Parsing the alphabet soup which is the current SSD market

Subject: Storage | November 10, 2015 - 01:10 PM |
Tagged: ssd, NVMe, M.2, M&A, 3D XPoint

This has been a huge year for SSDs with a variety of new technologies and form factors to keep track of, not to mention the wide variety of vendors now shipping SSDs with a plethora of controllers embedded within.  [H]ard|OCP has put together a guide to help you translate these acronyms into a form that will help you to make an informed buying decision.  You may already understand what NVMe offers or when 3D XPoint flash is the correct solution but have you memorized what U.2 A, B, E, and M connectors look like.  For information on those and more check out their article and consider bookmarking it for future reference.


"Since our last SSD update article, the last 7 months have seen no shortage of exciting announcements, and the enthusiast market has rapidly evolved in both positive and confusing ways. Let’s get up to speed on U.2, NVMe, 3D XPoint, M&A, and the rest of the buzzword soup that make up this market."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:


Source: [H]ard|OCP

Samsung's Enterprise SSD PM1725 Hits 6 GB/s and 1 Million IOPS in Demo

Subject: Storage | October 23, 2015 - 01:28 AM |
Tagged: storage, ssd, solid-state drive, Samsung, PM1725, enterprise

The 950 Pro SSD is here, (and Allyn has the full review right here) and while it's the fastest consumer SSD out there, the latest enterprise SSD demo from Samsung is absolutely insane.


Image credit: Kit Guru

The PM1725 has a PCI Express 3.0 x8 interface, and a 2.5" version will also be available (though limited to PCI Express 3.0 x4). And with read speeds in excess of 6.2 GB/s the PM1725 sounds like a RAM disk. And if that wasn't enough the drive managed a million IOPS from a demo performance for this new SSD at Dell World in Austin, Texas.


Image credit: Tom's Hardware

Tom's Hardware had hands-on time with the card and was able to run a few benchmarks verifying the outlandish speeds from this SSD, with their 6.2+ GB/s result coming from a 128k QD32 sequential test, with the IOPS test run as a 4k random read.


Image credit: Tom's Hardware

I'm sure the price will be similarly out of this world and this of course isn't a consumer-oriented (or likely even bootable) option. For now the Samsung 950 Pro is the object of NVMe desire for many, and for $199.99 ($0.78/GB) for the 256 GB model and $349.99 ($0.68/GB) for the 512 GB model on the 950 Pro is pretty reasonable - even if they "only" offer up to 2.5 GB/s reads and 1.5 GB/s writes. I'd certainly take it!

Western Digital to Buy SanDisk for $19 Billion

Subject: Storage | October 21, 2015 - 09:22 AM |
Tagged: western digital, WD, sandisk, ssd, hard drives, solid-state drive


Western Digital has agreed to purchase Sandisk for $19 billion in cash and stock, a deal which values Sandisk at $86.50 per share and represents a 12% premium over yesterday's closing price. Current Western Digital CEO Steve Milligan will remain in charge of the company, which retains its headquarters in Irvine, California, while SanDisk's CEO Sanjay Mehrotra is expected to remain with Western Digital and join their board of directors.


Sandisk had reportedly been looking for a buyer, with Micron the other likely candidate according to this morning's report from The Wall Street Journal. The move should help to better position Western Digital in the SSD space, something rival Seagate appeared to be focused on when purchasing LSI last year. Neither company has any significant presence in the consumer solid-state market dominated by Samsung, and it will be interesting to see where WD goes with the Sandisk brand.

$700 for 2TB of SSD goodness

Subject: Storage | September 29, 2015 - 07:07 PM |
Tagged: tlc, ssd, Samsung 850 EVO 2 TB, 850 EVO, 2TB

That's right, currently $713 will pick you up a 2TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD but how does it perform?  The Tech Report is on the case with their latest review, checking out how 32-layer 128Gbit 3D V-NAND with 2GB of DRAM cache and an upgraded Samsung MHX controller perform.  It took some doing but once they had filled its over-provisioned area the drive levelled out at 7252 IOps on the random write test though the peak of 84423 was certainly impressive.  Check out the full review to see if this is the large sized SSD for you or if you prefer smaller, more agile SSDs which do not use TLC NAND. 

If you are like me and running out of mental storage space, you may have already forgotten about Al's review of this drive.


"Samsung now offers its popular and affordable 850 EVO SSD in an enormous 2TB configuration. We put the EVO to the test to see how this behemoth performs"

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:


Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Intel

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging


What's better than an 18-channel NVMe PCIe Datacenter SSD controller in a Half Height Half Length (HHHL) package? *TWO* 18-channel NVMe PCIe Datacenter controllers in a HHHL package! I'm sure words to this effect were uttered in an Intel meeting room some time in the past, because such a device now exists, and is called the SSD DC P3608:


The P3608 is essentially a pair of P3600's glued together on a single PCB, much like how some graphics cards merge a pair of GPUs to act with the performance of a pair of cards combined into a single one:


What is immediately impressive here is that Intel has done this same trick within 1/4 of the space (HHHL compared to a typical graphics card). We can only imagine the potential of a pair of P3600 SSDs, so lets get right into the specs, disassembly, and testing!

Read on for the full review!

Samsung Launches 950 PRO - 300,000 IOPS and 2.5 GB/sec from a M.2 V-NAND SSD!

Subject: Storage | September 22, 2015 - 02:39 AM |
Tagged: vnand, V-NAND, ssd, Samsung, pcie, NVMe, M.2 2280, M.2, 950 PRO, 512GB, 256GB

I’ve been waiting a long time for Samsung to put their V-NAND flash memory into a PCIe connected SSD, and such a product has just been officially announced at the Samsung SSD Global Summit.


Samsung’s new product launching will be called the 950 PRO. This will be an M.2 2280 form factor product running at PCIe 3.0 x4. Equipped with Samsung’s 32-layer V-NAND and using the NVMe protocol enabled by a new UBX controller, the 950 PRO will be capable of up to an impressive 300,000 random read IOPS. Random writes come in at 110,000 IOPS and sequential throughputs are expected to be 2.5 GB/sec reads and 1.5 GB/sec for writes. Available capacities will be 256GB and 512GB.




The 950 PRO will be shipping with a 5-year warranty rated at 200 terabytes written for the 256GB model and 400 TBW for the 512GB. That works out to just over 100GB per day for both capacities.

These hit retail in October and we currently have samples in hand for testing.


(for those curious, both capacities only have components on the front side of the PCB)

Full press blast after the break.

Source: Samsung

Good Morning (Night) From Seoul! New Samsung SSDs Are Coming!

Subject: Storage | September 21, 2015 - 11:32 AM |
Tagged: vnand, Summit, ssd, Seoul, Samsung, M.2, Korea, Global, 2015

As I hinted during last week's podcast, I am in Seoul, Korea to cover an upcoming press conference.


To those keen readers who have followed my previous trips here, it can only mean one thing -


..and with a Samsung SSD Global Summit comes product announcements. Those don't happen until tomorrow (late tonight for you folks back in the states), but I did notice a clue on the cover of our itinerary folder:


See it? Here, let me help:



A VNAND powered M.2 (presumably NVMe) SSD is *exactly* the thing I have been waiting for Samsung to unleash into the wild ever since we reviewed their NVMe SM951. Given that Samsung's prior M.2 offerings gave the Intel SSD 750 a run for its money all while consuming half the power, and did so with Samsung's older 2D Planar NAND, you can bet a VNAND version will be something to behold. Let's hope this new model is released as a consumer product and doesn't end up as OEM-channel unobtanium like the NVMe SM951 was!

Keep an eye out for additional posts from our coverage of the 2015 Samsung SSD Global Summit!

IDF 2015: OCZ RevoDrive 400 PCIe NVMe Spotted in HHHL and M.2 Packaging

Subject: Storage | August 19, 2015 - 09:41 PM |
Tagged: IDF 2015, ocz, revodrive, RevoDrive 400, M.2, HHHL, pcie, NVMe, ssd

While roaming around at IDF, Ryan spotted a couple of new OCZ parts that were strangely absent from Flash Memory Summit:


You are looking at what is basically a Toshiba NVMe PCIe controller and flash, tuned for consumer applications and packaged/branded by OCZ. The only specific we know about it is that the scheduled release is in the November time frame. No specifics on performance yet but it should easily surpass any SATA SSD, but might fall short of the quad-controller-RAID RevoDrive 350 in sequentials.

As far as NVMe PCIe SSDs go, I'm happy to see more and more appearing on the market from every possible direction. It can only mean good things as it will push motherboard makers to perfect their UEFI boot compatibility sooner rather than later.

More to come on the RevoDrive 400 as November is just around the corner!

IDF 2015: Updated: Kingston NVMe PCIe Prototype Shown With New Phison E7 Controller

Subject: Storage | August 19, 2015 - 09:26 PM |
Tagged: ssd, pcie, NVMe, kingston, IDF 2015

**Edit** There was some speculation about which controller was in this SSD. It has since been solved. Here's a shot of the top of the PCB:


Now lets compare that with a shot I caught at FMS 2015 last week:


...from the Phison booth. I hadn't wirtten up my Phison post yet but this new Kingston SSD is most certainly going to be using the Phison E7 controller. Here's the placard stating some high level specs:


***end edit***

We saw a draft copy of Kingston’s HyperX Predator at CES 2014. That demo unit was equipped with a SandForce 3700 series controller, but since SandForce never came through on that part, Kingston had to switch gears and introduce the HyperX Predator with a Marvell 88SS9293 controller. The Marvell part was very capable, and the HyperX Predator turned out to be an attractive and performant PCIe SSD. The one catch was that Marvell’s controller was only an AHCI part, while newer NVMe-based SSDs were quickly pushing the Predator down in our performance results.

Kingston’s solution is a newer generation PCIe SSD, this time equipped with NVMe:


We have very little additional information about this new part, though we can tell from the above image that the flash was provided by Toshiba (toggle mode). They also had Iometer running:


We were not sure of the exact workload being run, but those results are in line with the specs we saw listed on Silicon Motion’s SM2260, seen last week at Flash Memory Summit.

We’ll keep track of the development of this new part and hope to see it in a more disclosed form at CES 2016. Kingston's IDF 2015 press blast appears after the break.

Source: Kingston

IDF 2015: Intel Launches Optane Technology - XPoint for Everyone!

Subject: Storage | August 18, 2015 - 02:20 PM |
Tagged: XPoint, ssd, Optane, Intel, IDF 2015

Just three weeks ago, we reported 3D XPoint Technology. This was a 2-layer stack of non-volatile memory that couples the data retention of NAND flash memory with speeds much closer to that of DRAM.


The big question at that time was less about the tech and more about its practical applications. Ryan is out covering IDF, and he just saw the first publically announced application by Intel:


Intel Optane Technology is Intel’s term for how they are going to incorporate XPoint memory dies into the devices we use today. They intend to start with datacenter storage and work their way down to ultrabooks, which means that XPoint must come in at a cost/GB closer to NAND than to DRAM. For those asking specific performance figures after our earlier announcement, here are a couple of performance comparisons between an SSD DC P3700 and a prototype SSD using XPoint:


At QD=8, the XPoint equipped prototype comes in at 5x the performance of the P3700. The bigger question is how about QD=1 performance, as XPoint is supposed to be far less latent than NAND?


Yes, you read that correctly, that’s 76k IOPS at QD=1. That means only issuing the SSD one command at a time, waiting for a reply, and only then issuing another command. Basically the worst case for SSD performance, as no commands are stacked up in the queue to enable parallelism to kick in and increase overall throughput. For comparison, SATA SSDs have a hard time maintaining that figure at their maximum queue depths of 32.

Exciting to see a follow-on announcement so quickly after the announcement of the technology itself, but remember that Intel did state ‘2016’ for these to start appearing, so don’t put off that SSD 750 purchase just yet.

More to follow as we continue our coverage of IDF 2015!