A new Trion appears, is it still a good choice for an entry level SSD?

Subject: Storage | February 18, 2016 - 08:14 PM |
Tagged: Trion 150, toshiba, tlc, ssd, slc, sata, ocz, A15nm

As you may remember from Al's post, the OCZ Trion 150 is essentially the same as the previous Trion 100, except for the use of 15nm TLC flash from Toshiba and a lower initial price.  Hardware Canucks got their paws on two of the drives from this series to benchmark, the 480GB and 960GB models.  The 480GB model retains the 256MB DDR3 cache, the 960 doubles that to 512MB but there is one thing missing from this new series; instead of relying on capacitors to prevent lost data from a power failure they rely on OCZ's firmware based Power Failure Management Plus.  Read Hardware Canucks full review to see if the new Trion can match the price to performance of the original.

board1_sm.jpg

"With the budget-focused SSD market exploding, OCZ is launching the Trion 150, a refresh of their original Trion 100 series which should offer better performance and an even lower price."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

What Micron's Upcoming 3D NAND Means for SSD Capacity, Performance, and Cost

Subject: Storage | February 14, 2016 - 07:51 PM |
Tagged: vnand, ssd, Samsung, nand, micron, Intel, imft, 768Gb, 512GB, 3d nand, 384Gb, 32 Layer, 256GB

You may have seen a wave of Micron 3D NAND news posts these past few days, and while many are repeating the 11-month old news with talks of 10TB/3.5TB on a 2.5"/M.2 form factor SSDs, I'm here to dive into the bigger implications of what the upcoming (and future) generation of Intel / Micron flash will mean for SSD performance and pricing.

progression-3-.png

Remember that with the way these capacity increases are going, the only way to get a high performance and high capacity SSD on-the-cheap in the future will be to actually get those higher capacity models. With such a large per-die capacity, smaller SSDs (like 128GB / 256GB) will suffer significantly slower write speeds. Taking this upcoming Micron flash as an example, a 128GB SSD will contain only four flash memory dies, and as I wrote about back in 2014, such an SSD would likely see HDD-level sequential write speeds of 160MB/sec. Other SSD manufacturers already recognize this issue and are taking steps to correct it. At Storage Visions 2016, Samsung briefed me on the upcoming SSD 750 Series that will use planar 16nm NAND to produce 120GB and 250GB capacities. The smaller die capacities of these models will enable respectable write performance and will also enable them to discontinue their 120GB 850 EVO as they transition that line to higher capacity 48-layer VNAND. Getting back to this Micron announcement, we have some new info that bears analysis, and that pertains to the now announced page and block size:

  • 256Gb MLC: 16KB Page / 16MB Block / 1024 Pages per Block

  • 384Gb TLC: 16KB Page / 24MB Block / 1536 Pages per Block

To understand what these numbers mean, using the MLC line above, imagine a 16MB CD-RW (Block) that can write 1024 individual 16KB 'sessions' (Page). Each 16KB can be added individually over time, and just like how files on a CD-RW could be modified by writing a new copy in the remaining space, flash can do so by writing a new Page and ignoring the out of date copy. Where the rub comes in is when that CD-RW (Block) is completely full. The process at this point is very similar actually, in that the Block must be completely emptied before the erase command (which wipes the entire Block) is issued. The data has to go somewhere, which typically means writing to empty blocks elsewhere on the SSD (and in worst case scenarios, those too may need clearing before that is possible), and this moving and erasing takes time for the die to accomplish. Just like how wiping a CD-RW took a much longer than writing a single file to it, erasing a Block takes typically 3-4x as much time as it does to program a page.

With that explained, of significance here are the growing page and block sizes in this higher capacity flash. Modern OS file systems have a minimum bulk access size of 4KB, and Windows versions since Vista align their partitions by rounding up to the next 2MB increment from the start of the disk. These changes are what enabled HDDs to transition to Advanced Format, which made data storage more efficient by bringing the increment up from the 512 Byte sector up to 4KB. While most storage devices still use 512B addressing, it is assumed that 4KB should be the minimum random access seen most of the time. Wrapping this all together, the Page size (minimum read or write) is 16KB for this new flash, and that is 4x the accepted 4KB minimum OS transfer size. This means that power users heavy on their page file, or running VMs, or any other random-write-heavy operations being performed over time will have a more amplified effect of wear of this flash. That additional shuffling of data that must take place for each 4KB write translates to lower host random write speeds when compared to lower capacity flash that has smaller Page sizes closer to that 4KB figure.

schiltron-IMFT-edit.jpg

A rendition of 3D IMFT Floating Gate flash, with inset pulling back some of the tunnel oxide layer to show the location of the floating gate. Pic courtesy Schiltron.

Fortunately for Micron, their choice to carry Floating Gate technology into their 3D flash has netted them some impressive endurance benefits over competing Charge Trap Flash. One such benefit is a claimed 30,000 P/E (Program / Erase) cycle endurance rating. Planar NAND had dropped to the 3,000 range at its lowest shrinks, mainly because there was such a small channel which could only store so few electrons, amplifying the (negative) effects of electron leakage. Even back in the 50nm days, MLC ran at ~10,000 cycle endurance, so 30,000 is no small feat here. The key is that by using that same Floating Gate tech so good at controlling leakage for planar NAND on a new 3D channel that can store way more electrons enables excellent endurance that may actually exceed Samsung's Charge Trap Flash equipped 3D VNAND. This should effectively negate the endurance hit on the larger Page sizes discussed above, but the potential small random write performance hit still stands, with a possible remedy being to crank up the Over-Provisioning of SSDs (AKA throwing flash at the problem). Higher OP means less active pages per block and a reduction in the data shuffling forced by smaller writes.

25nm+penny.jpg

A 25nm flash memory die. Note the support logic (CMOS) along the upper left edge.

One final thing helping out Micron here is that their Floating Gate design also enables a shift of 75% of the CMOS circuitry to a layer *underneath* the flash storage array. This logic is typically part of what you see 'off to the side' of a flash memory die. Layering CMOS logic in such a way is likely thanks to Intel's partnership and CPU development knowledge. Moving this support circuitry to the bottom layer of the die makes for less area per die dedicated to non-storage, more dies per wafer, and ultimately lower cost per chip/GB.

progression slide.png

Samsung's Charge Trap Flash, shown in both planar and 3D VNAND forms.

One final thing before we go. If we know anything about how the Intel / Micron duo function, it is that once they get that freight train rolling, it leads to relatively rapid advances. In this case, the changeover to 3D has taken them a while to perfect, but once production gains steam, we can expect to see some *big* advances. Since Samsung launched their 3D VNAND their gains have been mostly iterative in nature (24, 32, and most recently 48). I'm not yet at liberty to say how the second generation of IMFT 3D NAND will achieve it, but I can say that it appears the next iteration after this 32-layer 256Gb (MLC) /384Gb (TLC) per die will *double* to 512Gb/768Gb (you are free to do the math on what that means for layer count). Remember back in the day where Intel launched new SSDs at a fraction of the cost/GB of the previous generation? That might just be happening again within the next year or two.

The BayTrail powered lASUSTOR AS5002T 2-Bay NAS

Subject: Systems, Storage | February 10, 2016 - 08:34 PM |
Tagged: asustor, AS5002T, NAS, htpc, baytrail

Being in the market for a Plex server and running low on patience and spare hardware I have been sniffing around NAS servers, which is why you are now reading about the ASUSTOR AS5002T.  Missing Remote just picked this NAS up for review, powered by a dual core Celeron J1800 clocked at 2.4GHz instead of an ARM processor.  The reason that matters is the inclusion of Intel HD Graphics onboard for real time encoding when streaming to remote devices.  On the other hand it is not the most modern of processors and the AS5002T also showed some peculiarity with drive sizes.  The processor is not going to be able to push 4k over some interfaces but HDMI 1.4a, IR control capability and broad support for the usual selection of HTPC programs does make this NAS a good fit for many.  Read the full review to get a better idea of the capabilities of the ASUSTOR AS5002T.

as5002tp.png

"The ASUSTOR AS5002T is the first Intel based network attached storage (NAS) device tested at Missing Remote. So, I was very curious to see how its dual-core 2.4GHz Celeron J1800 would stack up against the strong showing we’ve seen from ARM Cortex-A15 based systems recently."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

OCZ Launches Trion 150, Successor to Trion 100 SATA SSD, Now Using 15nm Flash

Subject: Storage | February 3, 2016 - 08:31 PM |
Tagged: Trion 150, toshiba, tlc, ssd, slc, sata, ocz, A15nm

*Note* This piece originally stated 'A15nm', however this was an error in the Trion 150 spec sheet at OCZ. It has been corrected in this article (as well as at the OCZ web site).

2015 was a bit of a rough year for OCZ, as their integration with parent company Toshiba ran into a few performance bumps in the road. First was the Vector 180 launch, which saw some particularly troublesome stalls during writes and TRIM operations. The Trion 100 launch went a bit smoother, but we did note some inconsistencies in caching performance of those TLC/SLC caching SSDs.

OCZ hopes to turn things around by kicking off 2016 with some updates to their product lines. First up is the just announced Trion 150:

trion150_lrg_sp.png

Looking at the spec sheets of the Trion 100 and 150, it may be difficult to spot any differences. I’ll save you the trouble and say that only *one digit* changes, but it is an important one. The Trion 150 will use Toshiba 15nm TLC flash (the Trion 100 used A19nm). What is interesting about this is that the Trion 150 carries the same endurance rating as its predecessor. A flash memory die shrink typically comes with a corresponding reduction in endurance, so it is good to see Toshiba squeeze this likely last die shrink to their planar flash for all of the endurance they can. Further backing up that endurance claim, the Trion 150 will carry OCZ’s ShieldPlus warranty, which offers shipping-paid advance-RMA (without receipt) of this product line for three years!

OCZ has Trion 150 samples on the way to us, and we will get a full performance review of them up as soon as we can! Full press blast follows after the break.

Source: OCZ

PNY updates its XLR8 lineup with the CS2211 SSD

Subject: Storage | January 29, 2016 - 09:49 PM |
Tagged: pny, CS2211, CS1311, tlc, mlc, phison, xlr8

Over at the SSD Review you can check out PNY's newest SSDs, the TLC based CS1311 and the faster MLC based CS2211 which offers ECC RAM and extra data security features as well as a copy of Acronis.  Inside the CS2211 which is the drive featured in this review, you will find an 8-channel Phison PS3110-S10-X controller and 15nm Toshiba MLC, the cache is DDR3L-800, 256MB on the 240GB model and 512MB on the 480GB.  This replaces PNY's original Silicon Motion powered XLR8 and it improves upon performance as well as offering a 4 year warranty. Check out all the benchmarks right here.

PNY-XLR8-CS2211-SSD-PCB-Front.jpg

"Just last week we announced PNY's latest SSD products for the new year, the CS1311 and CS2211. It just so happens that today we have some in our hands for review."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

Not the USB thumb drive of the 00's; Kingston's HyperX Savage 128GB USB drive

Subject: Storage | January 26, 2016 - 09:41 PM |
Tagged: kingston, HyperX Savage, 128GB USB drive, usb 3.1

Once USB drives were everywhere, they weren't particularly fast nor large but they were more portable that HDDs and much more durable.  With the arrival of SSDs, flash storage moved from slower thumb drives to SATA which has now become the bottleneck for speed as the drives themselves can actually exceed the transfer capabilities of SATA.  That leaves the USB drive out in the cold, with prices matching or even exceeding lower end SSDs and a form factor only slightly more portable than an SSD in an enclosure.

Kingston's Digital HyperX Savage 128GB USB drive is $86 and Kitguru saw sequential reads topping 400MB/s and writes around 200MB/s which comes close to the limits of the USB 3 connection it uses.  The question is, does the smaller size and admittedly attractive packaging draw you to choose this over a low cost SSD and enclosure?

Kingston-USB-Bundle.jpg

"Kingston has earned a reputation with its HyperX brand over the last few years. Today, we are taking a look at the HyperX Savage 128GB USB drive, which supports first-generation USB 3.1 technology and promises ‘blazing fast’ read and write speeds. How does it hold up? Let’s find out!"

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage
MyDigitalSSD BP5e Bullet Proof 5 Eco 240GB SSD @ eTeknix

Source: Kitguru

ECS LIVA Adopts Its Own M.2 Port

Subject: Systems, Storage | January 20, 2016 - 02:44 AM |
Tagged: M.2 SATA, M.2, LIVA, ECS

Back in November, Sebastian reviewed the ECS LIVA X2. While the device always had an M.2 slot, its storage options were soldered eMMC chips with capacities of their 32GB or 64GB. They were also pretty slow, with 150MB/s reads and 40MB/s writes in his testing. To exceed that, you need to install your own M.2-based SSD, which was a bit of a difficult process.

ecs-liva-filetransfer.png

According to Links International, via FanlessTech, we are now seeing options that include M.2 SSDs without eMMC. In this case, they are using an Intel-based, 120GB drive. Its signal is M.2 SATA though, which is slower than M.2 PCIe, but a device with this performance characteristic will probably not care about that extra bump in performance. You probably couldn't do much high-bandwidth data crunching with the Braswell processor, and just about every other way on or off of the device is limited to less than or equal to a gigabit of bandwidth. You might be able to find a use case, but it's unlikely to affect anyone interested in this PC.

The jump from eMMC, on the other hand, might.

Silicon Power Slim S55, a drive for systems on a diet

Subject: Storage | January 15, 2016 - 06:53 PM |
Tagged: silicon power, Slim S55, 240gb, Phison PS3110-S10, tlc

At 7mm the Silicon Power Slim S55 is perfect for older ultraportables that need a drive upgrade, though they will certainly slip into a 2.5" bay in any system.  The drive uses the Phison PS3110-S10, found in a variety of drives which Al compared last summer.  The controller is paired with a 128MB cache of Nanya DDR3 and TLC NAND, which lowers the price to an impressive $65 for the 240GB model.  It also performs decently, eTeknix saw 556MB/s in ATTO and 530MB/s in CDM; you can check out more tests in their full review here.

SP_S55-Photo-pcb-top.jpg

"Silicon Power’s Slim series of solid state drives all come with a 7mm thickness, making them perfect for ultrabooks and similar portable computers that require this form factor. Traditional 2.5-inch mechanical drives mostly come with a 9.5mm thickness, ruling them out as an option. The Slim S55 SSD is the little brother in this series, but it doesn’t need to be ashamed of that."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

Source: eTeknix

Fixstars Launches 13TB 2.5" SATA SSD Geared Towards Media Streaming

Subject: Storage | January 14, 2016 - 02:57 AM |
Tagged: ssd, sata, Fixstars, 13TB

Got a high bandwidth video camera that fills a piddly 4TB SSD in too short of a time? How about a 13TB SSD!

ssd-pinot2-15mm-for-press.png

Fixstars certainly gets cool points for launching such a high capacity SSD, but there are a few things to consider here. These are not meant to be written in a random fashion and are primarily geared towards media creation (8k RAW video). Filling at saturated SATA bandwidth, these will take about 7 hours to fill, and just as long to empty onto that crazy high end editing machine. But hey, if you can afford 13TB of flash (likely ~$13,000) just to record your video content, then your desktop should be even beefier.

The take home point here is that this is not a consumer device, and it would not work out well even for pro gamers with money to burn. The random write performance is likely poor enough that it could not handle a Steam download over a high end broadband link.

Full press blast after the break.

Source: Fixstars

Seagate Breaks into Helium Market with 10TB Enterprise Capacity Hard Drive

Subject: Storage | January 13, 2016 - 07:38 PM |
Tagged: Seagate, helium, hdd, enterprise, 3.5, 10TB

Seagate updated their Enterprise Capacity line of HDDs this morning with a monster of a 10TB unit:

Seagate 10TB Helium.jpg

To achieve this capacity, Seagate switched over to a sealed, Helium filled design (similar to what HGST has been doing for a few years now). Since filling the space of a HDD with Helium helps reduce head flutter and platter thickness, Seagate was able to fit seven platters into a standard 3.5" housing. As an additional note, this drive uses the same PMR (Perpendicular Magnetic Recording) as other recent generation units, and not the SMR (Shingled) employed in their recent 8TB Archive HDD. PMR is a good thing here, as it enables random write access without the performance penalty incurred when attempting the same on an SMR drive.

The Helium filling pushes the MTBF up to 2.5 million hours. Unfortunately the release was light on the other details, and we do not have pricing as of yet, but we will certainly be keeping an eye on this one. Seagate states they are 'shipping to select customers', but given that those customers are ordering by the truckload, it may be some time before we see them in the OEM aftermarket channels.

Full press blast after the break.

Source: BusinessWire

Synology Launches DiskStation DS416j NAS

Subject: Storage | January 13, 2016 - 06:20 PM |
Tagged: synology, NAS, DSM, DS416j, diskstation

Synology has updated their popular DiskStation line with a new sleek looking 4-bay unit:

f-DS416j_right-45-add_resize.jpg

The DiskStation DS416j is equipped with a Marvell Armada 88F6828 dual-core CPU running at 1.3 GHz coupled to 512MB of DDR3. This boost in specs enables a claimed 37% increase in write speed performance, bringing that spec up to just over 100 MB/sec. Reads are claimed at 112 MB/sec, which basically means it is saturating its Gigabit Ethernet link.

DS416j.png

In addition to the four installed HDDs, the DS416j can accept additional external drives via its rear panel USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports (one each). The new DSM 5.2 should run even smother and faster on this updated hardware. Despite the speed increase, the new model looks to be very power efficient, claiming 13W in hibernation (HDDs spun down) and 22W during access.

Full press blast appears after the break.

Source: Synology

CES 2016: HyperX Teases New Predator NVMe SSD

Subject: Storage | January 10, 2016 - 07:15 PM |
Tagged: pci-e, NVMe, M.2, kingston hyper x, kingston

The 2016 Consumer Electronics Show is over, but news is still trickling out from attendees. Maximum PC spotted HyperX's first NVMe solid state drive on the show floor. First shown off at IDF 2015, the HyperX Predator NVMe M.2 SSD made an appearance at CES and the company released a bit more information.

Specifically, the new NVMe SSD will come with an optional PCI-E add-in-card for desktops without an M.2 slot much like its non-NVMe predecessor (AHCI protocol). It will come in 240 GB, 480 GB, and 960 GB capacities and will hit speeds up to 2,585 MB/s reads and 1,354 MB/s writes. Further, Overclockers.com observed a 480 GB model at CES benchmarking at 1,775 MB/s sequential reads and 1,675 MB/s sequential writes.

Kingston HyperX Predator NVME M.2 PCIE SSD.jpg

Beyond that, HyperX (which is the enthusiast division of Kingston Technologies) is not talking details just yet and we do not know which controller or NAND flash they are using. The previous generation Predator uses Toshiba A19 toggle NAND though which is promising.

The new NVMe drive will be available sometime in the second quarter of 2016. Pricing has not yet been announced. Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more details closer to launch. I'm looking forward to the full reviews and what moving to supporting NVMe will do for end users' experiences.

Coverage of CES 2016 is brought to you by Logitech!

PC Perspective's CES 2016 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Maximum PC

CES 2016: Patriot Launches Hellfire Series of PCI-E Solid State Drives

Subject: Storage | January 7, 2016 - 01:44 AM |
Tagged: patriot, pci-e ssd, phison, mlc, CES 2016

Patriot is launching into PCI-E based storage with its new Hellfire line of solid state drives. While Patriot is more commonly known for its flash memory (USB drives and SD cards) and RAM DIMMs, it is not new to SSDs. This will be its first line of PCI-E=based SSDs, however. Two drives in the Hellfire series are currently planned for a release later this year and will come in M.2 NVME and PCI-E add-in-card (AIC) versions.

Patriot Logo.png

The company is not talking specifics yet, and we will not know full speeds and feeds or pricing for a few months. They did reveal a few scraps of information with the press release though. Both versions of the Hellfire drives (M.2 and AIC) will be powered by a Phison 5007 controller and will use MLC NAND flash. Further, the drives will come in 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB capacities. The drives do differ greatly in performance with the Add-In-Card version having significantly better write and slightly improved read performance. Specifically, the M.2 NVME drive is rated at 2,500 MB/s reads and a mere 600 MB/s writes while the AIC version can hit 3,000 MB/s reads and 2,200 MB/s writes.

Patriot expects the Hellfire SSDs to be available by the end of Q1 2016. I welcome the increased PCI-E SSD competition which should help drive prices down further. Hopefully Patriot will release more details soon!

Coverage of CES 2016 is brought to you by Logitech!

PC Perspective's CES 2016 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

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CES 2016: Silicon Motion Updates SM2246EN for 3D NAND, Teases TLC and PCIe

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2016 - 11:00 AM |
Tagged: tlc, SM2260, SM2258, SM2256, SM2246EN, slc, SK Hynix, silicon motion, mlc, micron, Intel, imft, CES 2016, CES, 3d nand

Silicon Motion has updated their popular SM2246EN controller to support MLC 3D NAND from IMFT and SK Hynix:

160105-215942.jpg

The SM2246EN acts as a gateway for third parties to make their own SSDs. Adding support for 3D NAND is good news, as it means we will be able to see third party SSDs launch with 3D flash sourced from Intel, Micron, or SK Hynix. Another cool tidbit is the fact that those demo units in the above photo were equipped and operating with actual 3D NAND from Intel, Micron, and SK Hynix. Yes, this is the first time seeing packaged MLC 3D NAND from a company other than Samsung. Here are some close-ups for those who want to read part numbers:

160105-215537.jpg

160105-215554.jpg

160105-215614.jpg

Another question on non-Samsung 3D NAND is how does its performance stack up against planar (2D) NAND? Silicon Motion had a bit of an answer to that question for us:

benches.png

Keep in mind those are results from pre-production firmware, but I was happy to see that my prediction of IMFT 3D NAND speeds being effectively equal to their previous 2D flash was correct.

To knock out some other info overheard at our briefing, Silicon Motion will also be making an SM2258, which will be a TLC 3D NAND variant of the SM2256. In addition, we saw the unreleased SM2260:

160105-215637.jpg

160105-215859.jpg

...which is Silicon Motion's PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD controller. This one is expected to surface towards the middle of 2016, and it is currently in the OEM testing stage.

Lots more storage goodies coming later today, so stay tuned! Full press blast for the updates SM2246EN after the break.

Coverage of CES 2016 is brought to you by Logitech!

PC Perspective's CES 2016 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

CES 2016: Samsung Announces 850 EVO-based Portable SSD T3 - Updated

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2016 - 05:15 AM |
Tagged: T3, ssd, Samsung, portable, msata, CES 2016, CES, 850 EVO

We got our first look at the Samsung T1 SSD at CES 2015. The concept was simple - Make a very compact external portable encrypted drive, and make it fast. Based on a 3D VNAND equipped mSATA 850 EVO and using an ASMedia USB to SATA bridge, the T1 had no issue saturating the SATA side of the link and was capable of well over 400 MB/s over a USB 3.0 link.

This year Samsung is teasing the next iteration on this product:

T3_007_Dynamaic_Silver_resize.png

Dubbed the T3 (T2 doesn't translate well in some other languages), the T3 has some notable changes / updates / upgrades over the T1 of last year:

  • Type-C connector on the device end of the cable (we assume the included cable will link to Standard A for compatibility). The T1 used micro-B.
  • Metal case / housing. T1 was all plastic.
  • Capacities up to 2TB. T1 was limited to 1TB.

Full press blast / additional details / specs appear after the break. Look out for a review of this one just as soon as we can get our hands on one!

*Update* I got my hands on one at a Samsung press dinner. Here it is next to the older T1. The T3 is a tiny bit larger and thicker, but the difference is hardly noticeable as the T1 was very thin and light as it was. Here's a pic:

image.jpeg

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PC Perspective's CES 2016 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Samsung

CES 2016: Fasetto Teases Link SSD Storage Platform

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 5, 2016 - 06:39 AM |
Tagged: CES, CES 2016, Fasetto, Link, wifi, NAS, ssd, Samsung, vnand, 802.11ac

Fasetto is a company previously known as one of those cross-platform file-sharing web apps, but I was shocked to see them with a space at CES Unveiled. Companies without physical products tend to fall flat at this type of venue, but as I walked past, boy was I mistaken!

160104-221226a.jpg

To give the size a bit of perspective here, that's a business card sitting in front of the 'Link', which only measures 1.9x1.9x0.9" and weighs just under 4 ounces. That's a belt clip to the right of it. Ok, now that we have the tiny size and low weight described, what has Fasetto packed into that space?

  • Aluminum + ABS construction
  • Waterproof to 45 feet (and it floats!)
  • Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • 802.11AC dual band WiFi (reportedly 4x4)
  • 4GB RAM
  • Quad core ARM CPU
  • 9-axis compass/accelerometer/gyro
  • 1350 mAh Li battery
  • Wireless charging (Chi style)
  • Up to 2TB SSD

For a portable storage device, that is just an absolutely outstanding spec sheet! The Link is going to run an OS designed specifically for this device, and will have plugin support (simple add-on apps that can access the accelerometer and log movement, for example).

The BIG deal with this device is of course the ability to act as a portable wireless storage device. In that respect it can handle 20 simultaneous devices, stream to seven simultaneously, and can also do the expected functions like wireless internet pass-through. Claimed standby power is two weeks and active streaming is rated at up to 8 hours. Even more interesting is that I was told the internal storage will be Samsung 48-layer VNAND borrowed from their T3 (which explains why the Fasetto Link will not be available until late 2016). This is sure to be a hit with photographers, as WiFi compatible cameras should be able to stream photos to the Link as the photos are being taken, eliminating the need to offload cameras at the end of a shoot.

We will definitely be working with Fasetto to help shake out any bugs prior to the release of this little gem. I suspect it might just be the most groundbreaking storage product that we see come out of this CES.

Coverage of CES 2016 is brought to you by Logitech!

PC Perspective's CES 2016 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Transcend to run MLC Flash in SLC Mode for 'SuperMLC' Speed Boost

Subject: Storage | December 30, 2015 - 07:21 PM |
Tagged: transcend, slc, mlc, ssd, flash, SuperMLC

Last year we saw Micron toy with the idea of dynamically flipping flash memory dies between SLC and MLC modes. Ok paper, it sounded like a great idea - get the speed of SLC flash while the SSD is up to 50% full, then start shifting dies over to MLC mode to get the higher capacity. This tech did not exist until the ability to flip dies between modes existed, which was not until shortly before the M600 SSDs were introduced. Realize this is different than other types of mixed mode flash, like that on the Samsung 'EVO' models, which have a small SLC segment present on each TLC die. That static partitioning kept those types of solutions more consistent in performance than the M600 was when we first evaluated its performance.

slc-mlc.png

What if we borrowed the idea of keeping the flash mode static, but just keeping to the faster mode? Transcend has announced it will be doing just that in the coming year. These will be SSDs equipped with MLC flash, but that flash will be configured to operate in SLC mode full time. This will enable ~4x write speeds and higher endurance ~30,000 write cycles compared to ~5-10k P/E cycle figures of the same flash operating in MLC mode. This performance and endurance boost comes at a cost, as these SSDs will consume twice the flash memory for the equivalent MLC model capacity. We predict this type of substitution for standard SLC flash will be a continuing trend since SLC flash production volume is insignificant compared to MLC. This trick gets you most of the way to SLC performance and endurance for (in the current market) less cost/GB of a straight SLC SSD.

Upcoming Transcend models to include SuperMLC technology:

  • SSD510K - 2.5”
  • MSA510 - mSATA
  • HSD510 - half slim
  • MTS460 & MTS860 - M.2

Source: Transcend

AData sets a new benchmark for low cost SSDs with their Premier SP550 line

Subject: Storage | December 29, 2015 - 06:48 PM |
Tagged: Premier SP550 240GB, adata, SM2256

At a current price of $67 the AData Premier SP550 240GB is one of the least expensive SSDs on the planet.  One has to wonder what kind of quality one would get at such a steep discount which is one of the reasons Hardware Canucks published this review of the drive.  The controller is Silicon Motion's talented SM225 which can interface with 1x/1y/1z nm TLC NAND from any manufacturer on the market, in this case 16nm SK Hynix 128Gbit TLC NAND.   As to performance, read speeds are very competitive at least until the 256MB DDR3-1600 cache fills at which point the speed does decrease, unfortunately read speeds are strangely slow even for TLC.  The three year, 90 TB written warranty is not spectacular but should give you at least some confidence in the reliability of the drive.  At the price you do make some sacrifices, but what a nice price.

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"With a price of just $80 and performance numbers that -on paper at least- look extremely competitive, is the AData Premier SP550 the budget SSD to get?"

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

HAMR strike delayed until 2018

Subject: General Tech, Storage | December 29, 2015 - 12:21 AM |
Tagged: HAMR, delay

We had hoped to see Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording sometime in 2017 but that goal has proved to be optimistic and 2018 is now the current expectation for its arrival.  This technology will allow storage densities higher than 1.5 Tb/in2 but is not quite ready for primetime at the moment.  Prototypes do exist and some are being sent to customers to test the reliability and performance of drives in real life test scenarios.  The drives will be slower than flash based storage of course, however when it comes to storage density spinning rust still holds the crown and will continue to do so for some time.  You can refresh yourself on the technology by following the links in this post and read more about the delays over at Slashdot.

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"Unfortunately the hard disk drive industry is not ready to go live with Heat-assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR). The technology is yet not reliable enough for mass production. Over the years, producers of hard drives, platters and recording heads have revealed various possible timeframes for commercial availability of drives with HAMR technology. Their predictions were not accurate."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Slashdot

OWC Announces External Optical Drive

Subject: Storage | December 28, 2015 - 11:28 PM |
Tagged: owc, dvd, blu-ray, m-disc, external drive

The idea of an external optical drive is not new by any means, but they can be useful. This is especially true if you have multiple computers. I would argue that average users should still have a CD, DVD, and potentially Blu-ray drive, maybe even one with writing capabilities, but I think we're long past the point of needing a dedicated one for each PC.

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OWC has just announced two new models, one with a 24x DVD burner, and another with a 16x Blu-ray burner (I think this is the right link???). Interestingly, the press release states that they are compatible with USB 3.1 although a 16x Blu-ray transfers at 72 MB/s, which isn't even close to USB 3.0, let alone 3.1. I should note that the product pages seem to state USB 3.0, though. It seems a little silly to go for the higher-end link, but maybe it didn't cost them anything, so why not? They also supports the M-DISC format, which uses a high-durability medium (instead of the typical metal foil) that is supposed to not degrade for hundreds (maybe thousands) of years.

OWC also sells a 3-pack of 25GB M-DISC discs for about $15, which works out to about 20c/GB. This isn't too bad but, with cloud storage being in the ~3c/GB range and external harddrives in the ~4c/GB range, it might be of limited use since you could just make like 5-6 copies per M-DISC copy. You will also need to consider whether you will have the ability to read these discs in the future, although similar considerations must be made for all storage archival solutions (will AWS be around in 50 years, etc.). It might make sense for some, especially enterprises, though.

These drives are available now.

Source: OWC