CES 2014: ADATA shows new PCIe SSD and unique OTG flash drive

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2014 - 08:20 PM |
Tagged: PCIe SSD, OTG, CES 2014, CES, adata

ADATA will be rolling out their own PCIe SSD, this solution opting for the SF3700 controller due out later this year. Their demo produced the same 1.8 Gb/sec sequential read speed we saw over at Kingston earlier today:

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While the above solution is SF3700-equipped M.2 adapted to standard PCIe by a ustom PCB, ADATA was also showing an operational PCB which had the components direct mounted:

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Note the heat sink to help dissipate the heat produced by the SF3700. We hope the heat output will be optimized as development of this new controller progresses.

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We also saw a unique spin on the OTG-style USB flash drive we'd been seeing all around CES this year:

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Instead of having a common center containing the flash memory, they have made the center section into more of an adapter to bridge the super-small USB drive (right) across to the micro-USB port (left). An advantage of this format is that you could use the same adapter to bridge pretty much any standard USB flash drive over to an Android device.

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CES 2014: Plextor launches M6e PCIe SSD (and a sneak peek)

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2014 - 08:02 PM |
Tagged: plextor, PCIe SSD, M6e, CES 2014, CES

This morning Plextor launched their new M6e PCIe SSD. Their press blast appears after the break, but before you do so, check out the pics we grabbed earlier today:

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The M6e is essentially an interposer board that simply interfaces the Marvell controller / Toshiba flash M.2 PCIe SSD to a standard desktop class PCIe connector. This solution is slower than the upcoming SF3700 solution being implemented by Kingston and ADATA, but this product is shipping now, while the SF3700 will not be production ready for at least another six months time.

Full press blast appears below:

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CES 2014: Kingston shows PCIe SSD, comfy headsets, DDR4, and gaming seats

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2014 - 07:47 PM |
Tagged: SF3700, Predator, OTG, Need For Seat, kingston, CES 2014, CES

We swing by Kingston this morning to see what was cooking. Here we go:

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OTG compatible dual micro / standard USB drive that's physically a tiny bit smaller than the Corsair model we saw yesterday.

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This was probably the most comfortable headset I've ever put on. The padding is real leather wrapped over memory foam, and the arms are aluminum for durability. It really didn't feel like it was on at all, aside from the reduction in background noise from the room, assisted by the denser memory foam.

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Here is a reference Intel chassis populated with a whopping 384GB of DDR4-2133.

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This modules were populated with Hynix DDR4 modules.

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...and this staggering speed and capacity was able to be run by the reference board in multi-channel mode. That's a serious amount of RAM running at a serious speed. Speaking of things running at serious speeds:

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Here is the Kingston HyperX Predator, a PCIe SSD. The unreleased LSI SandForce SF3700 is capable of 1.8 GB/sec as it is a native PCIe implementation. The only catch is we will have to wait until mid-late 2014 for these to launch. Kingston is ready, but SandForce is not. Here is the 2.5" version of the same, demonstrating that the SF3700 is also capable of configuring for a SATA 6Gb/sec link:

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We also saw some cool looking "Need For Seat" office / gaming chairs. They were fairly comfortable, and the backs pivot nearly flat, just like the seats in your car:

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In addition to differing looks, each model has a different cushion layout, so I recommend trying to sit in the one you intend to buy prior to doing so.

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CES 2014: Corsair Flash Voyager GO - closer look

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2014 - 11:20 PM |
Tagged: usb, On-The-Go, Flash Voyager GO, flash, corsair, CES 2014, CES

Earlier today, Corsair announced the Flash Voyager GO combination micro USB (OTG spec) / USB 3.0 (standard connector) drive. Being the storage nut that I am, I got a closer look while the rest of the PCPer gang were checking out the new cases, keyboards, and power supplies. Here are some more detailed pics for your viewing pleasure:

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Connected to an Android smart phone:

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Connected to a laptop:

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Yes, you're seeing things correctly. The 'back' end opposite the micro-USB port is actually another USB port supporting USB 3.0 speeds.

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CES 2014: OCZ shows Barefoot/Toshiba powered Vertex 460 and new Z-Drive 4500

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2014 - 10:56 PM |
Tagged: z-drive, toshiba, ssd, ocz, CES 2014, CES, barefoot 3

Earlier today we swing by OCZ for a look at what was new. First up is a fresh launch, the Vertex 460:

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This new SSD will sport a Barefoot 3 M10 controller driving Toshiba 19nm flash. With OCZ's recent acquisition by Toshiba, this makes things handy, as OCZ can now source this flash at a much lower cost. I suspect much of OCZ's lineup will make a similar transition as time goes on.

Also up is a few changes in the enterprise sector:

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The Intrepid (center) sticks around, while the PCIe solutions get a bit of a shuffle. To the left is the Z-Drive 4500, which is a shorter iteration of OCZ's previous enterprise offerings.

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The Z-Drive XL (right) may look a bit familiar from the back. It's actually a slight repackage of the Z-Dive R4. The main tweaks here were cooling optimizations and a heatsink that keeps the same form and function as the smaller 4500.

We will have a review of the Vertex 460 up in a few weeks time, and we are happy to see OCZ won't be going anywhere any time soon.

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CES 2014: PEPCOM Tidbits: Western Digital and Linksys

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2014 - 10:20 PM |
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, router, linksys, CES 2014, CES, 802.11ac

Western Digital:

Last night at the PEPCOM Digital Experience, we swung by Western Digital's booth. While there are no new launches at CES, it's always nice to see the full spread all laid out on display:

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4TB Green and Black, 1TB Blue, Ultra Slim drives, and of course the Black2.

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The other table shifts to backup and external storage, scaling up through the My Cloud to the larger EX4.

Linksys:

My eye was also caught by the behemoth of a router that is the Linksys WRT1900AC!

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This beast is way more than an evolution on the old WRT54G. While there are four antennas, the dual band Marvell radios are only 3x3 capable. They can, however, choose among the four antennas to achieve the best possible throughput. The '1900' rating comes from 1300Mbps (5GHz) + 600Mbps (2.4GHz). This router will be Open-WRT capable out of the box, so you can expect the folks like DD-WRT and Tomato to have usable firmware built very shortly after launch, which is expected sometime around April of this year. Let's check out the ports:

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Not only is there USB3, but we also have eSATA for even faster connectivity. Throughput to connected storage should be stellar as the on-board CPU will be a 1.2 GHz dual core ARM. Radios and CPU will be cooled by a built-in fan, and Linksys also noted they will be launching an 8 port Gigabit switch in a matching (and stackable) form factor. Open source firmware buff tech note: 128MB Flash, 256MB RAM. MSRP: $299.

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CES 2014: Micron makes further advances in DDR4 memory

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2014 - 09:57 PM |
Tagged: ram, micron, memory, ddr4, CES 2014, CES

While the Crucial did not have much in the way of new flash memory product launches this year, Micron as a whole has been busily churning out further revisions of DDR4 memory. While our visit last year only revealed a single prototype for us to look at, now we have all of the typical form factors covered:

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From top down we have enterprise, enthusiast, OEM, and SO-DIMM form factors, all populated with DDR4 parts. All that needs to happen now is for motherboard and portable manufacturers to get on board with the new technology. As with all chicken-and-egg launches, someone needs to take the first plunge, and here we can see Micron has certainly been on the leading edge of things. That enterprise part above is a full 16GB (not bits!) of DDR4 capacity.

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Source: Micron DRAM

CES 2014: Corsair Flash Voyager GO is On-The-Go (OTG)

Subject: General Tech, Storage, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2014 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: OTG, On-The-Go, Flash Voyager GO, corsair, CES 2014, CES

So this makes sense, finally. USB On-The-Go is a specification which allows for devices to perform as either a USB Host or a USB Slave at will. In other words, your can plug your phone into your PC via its MicroUSB 3.0 (Update: It looks like I'm wrong and it's Micro USB 2.0) connection to synchronize files and charge it and then, later, have that same port accept USB thumb drives. Of course, that requires a USB storage device with a MicroUSB 3.0 2.0 plug.

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The Corsair Flash Voyager GO USB OTG is one such thumb drive. It has the ability to plug into MicroUSB 3.0 2.0 ports on Android OTG-compatible phones and tablets. For convenience, it also has the ability to plug into full-sized USB 3.0 making it useful for both phone and laptop or desktop. USB 2.0 is also supported. It registers as a standard USB Mass Storage Device so no special software is required for Windows, Mac OSX, or Linux.

I find this very interesting albeit I am not a mobile user. I do wonder when we will see large capacity harddrives using this standard. It seems like a natural progression as demand for phones with video-out increases. Flash memory is nice but, when compared to microSD cards which are not vulnerable and hanging out of the USB port, I am not sure if there is enough capacity. Again, I am not a mobile user. I know that someone out there already has their credit card out.

The Flash Voyager GO will be available in 16 GB ($19.99 USD), 32 GB ($29.99 USD), and 64 GB ($49.99 USD) variants. It is rated to transfer at up to 135 MB/s over USB 3.0.

Press release after the break.

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Source: Corsair

CES 2014: ioSafe 1513+ spotted

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2014 - 01:33 AM |
Tagged: synology, NAS, iosafe, CES 2014, CES

Earlier today, ioSafe launched a new 5-bay disaster-proof NAS device. The ioSafe 1513+ is essentially a Synology DS 1513+ wrapped in ioSafe's durable and fire / water resistant enclosure tech.

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Here's a quick video interview with ioSafe CEO Rob Moore:

Three of these devices can be chained together, and with 6 TB drives installed, you get a whopping 90 TB of disaster-proof on-site storage!

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Full press blast after the break.

Source: ioSafe 1513+

CES 2014: Increased M.2 SSD presence at Storage Visions

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 5, 2014 - 11:32 PM |
Tagged: ssd, M.2, CES 2014, CES

During our roam of Storage Visions we noticed a bit of a trend. Of the limited devices on display, an increasing number of them were of the M.2 form factor. Our first sighting of an M.2 device was last CES, at a Micron press briefing. Since then, we have only seen a few announcements of support for this form factor. The key to M.2 is that host will be able to support both SATA and PCIe connectivity through the same physical port. While many of the SSDs available will start off using well-known SATA controllers, M.2 will make the transition to PCIe storage controllers significantly easier.

Here are some of the M.2 devices we spotted. First a couple from SanDisk:

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M.2 makes things a bit simpler as far as PCB size goes. Where mSATA had a bunch of random names denoting various sized, M.2 simply puts the dimensions (in mm) right after the name. For example, M.2 2260 is 22mm wide band 60mm in length. Below are some more examples from various vendors:

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Above we see samples from Toshiba (upper left), Kingston (center left), and Intel (two right). We also spoted an engineering sample of an M.2 Intel 1500 Pro:

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The part number of this unit is CVDA321500BX180H, and like other 1500 Pro models it is equipped with a newer low-power SandForce 2281.

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Here's hoping these devices trickle out into the mainstream. Standardization should help with adoption and upgradeability, especially in Ultrabooks and smaller devices incorporating these units.

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CES 2014: Lenovo Storage - Beacon and... px4-400d?

Subject: General Tech, Storage, Shows and Expos | January 5, 2014 - 07:23 PM |
Tagged: NAS, Lenovo, CES 2014, CES, Beacon

Lenovo is set to release several PCs including All-in-Ones (AIOs), phones, laptops, and tablets as we have previously reported on. They are also not forgetting their business customers with several interesting products including a cheap 4K monitor. Of course, all of these devices are nothing without content which means storage is a necessity. Lenovo briefed us on two such products however one is curiously absent from the show floor (and subsequent press decks).

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The Lenovo Beacon Home Cloud Centre, properly spelled in the Queen's English, is a remote storage device and a home theater (not Queen's English) hub. The device, pre-loaded with XBMC, is based on Linux and can hold up to 6TB of internal hard drives. Up to two disks can be loaded into its bays and it does not care whether they are 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch form factors. The Beacon supports either RAID 1 or RAID 0 if you cannot remember our old meme with Colleen.

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For performance, the Beacon can be powered by "up to" an Intel Atom dual core processor and up to 1 GB of RAM. They do not specify the type of Atom processor. That said, it does not have to do very much. As long as it can keep a stutter-free stream out of its HDMI plug while delivering content to other devices over the network, I doubt anyone could load it any harder.

The Lenovo Beacon will be available in April for $199 USD.

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The other product mentioned was the LenovoEMC px4-400d Network Storage. This device is a small form factor computer fit with a dual core Intel Atom D2701 processor from 2011. It can be fit with up to 16 TB of storage (or sold empty). It is, or at least was, expected to launch this month from $649 USD (which we assume is the "bring your own drive" model). We are still unsure what happened with it.

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Source: Lenovo

CES 2014: Connected Data shows Transporter and new Transporter Sync at Storage Visions

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 5, 2014 - 07:14 PM |
Tagged: transporter sync, transporter, personal cloud, connected data, cloud, CES 2014, CES

At Storage Visions, we checked out the Connected Data Transporter as well as the recently launched Transporter Sync:

I love the idea of having DropBox-like functionaity without having to pay a bunch for a large amount of storage. Keeping that data under your own control is a good idea as well. The only thing missing from this equation is off-site backup, so be sure you are covered there in case anything happens to the location where the Transporter device is stored.

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CES 2014: SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive at Storage Visions

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 5, 2014 - 07:04 PM |
Tagged: wireless, sandisk, flash, CES 2014, CES

While at Storage Visions I checked out the new SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive. This is a flash drive capable as also doubling as a wireless network storage device - and it can do so under it's own power for 3-4 hours.

I really like the idea of such a device. Need several people to access the stuff on your drive? Click one button and you can! It charges off of the same USB connection used to connect it locally (i.e. the 'old school' way). Here's a closer view:

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CES 2014: A quick word with Samsung on SSD Magician, Firmware Updates, and Full Drive Encryption

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 5, 2014 - 06:38 PM |
Tagged: SSD Magician, Samsung, CES 2014, CES

While at Storage Visions, I had a quick word with Chris Geiser of Samsung. Over the past few weeks there have been updates to 840 (PRO / EVO) SSD Firmware as well as to their SSD Magician software. These updates enable increased performance as well as full drive encryption (with no performance loss whatsoever). Check out the video below for full details:

So long story short, if you own these drives, consider updating your Magician Software, SSD firmware, and start protecting your data with full drive encryption. As always with any firmware upgrade, even though Samsung updates are non-destructive, it's a good idea to back up first regardless.

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Tiny storage that will grow in 2014; meet M.2

Subject: Storage | January 3, 2014 - 12:07 PM |
Tagged: M.2, ssd, kingspec, jmicron

If you aren't familiar with just how cute the M.2 form factor is, the picture below shows it attached just below a SATA power and data connector which, when you include the plugs, is significantly larger than the 128GB M.2 SSD.  This allows you to slip this style of SSD into just about any sized device you could want as long as you have an M.2 connector.  The KingSpec models that The SSD Review just benchmarked use a JMicron so aren't the fastest on the block but that has nothing to do with the size as these top out at SATA 6Gbps just like any other drive.  Check their full reivew here.

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"The KingSpec CHA-M2B7 M.2 NGFF ultrabook SSD is available in capacities of 32, 64 an 128GB and is a 42mm(L) X 22mm(W)X3.2mm(H) SATA M.2 SSD. To say it is small is an understatement as we can fit four of these on a typical business card with plenty of room to spare. "

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

VR-Zone Shows Something Not-Intel: Sandforce LSI SF3739

Subject: General Tech, Storage | December 24, 2013 - 12:37 AM |
Tagged: sandforce, SF3739

There are still not too many details to go on (at least beyond the information released a little over a month ago). The LSI SF3739 is the enthusiast-class third generation Sandforce SSD controller and is the one expected to appear in high-end desktops or workstations. They support either SATA 6Gbps or 4 lanes of PCIe 2.0 and thus can appear in either drive form factor. It is designed to support either SLC, MLC, or even TLC memory cells. Up to 2TB of storage will be possible.

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Image Credit: VR-Zone

VR-Zone was unable to test the device due to a lack of firmware but, hey, if you have a camera why not take it apart? They have a few pictures of the SF3739 board in each of the two possible interfaces. I will leave the other images as an exercise to the reader to seek.

The third generation of Sandforce controllers was expected to launch in Q1 but that might be bumped to as late as Q3 according to one or more of their partners.

Source: VR-Zone

OCZ updates their enterprise lineup with two new Intrepid 3000 Series models

Subject: Storage | December 12, 2013 - 01:44 PM |
Tagged: ssd, ocz, intrepid, 3800, 3600, 3000

OCZ hasn't exactly been having a smooth run lately. Despite, or perhaps in spite of talks of bankruptcy and buyouts, they have launched an update to their enterprise lineup:

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The new Intrepid 3000 Series is built on a Marvell 88SS9187 controller running custom firmware developed in-house by OCZ. This combination achieves a claimed 91,000 random 4K read IOPS and a steady 40,000 random 4K write IOPS. These specs are significantly higher than OCZ's previous generation enterprise SSD, the SandForce-driven Deveva 2. This combination has also enabled greater data endurance and protection via BCH error correction of up to 85 bits per 2Kb. The controller and new firmware also treat the flash as a RAID to further increase redundancy.

The Intrepid will be available in two models, segmented by the endurance rating of the installed 19nm Toshiba flash:

  • Intrepid 3600:
    • 19nm MLC
    • Rated for 5 years at 1 full drive write per day
  • Intrepid 3800:
    • 19nm eMLC
    • Rated for 5 years at 5 full drive writes per day

Both models will be available in 100, 200, 400, and 800GB capacities beginning Q1 2014.

Full press release after the break:

Leaked Intel Slides Show Possible 2TB SSDs in Q2 2014?

Subject: General Tech, Storage | December 5, 2013 - 07:23 PM |
Tagged: Intel, ssd

Computer storage website, Myce, got a hold of a few slides from Intel's SSD division. The semiconductor giant is expected to have (at least) nine active product lines with new SKUs apparently coexisting with certain older models. Two of the PCIe-based product lines, the P3700 series and the P3500 series, are expected to be available in capacities of up to 2TB. They will apparently be available in 2.5" form factor as well.

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Image Credit: Myce

Intel has not produced the most mindblowing components over the last 3-4 years but, to my knowledge, they have been effective at wooing the enterprise customers. 2.8 GB/s reads and 1.7 GB/s writes at 450,000 IOPS for reading (150,000 IOPS for writes) seem pretty good, though. Combined with Intel's 5-year warranty and it will probably find its way into a few servers.

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Each of the new products will be fabricated on the 20nm process (the older 910 Series and DC S3700 Series, both from 2012, will remain 25nm). Of course Intel has access to smaller processes at this point but, since these are enterprise products, it makes sense for them to use the more tried and true methods for the time being.

If you are interested in enterprise SSDs, keep an eye out in a couple of quarters. Maybe we will even see some stuff coming out of CES in a month.

Also check out Myce for the rest of the leaked slides.

Source: Myce

HGST's SASsy 12Gps SSD, brought to you by Intel

Subject: Storage | December 5, 2013 - 02:08 PM |
Tagged: hgst, SAS, ssd, SSD800MM, enterprise ssd

For Enterprise level performance nothing beats SAS as it can sustain transfer speeds of up to 12Gbps if your storage media is fast enough.  The partnership of Intel and HGST bring you just such a drive, rated at 700MB/s and 1150MB/s for sequential reads and writes and IOPS of 145K and 70K for random reads and writes respectively.  If that isn't enough to make you jealous, The SSD Review also had a chance to test this SSD as part of an eight disk RAID.

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"If you have been following The SSD Review in 2013, you are probably familiar with our coverage of 12Gbps SAS. Throughout the year we have covered HBAs, RAID Adapters, Enclosures and SSDs. We have been incredibly busy reviewing new products, but one product in particular has stood out. In all of our 12Gbps SAS reviews we have sung the praises of the HGST SSD800MM. Since the SSD800MM was more of a means to an end when reviewing the LSI SAS 9300-8e, we never really gave it its proper due. With this update, we wanted to put this SSD into perspective after nearly a year’s worth of 12Gbps SAS testing."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

(TechReport) SSD Endurance Gets Interesting at 300TB

Subject: General Tech, Storage | November 26, 2013 - 12:46 AM |
Tagged: ssd, endurance

Update 11/26/2013 @ 11:20pm Allyn weighed in, particularly about the Samsung drives. One thing that he notes (as does Tech Report in the original article) is that Samsung might just be more severe in its reporting of errors. For instance, he believes that it is just about impossible for SSDs to write 300TB of data without ever seeing a flash read error. Regardless of what they report, each of these drives keep on ticking. It is "significantly beyond the expectations of a consumer (non-Prosumer) SSD".

The Tech Report has been testing a batch of SSDs for their life expectancy over several months now. Results have been fairly interesting: drives were relatively stable even up to 200TB of cumulative writes; some drives even got faster. Now they have passed the 300TB threshold and we are seeing certain drives hit some harsh realities. As Scott Wasson said in a tweet:

 

 

In all, though, even the TLC offerings have surpassed reasonable expectations. Consumer drives are designed for consumer machines and will likely take decades to reach the hundreds-of-terabytes order of magnitude for today's usage.

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Image Credit: The Tech Report

It makes me wonder exactly how over-provisioned enterprise hardware is if these, consumer, parts have such high reliability.

Source: Tech Report