly deal with.

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"When we tested out Intel's 'Smart Response Technology' last month, we liked what we saw. But at $110 for a 20GB SLC SSD, we wondered if a larger, more cost-effective option could still make the best use of the technology. With that, we're pitting Kingston's SSDNow V+100 64GB drive, at $150, against Intel's, to see if we retain SRT's effectiveness."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: Techgage

Intel Enterprise SSDs Specifications

Subject: General Tech, Storage | June 16, 2011 - 12:02 PM |
Tagged: ssd, Intel, enterprise

Intel is currently in the process of releasing their 2011 lineup of solid state hard drives. A lot of news and products came out regarding their consumer 300-series and enthusiast 500-series line however it has been pretty silent regarding their enterprise 700-series products. That has changed recently with the release of specifications as a result of Anandtech’s coverage of the German hardware website ComputerBase.de.

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And how does it compare to OCZ?

Intel will be releasing two enterprise SSDs: the SATA 3 Gbps based 710 SSD codename Lyndonville and the PCI express 2.0 based 720 SSD codename Ramsdale. The SATA based 710 will feature 25nm MLC-HET flash at capacities of 100, 200, and 300 GB. The 710 will have read and write speeds of 270/210 MB/s with 35,000/3300 read and write IOPS at 4KB and a 64MB cache. The PCIe based 720 will feature 34nm SLC flash at capacities of 200 and 400 GB. The 720 will be substantially faster than the 710 with read and write speeds of 2200/1800 MB/s with 180,000/56,000 read and write IOPS at 4KB and a 512MB cache. On the security front the 710 will be encrypted with 128 bit AES encryption where the 720 will be encrypted with 256 bit AES.

While there has been no hint toward pricing of these drives Intel is still expected to make a second quarter release date for their SATA based 710 SSD. If you are looking for a PCI express SSD you will need to be a bit more patient as they are still expected to be released in the fourth quarter. It will be interesting to see how the Intel vs OCZ fight will play out in 2012 for dominance in the PCIe-based SSD space.

Source: Anandtech

Revisiting the OCZ Agility 3 and its asynchronous flash

Subject: Storage | June 15, 2011 - 03:01 PM |
Tagged: ocz, agility 3, ssd, sandforce, sata 6Gps

It has been a few weeks since Al took a look at OCZ's 240GB Agility 3 drive, so it seems worth revisiting.  As you can see at OCIA, the drive is fast even with slightly cheaper memory inside and can compete with the theoretically more expensive Vertex drive.  Unfortunately just like Al saw, the street price does not reflect the internal parts, saving $10 over the Vertex model is not a great deal.

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"The SSD technology of today is worlds better than what we had in 2009. Better understanding of the technology, mature controllers, Windows 7, SATA 6Gb/sec and even the PCI-e bus have all advanced things to a point where SSDs are coming close to mainstream adoption. Pricing is also much more attractive as evident by the drive we are looking at today, OCZ's Agility 3 240GB unit. The Agility 3 is one of three new SATA 6Gb/sec SSDs and is classified as a high-performance drive alongside the higher-end Vertex 3."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Tweak your SSD: Notice the difference, and frown

Subject: General Tech, Storage | June 9, 2011 - 10:32 AM |
Tagged: tweak, ssd

The people who stick an SSD in their PC are typically the type of people who would want to optimize their performance as best as possible. Particularly with the larger investment of the earlier SSDs tweak guides were quite common to squeeze every IO/s and MB/s out of their device. Tom’s Hardware has just posted a list of common tweaks and a series of benchmarks performed on the tweaked system. According to their findings, you may wish to undo your tweaks.

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Don’t do it!

Some tweaks saw the occasional increase in performance though on the whole performance suffered by some extent. Tweaks that were designed to reclaim capacity gave you back quite a bit of space however, though you should expect that if your drive is not storing system restore points, file system indexes, or your swap file that you would have more usable space on your drive. The hit on performance from the performance tweaks typically were not too great with the exception of write caching on Intel drives bringing their write speeds to single digit MB/s. Check out Tom’s Hardware’s full guide for more information.

Corsair recalls entire Force Series 3 SSD line, cites hardware defects.

Subject: Storage | June 7, 2011 - 02:47 PM |
Tagged: ssd, sandforce, corsair

 

Today Corsair announced a full recall of the CSSD-F120GB3-BK line.

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For further details, I yield to the statement from Corsair:

Over the past several days, we have analyzed issues associated with the stability of our recently released 120GB Force Series 3 SSD (Corsair part number CSSD-F120GB3-BK). Our review has identified that a significant percentage of these drive do not operate to specification. The solution will require changes to both the SSD firmware and the hardware components of the SSD itself.
 
We’ve worked closely with our partners to determine a root cause but there is no single issue at fault.  I’m sure you’ll have qu
estions about how this could happen but we can only say that our production test did not catch this combination of issues and we have implemented multiple corrective actions, involving both firmware and hardware, and are confident we have resolved all currently known issues.
 
This is our fault, our production tests didn’t catch the issue before the drives were shipped to the consumer and we take full responsibility for our products, which is why we’re asking for them to be returned and will be picking up return shipping.
 
Consumers should be directed to the following link in our forums for instructions on returning their drives.
 
http://forum.corsair.com/v3/showthread.php?t=95825

For those curious, since the cause is hardware stemming from the reference design of the PCB, it affects only those SandForce drives relying on it. OCZ uses their own design for the Vertex 3 and Agility 3 series SSD's, so those are safe from known hardware issues and remain subject to only the typical firmware bugs addressed by routine updates.

Back to the issue at hand. If you own a model CSSD-F120GB3-BK SSD, back up immediately and hit the link above to have Corsair sort you out.

Podcast #157 - OCZ Agility 3 SSD, Lucid Virtu Universal, new ROG Motherboards and more from Computex 2011!

Subject: General Tech | June 2, 2011 - 02:55 AM |
Tagged: ssd, ROG, podcast, ocz, msi, asus

PC Perspective Podcast #157- 6/02/2011

This week we talk about the OCZ Agility 3 SSD, Lucid Virtu Universal, new Asus ROG Motherboards and GTX580s, and more from Computex 2011!

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: 56:49

Program Schedule:

 

Source: PCPer

New Gigabyte Motherboards: Llano, iSSD and Socket 2011 Models

Subject: Motherboards, Shows and Expos | June 2, 2011 - 01:52 AM |
Tagged: ssd, socket 2011, llano, intel ssd, gigabyte, computex, APU

We stopped by the Gigaybte booth during Computex 2011 this week and found a host of new motherboards that range from the mainstream to the ultra-extreme. 

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First up is the A75-UD4H that supports the new AMD FM1 socket and the upcoming AMD Llano processor.  Even though the APU will have integrated graphics on die, the Gigabyte board support AMD Dual Graphics technology and CrossFire multi-GPU solutions in conjunction with 8 USB 3.0 ports. 

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The board will include output connections of VGA, DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort along with size USB ports, four of which are USB 3.0. 

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The Z68XP-UD3 motherboard is one that will be offered in two different ways: one with an SSD and one without.  The "iSSD" model will actually include an mSATA Intel 20GB SLC SSD and should come in at a cost of under $250.  Considering the Larson Creek drive will cost you anywhere from $90-110 on its own, the combination of a Z68 motherboard and SSD is actually very price competitive.  Plus, you get the convenience of having the SSD on the motherboard without it taking up a 3.5-in or 2.5-in drive bay.

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For those that choose to get the lower cost board without the included Intel SSD you will be able to choose from several other newcomers to the mSATA form factor including Kingston and OCZ.

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Of course we had to take a look at the Socket 2011 motherboard, the X79A-UD3 with support for the upcoming Intel Sandy Bridge-E processor.  According to the slide information this will include a new version of the SSD caching technology called RSTe (Rapid Storage Technology Enterprise) with support for USB 3.0 and quad-channel DDR3 memory.

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For those that haven't seen, here is a close up of the Socket 2011 in all its glory - that's a lot of pins!!

Computex 2011 Coverage brought to you by MSI Computer and Antec

Source: Gigabyte