Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Western Digital

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging

Introduction:

If you're into the laptop storage upgrade scene, you hear the same sort of arguments all the time. "Do I go with a HDD for a large capacity and low cost/GB, but suffer performance"? "I want an SSD, but can't afford the capacity I need"! The ideal for this scenario is to combine both - go with a small capacity SSD for your operating system and apps, while going with a larger HDD for bulk storage at a lower cost/GB. The catch here is that most mobile platforms only come with a single 2.5" 9.5mm storage bay, and you just can't physically fit a full SSD and a full HDD into that space, can you? Well today Western Digital has answered that challenge with the Black2 Dual Drive:

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Yup, we're not kidding. This is a 120GB SSD *and* a 1TB HDD in a single package. Not a hybrid. Two drives, and it's nothing short of a work of art.

Continue reading our review of the Western Digital Black2 Dual Drive!!

Author:
Manufacturer: Sony

Does downloading make a difference?

This is PART 2 of our testing on the PlayStation 4 storage systems, with the stock hard drive, an SSHD hybrid and an SSD.  Previously, we compared performance based on Blu-ray based installations though today we add downloaded titles from PSN to the mix.  Be sure you read PART 1, PlayStation 4 (PS4) HDD, SSHD and SSD Performance Testing.

I posted a story earlier this week that looked at the performance of the new PS4 when used with three different 2.5-in storage options: the stock 500GB hard drive, a 1TB hybrid SSHD and a 240GB SSD.  The results were fairly interesting (and got a good bit of attention) but some readers wanted more data.  In particular, many asked how things might change if you went the full digital route and purchased games straight from the Sony's PlayStation Network.  I also will compare boot times for each of the tested storage devices.

You should definitely check out the previous article if you missed it. It not only goes through the performance comparison but also details how to change the hard drive on the PS4 from the physical procedure to the software steps necessary. The article also details the options we selected for our benchmarking.

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Today I purchased a copy of Assassin's Creed IV from the PSN store (you're welcome Ubisoft) and got to testing.  The process was the same: start the game then load the first save spot.  Again, each test was run three times and the averages were reported. The PS4 was restarted between each run.

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The top section of results is the same that was presented earlier - average load times for AC IV when the game is installed from the Blu-ray.  The second set is new and includes average load times fro AC IV after the installation from the PlayStation Network; no disc was in the drive during testing.

Continue reading our story on the performance testing of HDD, SSD and SSHD with downloaded and Blu-ray installed games on PS4!!

Author:
Manufacturer: Sony

Load time improvements

This is PART 1 of our testing on the PlayStation 4 storage systems, with the stock hard drive, an SSHD hybrid and an SSD.  In PART 2 we take a look at the changes introduced with PSN downloaded games versus Blu-ray installed games as well as show boot time differences.  Be sure you read PART 2, PlayStation 4 (PS4) Blu-ray and Download Storage Performance, Boot Times.

On Friday Sony released the PlayStation 4 onto the world.  The first new console launch in 7 years, the PS4 has a lot to live up to, but our story today isn't going to attempt to weigh the value of the hardware or software ecosystem.  Instead, after our PS4 teardown video from last week, we got quite a few requests for information on storage performance with the PS4 and what replacement hardware might offer gamers.

Hard Drive Replacement Process

Changing the hard drive in your PlayStation 4 is quite simple, a continuation of a policy Sony's policy with the PS3.

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Installation starts with the one semi-transparent panel on the top of the unit, to the left of the light bar.  Obviously make sure your PS4 is completely turned off and unplugged.

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Simply slide it to the outside of the chassis and wiggle it up to release.  There are no screws or anything to deal with yet.

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Once inside you'll find a screw with the PS4 shapes logos on them; that is screw you need to remove to pull out the hard drive cage. 

Continue reading our analysis of PS4 HDD, SSHD and SSD Performance!!

OCZ shrinks their flash and is proud to show it off

Subject: Storage | November 8, 2013 - 03:08 PM |
Tagged: Vector 150, toshiba mlc, ssd, ocz, 19nm, Indilinx, barefoot 3

OCZ's newest contribution to the SSD market is the Vector 150 with 19nm flash and a tiny footprint perfect for today's ultra-mobile devices.  One of the most welcome advances in this family is increased over-provisioning of flash storage which allows increased lifespan by letting the drive retire more flash as it slowly becomes unusable without shrinking the size of the drive.  As far as the performance goes it beats out almost all previous drives we have seen and while The Tech Report is a little worried about the lifetime of the Barefoot controller the 5 year warranty mitigates that concern somewhat.

You can also see how well it survived Al's torture testing here.

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"There's a new SSD in town. OCZ's Vector 150 combines the Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller with 19-nm Toshiba NAND and additional spare area. We take a closer look at how it measures up."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: OCZ Technology

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging

Introduction:

It has been a while since OCZ introduced their Vector SSD, and it was in need of a refresh to bring its pricing more in-line with the competition, which had been equipping their products with physically smaller flash dies (therefore reducing cost). Today, OCZ launched a refresh to their Vector - now dubbed the Vector 150:

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The OCZ strategy changed up a while back. They removed a lot of redundancy and confusing product lines, consolidating everything into a few simple solutions. Here's a snapsot of that strategy, showing the prior and newer iterations of three simple solutions:

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The Vector 150 we look at today falls right into the middle here. I just love the 'ENTHUSIST' icon they went with:

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Read on for our full review of the new OCZ Vector 150!

The continuing Tech Report SSD torture test

Subject: Storage | November 4, 2013 - 11:53 AM |
Tagged: ssd, endurance

The Tech Report have hit the 200TB mark on their testing of ~250GB SSDs from Corsair, Intel, Samsung and Kingston and the drives are starting to feel it.  At the 100TB mark Intel and Samsung drives started to lose blocks of storage and at 200TB all but two drives have shown evidence of degradation.  The non-Pro Samsung 840 has suffered the most but its performance is very similar to what it was in the beginning while the Corsair and the Kingston drive receiving only compressed data report themselves in perfect health.  Check out the exact performance deltas in their article.

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"We're in the process of hammering six SSDs with an unrelenting torrent of writes to see what happens as the flash wears out. Today, we check in on the drives after 200TB of writes."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Toshiba hardens their flash storage

Subject: General Tech | November 1, 2013 - 11:59 AM |
Tagged: toshiba, ssd

Toshiba made a quick announcement today covering a new line of drives they will be releasing which have much greater endurance than their previous models.  The limited lifespan of flash memory has been a concern for many and this drive should reassure users as it could survive 5 full drive writes per day for 5 years.  As the vast majority of users are unlikely to fully fill a drive 5 times that 5 year estimate is lower than most would see.  The drives will also be relatively speedy, The Register reports 130,000 random 4K read IOPS, 42,000 random write ones and 410 MiB/sec sequential write bandwidth.

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"This SSD is made from Tosh’s 24nm enterprise-class NAND (eNAND) and comes in 100GB, 200GB, 400GB and 800GB capacity points. The 30 drive writes/day stat applies to all models. It means that, for example, the 800GB product can have 43.8PB written to it during its 5-year warranted life."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

OCZ Introduces new 19nm Enterprise SATA III SSDs to Its Popular Deneva 2 Series

Subject: Storage | September 24, 2013 - 12:23 PM |
Tagged: ssd, ocz, enterprise ssd, deneva 2, 19nm

SAN JOSE, CA – September 24, 2013 - OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, today announced the latest addition to the popular Deneva 2 Series which now utilizes 19 nanometer (nm) NAND flash. The new models are 2.5-inch, 6Gbps SATA III-based Multi-Level Cell (MLC) drives that implement the Deneva 2 SSD Series feature-set and are built around a smaller NAND flash process geometry. This cutting-edge drive solution also features a completely new power architecture that was designed from the ground up to optimize server back plane functionality, providing enhanced management of in-rush current and power fluctuation. The result is an advanced SSD series that delivers superior storage performance, enterprise-class endurance, reliability and quality, and excellent total cost of ownership for customers.

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“Our Deneva 2 has been a popular SSD series among IT professionals not only as an HDD replacement but to dramatically accelerate I/O access of such popular enterprise applications as OnLine Transaction Processing, database warehousing, read intensive data caching and server boot-ups,” said Daryl Lang, SVP of Product Management for OCZ Technology. “By implementing new features and the latest NAND flash process geometry we are able to deliver an optimal balance of I/O performance and cost-efficiency to our customers.”

The new Deneva 2 SSDs continue to utilize the proven and effective LSI SandForce® SF-2281 processor and delivers exceptional performance with 19nm toggle mode NAND flash. The performance specifications support read bandwidth up to 550 MB/s, write bandwidth up to 520 MB/s, random read throughput (4K blocks) over 45,000 input/output operations per second (IOPS), and random write throughput (4K blocks) over 34,000 IOPS. It provides consistent sustained performance over time so that users can achieve faster file transfers, boot-ups and benefit from a more responsive storage experience. With a priority on reliability and flash-optimized enterprise endurance, the new Deneva 2 includes advanced features such as data fail recovery, intelligent block management, wear leveling and robust error correction. Additionally, power consumption has also been lowered in the new models as well.

The new Deneva 2 SSD Series are now available in three models supporting 120GB capacity (Model D2CSTK251M3T-0120), 240GB capacity (Model D2CSTK251M3T-0240) and 480GB capacity (Model D2CSTK251M3T-0480). For more information, visit www.ocz.com/enterprise.

22 Terabytes of hammering on the Anvil

Subject: Storage | September 6, 2013 - 11:25 AM |
Tagged: endurance, ssd, anvils storage utility

The Tech Report have seen some mixed results from their SSD endurance testing using Anvil's Storage Utility.  There has not been any mentionable performance degradation for any of the SSDs they have been testing but Kingston's drives have shown some unpredicted behaviour. The HyperX series displayed speed increases, a slight increase in sequential reads and writes as well as random writes and a large increase in random reads.   Tune in next time when they reach 100TB.

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"We're testing six SSDs to see how many writes they can take before burning out and what happens to performance as the flash degrades. Today, we check in on our subjects after 22TB of writes."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Kingspec Reveals 1TB PCI-E SSD Using Eight RAIDed mSATA SSDs

Subject: Storage | September 3, 2013 - 11:37 PM |
Tagged: ssd, PCIe SSD, msata, LSI, kingspec, jmicron

KingSpec recently started shipping a new PCI-E based SSD that achieves more than 2.5GB/s sequential read performance from multiple mSATA SSDs behind a 6Gbps LSI RAID controller. The KingSpec MC2J677M1T is a full height expansion card with a PCI-E 2.0 x8 interface.

The new KingSpec solid state drive is bootable and uses a 6Gbps LSI RAID controller that connects to eight 6Gbps mSATA slots. The drive comes in 1TB and 2TB total capacities and the eight 6Gbps mSATA slots are occupied by eight 128GB or 256GB mSATA SSDs. Each mSATA SSD is powered by a Jmircon SSD controller, NANYA-manufactured DRAM cache, and Intel MLC NAND flash. Further, the LSI RAID controller is actively cooled by a small fan.

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As far as performance goes, the 1TB model is rated at 84,000 IOPS and approximately 2GB/s sequential read and write transfer speeds. The SSD Review received a sample of the new drive and provided some preliminary benchmark results in the form of an ATTO benchmark run. At a queue depth of 4, the KingSpec MC2J677M1T achieved 4K reads of 2567 MB/s and 4K writes of 1613 MB/s.

The 1TB KingSpec PCI-E SSD will be available later this year for between $2,000 and $3,000 USD.

When asked for his thoughts, PC Perspective storage editor Allyn Malventano noted that the eight JMicron-driven mSATA SSDs in RAID is just asking for trouble, and the 4K random IO offered by the drive is actually less than some single drive SATA SSDs on the market. Unfortunately, the LSI RAID controller is “a major bottleneck for SSD-level random access.”