Subject: Storage | August 11, 2015 - 08:40 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: toshiba, ssd, FMS 2015, flash, BiCS, Archive, Archival, 3d
We occasionally throw around the '3-bit MLC' (Multi Level Cell) term in place of 'TLC' (Triple Level Cell) when talking about flash memory. Those terms are interchangeable, but some feel it is misleading as the former still contains the term MLC. At Toshiba's keynote today, they showed us why the former is important:
Photo source: Sam Chen of Custom PC Review
That's right - QLC (Quadruple Level Cell), which is also 4-bit MLC, has been mentioned by Toshiba. As you can see at the right of that slide, storing four bits in a single flash cell means there are *sixteen* very narrow voltage ranges representing the stored data. That is a very hard thing to do, and even harder to do with high performance (programming/writing would take a relatively long time as the circuitry nudges the voltages to such a precise level). This is why Toshiba pitched this flash as a low cost solution for archival purposes. You wouldn't want to use this type of flash in a device that was written constantly, since the channel materials wearing out would have a much more significant effect on endurance. Suiting this flash to be written only a few times would keep it in a 'newer' state that would be effective for solid state data archiving.
The 1x / 0.5x / 6x figures appearing in the slide are meant to compare relative endurance to Toshiba's own planar 15nm flash. The figures suggest that Toshiba's BiCS 3D flash is efficient enough to go to QLC (4-bit) levels and still maintain a higher margin than their current MLC (2-bit) 2D flash.
More to follow as we continue our Flash Memory Summit coverage!
Introduction, Specifications and Packaging
Since their acquisition by Toshiba in early 2014, OCZ has gradually transitioned their line of SSD products to include parts provided by their parent company. Existing products were switched over to Toshiba flash memory, and that transition went fairly smoothly, save the recent launch of their Vector 180 (which had a couple of issues noted in our review). After that release, we waited for the next release from OCZ, hoping for something fresh, and that appears to have just happened:
OCZ sent us a round of samples for their new OCZ Trion 100 SSD. This SSD was first teased at Computex 2015. This new model would not only use Toshiba sourced flash memory, it would also displace the OCZ / Indilinx Barefoot controller with Toshiba's own. Then named 'Alishan', this is now officially called the 'Toshiba Controller TC58'. As we found out during Computex, this controller employs Toshiba's proprietary Quadruple Swing-By Code (QSBC) error correction technology:
Error correction tech gets very wordy, windy, and technical and does so very quickly, so I'll do my best to simplify things. Error correction is basically some information interleaved within the data stored on a given medium. Pretty much everything uses it in some form or another. Some Those 700MB CD-R's you used to burn could physically hold over 1GB of data, but all of that extra 'unavailable' space was error correction necessary to deal with the possible scratches and dust over time. Hard drives do the same sort of thing, with recent changes to how the data is interleaved. Early flash memory employed the same sort of simple error correction techniques initially, but advances in understanding of flash memory error modes have led to advances in flash-specific error correction techniques. More advanced algorithms require more advanced math that may not easily lend itself to hardware acceleration. Referencing the above graphic, BCH is simple to perform when needed, while LDPC is known to be more CPU (read SSD controller CPU) intensive. Toshiba's proprietary QSB tech claims to be 8x more capable of correcting errors, but what don't know what, if any, performance penalty exists on account of it.
We will revisit this topic a bit later in the review, but for now lets focus on the other things we know about the Trion 100. The easiest way to explain it is this is essentially Toshiba's answer to the Samsung EVO series of SSDs. This Toshiba flash is configured in a similar fashion, meaning the bulk of it operates in TLC mode, while a portion is segmented off and operates as a faster SLC-mode cache. Writes first go to the SLC area and are purged to TLC in the background during idle time. Continuous writes exceeding the SLC cache size will drop to the write speed of the TLC flash.
Subject: General Tech | June 15, 2015 - 01:42 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: non-volatile RAM, Nantero, NRAM, STT-MRAM, RRAM, memristor, hp, Panasonic, toshiba
Non-volatile memory technology is now at a turning point where we find out which technology will be doomed to be BETAMAX and which will carry on to become the VHS equivalent; hopefully that analogy is not too accurate as VHS was not the better of the two. Allyn discussed the reasons why the market is looking for a new technology back in 2012 and his predictions that NAND still had some life in it have been proven over the past few years but we are seeing new limitations with the current technology.
In the past we have covered HP's Resistive RAM, also called a Memrisitor, which has been in development for many years but has finally appeared in some Panasonic microcomputers which control sensors. STT-MRAM, spin transfer torque magnetoresistive random access memory, is Toshiba's project and while we still haven't seen any product it has been in development for more than 3 years and news of prototypes should arrive soon. Lastly is NRAM, nano-RAM so named for the use of carbon based nanotubes in its design which is being developed by Nantero.
It is Nantero which is in the news today, having secured $31.5 million in funding this year, triple what they have seen in previous years according to the numbers The Inquirer has. This particular technology offers densities in the terabytes per chip, storage which requires no active power source once written to and data retention of over 1,000 years at 85 degrees Celsius. The speeds should match those expected from STT-RAM but at a fabrication price closer to the much lower cost RRAM; don't hold off buying your next SSD but do not think that market is going to get boring any time soon.
"It got $31.5m in an over-subscribed round to continue developing its nanotube-based non-volatile RAM (NRAM) semiconductor technology, which it says has DRAM read/write speed and is ultra-high density – think terabits."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- AMD's Next Generation Graphics Architecture; The Recipe for Success @ Hardware Canucks
- Linux Mint 17.1: Simplicity at Its Best @ Linux.com
- Microsoft, IBM and ARM back new centralised patent ownership database @ The Inquirer
- Bethesda Unveils New Doom Game, Announces Dishonored 2 @ Slashdot
- Windows Server 2003 end of life is less than a month away @ The Inquirer
- Hey kids, who wants to pwn a million BIOSes? @ The Register
- ISP Level 3 goes TITSUP after giganto traffic routing blunder @ The Register
Subject: Storage | May 7, 2015 - 03:22 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: toshiba, Canvio Connect, backup, external drive
At a $90 price point the 2TB Toshiba Canvio Connect is not a huge investment to give yourself another way to back up your precious data; remember kids the equation is Actual Number of backups = Number of Backups - 1. It is also a good choice for portable storage, at 8.2oz and 111x79x21mm (4.4x3.1x0.8") it will easily fit into your bag or laptop case. Hardware Secrets tested it for speed and found it a bit slower than the competition but certainly within expectations for a USB 3.0 drive. They prefer the Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB overall, for the same price it is slightly faster and slimmer as well.
"Users are always damanding more and more storage space, not only inside their computers, but also as portable external hard disk drives. Nowadays, 2 TB portable external drives are becoming popular, and we will test the Toshiba 2 TB Canvio Connect, comparing it to the Seagate 2 TB Backup Plus Slim and the Western Digital 2 TB My Passport Ultra that we've already reviewed. They are all compact drives and make use of the USB 3.0 interface. Which one is the fastest? Let's see!"
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- QNAP TurboNAS TS-453S Pro NAS Server Review @ NikKTech
- Thecus N4310 @ HardwareHeaven
- WD My Cloud Professional DL2100 @ The Inquirer
- Kingston HyperX Predator PCIe SSD @ Modders-Inc
- Patriot Ignite 480GB Review @ OCC
- Kingston SSDNow KC310 960GB SSD Review @ NikKTech
- Kingston HyperX Predator PCIe M.2 SSD @ Benchmark Reviews
Subject: Storage | April 28, 2015 - 01:51 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Phison PS3110, 19nm, toshiba, toggle NAND, kingston hyper x, ssd
When you pick up a Kingston HyperX Savage SSD you have a choice of the barebones model at $122 for the 240GB model or you can pay an extra $25 for the upgrade kit which contains 2.5mm z-height adapter, a SATA 6Gb/s cable, a 2.5" to 3.5" adapter plate, Acronis True Image HD imaging software, a micro-screwdriver set, and a USB 3.0 enclosure with USB 3.0 cable. That upgrade kit is perfect for those looking for an easy way to move their entire OS to the new SSD with a minimum of fuss. Inside the drive is the Phison PS3110 controller with a 256MB DDR3-1600 cache and Toshiba's 19nm Toggle Mode NAND. Hardware Canucks put the drive to the test and it shows huge improvements from the first generation, enough to put it in competition with offerings from OCZ, Intel and Crucial. This demonstrates a faster evolution that competitors products but it does unfortunately come at a price that is a bit high compared to those competitors offerings.
"The affordable Kingston HyperX Savage is one of the first SSDs to use the new Phison PS3110 controller and the end results are extremely impressive to say the least."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Kingston HyperX Savage 240GB SSD Upgrade Bundle Review @HiTech Legion
- Kingston HyperX Savage SSD @ The SSD Review
- Kingston HyperX Savage @ Benchmark Reviews
- Kingston HyperX Savage 240GB SSD Review, Raw Savage Speed @ Bjorn3d
- Kingston HyperX Savage SSD @ Modders-Inc
- Intel 750 Series @ HardwareHeaven
- Seagate Enterprise NAS HDD 6TB SATA III HDD Review @ NikKTech
Subject: Storage | March 23, 2015 - 03:47 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: toshiba, MG04ACA400A, datacenter, enterprise
Toshiba's new MG04ACA series are Enterprise class HDDs available in increments of 1TB, from 2TB to 6TB and ship with either 4K or 512B emulation depending on your preference. Mad Shrimps just wrapped up a review of the 4TB model which certainly cannot match a SSD for speed but it is rated for 1400000 hours and workloads of 550TB a year, constant usage. You do pay a premium for enterprise level drives but spinning rust is still far more economical in high densities that flash based drives are. If you are looking for reliable HDDs for your servers, check this review out.
"The new MG04ACA series from Toshiba is composed from drives which are meant for enterprise, mission-critical applications, while sporting higher transfer rates and capacities. The tested sample comes with 128MB of cache and comes in two versions, depending on the applications it is needed for: with 512 sector emulation or strictly with 4K sector. Make sure to choose wisely which drive is for you and your setups in order to bypass any incompatibilities which may arise."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- ASUSTOR AS5104T 4-bay NAS Review @ Madshrimps
- Asustor AS7004T @ techPowerUp
- Patriot Ignite 480GB SSD @ Kitguru
- Kingston SM2280S3 120GB M.2 SATA SSD @ Bjorn3d
Subject: Storage | December 2, 2014 - 05:14 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: toshiba, ssd, sata, ocz, ARC, m10, Indilinx Barefoot
It has been a while since we last talked about the OCZ ARC family but seeing as how you can currently pick up the 256GB model for $100 it seems a good time to revisit the drive. Bjorn3D recently reviewed this drive and it's Indilinx Barefoot M10 controller and Toshiba A19 nm flash. Before delving into the speeds this drive is capable of it is worth reminding possible purchasers of the three year ShieldPlus warranty, if you encounter issues with the drive OCZ will ship you out a brand new advanced replacement along with a prepaid return label to the customer which you then use to send your failed drive back. As far as the performance of this drive, it is a close match to the Crucial MX 100, not the best drive out there but certainly good all around at this price point. In fact with the MX 100 costing only $10 more its slightly better performance might make it more attractive but Crucial's warranty is not as user friendly as OCZs. Check out the full review to see which company you feel deserves your money.
"As expected, with OCZ now owned by Toshiba, OCZ would be using the in-house brew Toshiba NAND for their SSDs as oppose to Intel/Micron. OCZ has transitioned their mainstream Vertex SSDs to the Toshiba NAND already. And the latest budget line of SSD, the ARC 100, continues the trend of using all in-house made components of pairing the Indilinx controller with the Toshiba NAND."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Mushkin Scorpion 480GB PCIe x2 SSD Review @ NikKTech
- G.Skill Phoenix Blade 480GB PCIe x8 SSD @ Kitguru
- Samsung M9T 2TB (2.5-inch) & Seagate SSHD 2TB @ Silent PC Review
- Synology DS215j NAS @ Kitguru
- QNAP TS-653 Pro SMB NAS Review @ Madshrimps
- Silicon Power Armor Series A30 USB 3.0 2TB Portable HDD Review @ Madshrimps
Subject: Mobile | November 27, 2014 - 05:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: 1080p, Chillblast, Prestige i5-4200SH, dell, Inspiron 17 7000, hp, Beats Special Edition, Lenovo, Yoga 2 13, toshiba, Satellite S70-B-10U
Sick of the standard laptop screen resolution of 1366x768, especially on a laptop with a 17" screen? The Register has collected five laptops which have a 1080p resolution, several of which feature touchscreen capabilities for use with Win 8.1 and range in screen size up to 17.3". There is a variety of quality, the lower cost HP notebook does not feature an IPS display and so is not as sharp as some other models but then again it is not as expensive as the other models either. There is not much in the way of benchmarks but it is not too hard to estimate performance based on the components which are inside these laptops as they are common among the current generation of laptops. This review focuses on the screen, much like your eyes do.
"For the more discerning eye, that’s just not enough, and while we’ll be looking at the more expensive HiDPI laptops soon, full HD laptops are certainly more affordable these days, especially if you’re prepared to trade having a high-performance CPU or a speedy solid-state drive for a crisper, higher resolution image instead."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Silverstone Noble Breeze NB05 Notebook Cooler @ eTeknix
- Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 Tablet Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Nvidia Shield Tablet Android 5.0 Lollipop @ eTeknix
- What's MISSING on Amazon Fire Phone... and why it WON'T set the world alight @ The Register
- Hudl 2 @ The Inquirer
- Moto 360 smartwatch @ The Inquirer
- SuperTooth HD VOICE In-Car Speakerphone Review @ NikKTech
Subject: Storage | November 1, 2014 - 08:10 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: toshiba, sata 3, hdd, Hard Drive, 7200 rpm, 5TB, 4TB
This week, Toshiba introduced 4TB and 5TB hard drives to the consumer space. Coming from Toshiba's Digital Products Division, the new drives are part of the company's PH3*00U-1I72 series and are the first four and five Terabyte 3.5" consumer hard drives sporting 7200 RPM spindle speeds (though enterprise and NAS focused drives have been available prior to these new drives).
The new 4TB and 5TB HDDs are 3.5-inch desktop drives with four and five platters respectively. Toshiba is using Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR) and Tunnel Magneto-Resistive (TMR) technologies to hit 1TB per platter. The 7,200 RPM spindle speed allows Toshiba to hit an average seek time of 10.5ms, and the 128MB of cache stores frequently accessed data. The new drives are paired with a SATA 3 6Gbps interface. Toshiba has included NCQ (Native Command Queuing) support along with shock sensors and ramp on/off loading safety features.
The 4TB drive has an MSRP of $299 while the 5TB model has an MSRP of $399. Fortunately for digital hoarders, the drives are currently selling at prices below the MSRP. The 5TB model is being priced around $320 while the 4TB model is priced between $220 and $240 at the time of writing depending on your retailer of choice.
Subject: General Tech, Systems | September 9, 2014 - 10:57 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: toshiba, Chromebook, chromebook 2
Somehow, I heard about Toshiba's $120, Windows 8.1 tablet but not their Chromebook 2. This ChromeOS-based laptop will have a choice between one of two 13.3-inch displays. The entry level is standard HD while the premium model is upgraded with a 1080p, IPS monitor. Prices range from $249.99 to $329.99. It is expected to be available on October 5th.
On the low end, you are looking at a browser-only device with 2GB of RAM, and Intel Celeron processor, 802.11ac, HDMI out, an HD webcam, two USB ports (one 2.0 and one 3.0), and an SD card slot. The higher-end device is the same, except with the better screen and double the RAM (4GB). At $330, that is a pretty good deal if you can live in Google Chrome day-in and day-out. Of course, this raises concerns about browser lock-in because you are buying a device with only one choice. That said, you are doing the same if you buy iOS, FirefoxOS, or Windows RT devices, so it is not a complaint about ChromeOS, specifically.
As stated, the Toshiba Chromebook 2 will be available October 5th, starting at $249.99.