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Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | September 10, 2014 - 03:34 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: TSV, Through Silicon Via, memory, idf 2014, idf
If you're a general computer user, you might have never heard the term "Through Silicon Via". If you geek out on photos of chip dies and wafers, and how chips are assembled and packaged, you might have heard about it. Regardless of your current knowledge of TSV, it's about to be a thing that impacts all of you in the near future.
Let's go into a bit of background first. We're going to talk about how chips are packaged. Micron has an excellent video on the process here:
The part we are going to focus on appears at 1:31 in the above video:
This is how chip dies are currently connected to the outside world. The dies are stacked (four high in the above pic) and a machine has to individually wire them to a substrate, which in turn communicates with the rest of the system. As you might imagine, things get more complex with this process as you stack more and more dies on top of each other:
16 layer die stack, pic courtesy NovaChips
...so we have these microchips with extremely small features, but to connect them we are limited to a relatively bulky process (called package-on-package). Stacking these flat planes of storage is a tricky thing to do, and one would naturally want to limit how many of those wires you need to connect. The catch is that those wires also equate to available throughput from the device (i.e. one wire per bit of a data bus). So, just how can we improve this method and increase data bus widths, throughput, etc?
Before I answer that, let me lead up to it by showing how flash memory has just taken a leap in performance. Samsung has recently made the jump to VNAND:
By stacking flash memory cells vertically within a die, Samsung was able to make many advances in flash memory, simply because they had more room within each die. Because of the complexity of the process, they also had to revert back to an older (larger) feature size. That compromise meant that the capacity of each die is similar to current 2D NAND tech, but the bonus is speed, longevity, and power reduction advantages by using this new process.
I showed you the VNAND example because it bears a striking resemblance to what is now happening in the area of die stacking and packaging. Imagine if you could stack dies by punching holes straight through them and making the connections directly through the bottom of each die. As it turns out, that's actually a thing:
Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | September 9, 2014 - 04:51 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: WDC< Western Digital, WD, idf 2014, idf, hdd, Cold, Archival, Ae
We talked about helium filled, shingled HDD's from HGST earlier today. Helium may give you reduced power demands, but at the added expensive of hermetically sealed enclosures over conventional HDD's. Shingling may give added capacity, but at the expense of being forced into specific writing methods. Now we know Western Digital's angle into archival / cold storage:
..so instead of going with higher cost newer technologies, WD is taking their consumer products and making them more robust. They are also getting rid of the conventional thinking of capacity increments and are moving to 100GB increments. The idea is that once a large company or distributor has qualified a specific HDD model on their hardware, that model will stick around for a while, but be continued at an increased capacity as platter density yields increase over time. WD has also told me that capacities may even be mixed an matched within a 20-box of drives, so long as the average capacity matches the box label. This works in the field of archival / cold storage for a few reasons:
- Archival storage systems generally do not use conventional RAID (where an entire array of matching capacity disks are spinning simultaneously). Drives are spun up and written to individually, or spun up individually to service the occasional read request. This saves power overall, and it also means the individual drives can vary in capacity with no ill effects.
- Allowing for variable capacity binning helps WD ship more usable platters/drives overall (i.e. not rejecting drives that can't meet 6TB). This should drive overall costs down.
- Increasing capacity by only a few hundred GB per drive turns into *huge* differences in cost when you scale that difference up to the number of drives you would need to handle a very large total capacity (i.e. Exabytes).
So the idea here is that WD is choosing to stick with what they do best, which they can potentially do for even cheaper than their consumer products. That said, this is really meant for enterprise use and not as a way for a home power user to save a few bucks on a half-dozen drives for their home NAS. You really need an infrastructure in place that can handle variable capacity drives seamlessly. While these drives do not employ SMR to get greater capacity, that may work out as a bonus, as writes can be performed in a way that all systems are currently compatible with (even though I suspect they will be tuned more for sequential write workloads).
Here's an illustration of this difference:
The 'old' method meant that drives on the left half of the above bell curve would have to be sold as 5TB units.
With the 'new' method, drives can be sold based on a spec closer to their actual capacity yield. For a given model, shipping capacities would increase as time goes on (top to bottom of the above graphic).
To further clarify what is meant by the term 'cold storage' - the data itself is cold, as in rarely if ever accessed:
Examples of this would be Facebook posts / images from months or years ago. That data may be rarely touched, but it needs to be accessible enough to be browsed to via the internet. The few second archival HDD spinup can handle this sort of thing, while a tape system would take far too long and would likely timeout that data request.
Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | September 9, 2014 - 02:00 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: ssd, SMR, pcie, NVMe, idf 2014, idf, hgst, hdd, 10TB
It's the first day of IDF, so it's only natural that we see a bunch of non-IDF news start pouring out :). I'll kick them off with a few announcements from HGST. First item up is their new SN100 line of PCIe SSDs:
These are NVMe capable PCIe SSDs, available from 800GB to 3.2TB capacities and in (PCI-based - not SATA) 2.5" as well as half-height PCIe cards.
Next up is an expansion of their HelioSeal (Helium filled) drive line:
Through the use of Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR), HGST can make an even bigger improvement in storage densities. This does not come completely free, as due to the way SMR writes to the disk, it is primarily meant to be a sequential write / random access read storage device. Picture roofing shingles, but for hard drives. The tracks are slightly overlapped as they are written to disk. This increases density greatly, but writting to the middle of a shingled section is not possible without potentially overwriting two shingled tracks simultaneously. Think of it as CD-RW writing, but for hard disks. This tech is primarily geared towards 'cold storage', or data that is not actively being written. Think archival data. The ability to still read that data randomly and on demand makes these drives more appealing than retrieving that same data from tape-based archival methods.
Further details on the above releases is scarce at present, but we will keep you posted on further details as they develop.
Subject: Storage | September 5, 2014 - 03:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: roundup, ssd
The SSD Review has put a quick overview of what they feel are the best SSDs released this summer in several classes, though picking the Intel P3700 PCIe SSD which is not slated for release until the end of September might be considered cheating a bit. It is no surprise that the Samsung 850 Pro is the Enthusiast recommendation or the Crucial MX100 being recommended for those with a tight budget. They also list M.2, mSATA and even USB recommendations so head on over to see the full round up.
"Summer has come and gone, and over the past few months, there have been quite a few SSDs released into the market, and the question of, "Which SSD should I buy?" seems to still come up a lot around forums. Usually, there are some predetermined recommended favorite in each."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Crucial MX100 256 GB @ techPowerUp
- Plextor M6S 256GB @ eTeknix
- Plextor M6M 128GB mSATA @ eTeknix
- Transcend SSD370 SSD @ The SSD Review
- Samsung 850 Pro 512GB SSD Review @ NikKTech
- MyDigitalSSD Super Cache 2 128GB SATA III M.2 Drive Review @ Legit Reviews
- ioSafe 214 Fire and WaterProof NAS Video Review @ Madshrimps
- Synology DS115j @ HardwareHeaven
- QNAP TurboNAS TS-470 Pro NAS Server Review @ NikKTech
- WD My Passport Wireless 1TB Storage Drive Review @ Legit Reviews
- Western Digital My Passport Ultra Review @ TechwareLab
- WD My Passport Wireless Review – Your Own Hand-Held Personal Cloud @ Techgage
- Corsair Voyager Air 2 1TB Wireless Hard Drive @ eTeknix
- Western DIgital My Cloud EX2 Review @ TechwareLabs
- Silicon Power Armor A60 2TB USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive Review @ NikKTech
- Corsair Flash Voyager GTX USB 3.0 128GB Flash Drive Review @ Madshrimps
Subject: Motherboards, Processors, Chipsets, Memory, Storage | September 5, 2014 - 01:21 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: X99-Deluxe, SSD 730, Intel, Haswell-E, ddr4, asus, 5960X
Okay, I'll be the first to admit that I didn't know what I was getting into. When a couple of packages showed up at our office from Intel with claims that they wanted to showcase the new Haswell-E platform...I was confused. The setup was simple: turn on cameras and watch what happens.
So out of the box comes...a containment chamber. A carefully crafted, wood+paint concoction that includes lights, beeps, motors and platforms.
Want to see how Intel promotes the Core i7-5960X and X99 platform? Check out this video below.
Our reviews of products included in this video:
Subject: Storage | August 27, 2014 - 04:09 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Sandforce SF2281, kingston, hyper x fury, 240gb
The Kingston Hyper X Fury 240GB is a slim SSD able to fit in the anemic ultrabooks though it does ship with a 2.5mm adapter for systems which are a little more meaty. It uses the familiar Sandforce SF2281 controller and has changed to 128GBit ONFi 3 NAND from the previous ONFi 1 and 2 found in the V300 and the first Fury models. This NAND is slower at reads but at the same time it is also significantly more rugged, with a endurance rating of 641TB worth of writes. Hopefully Kingston learned from the reaction to its previous release of the V300 where review models were sent out with Toggle Mode NAND which was then switched for ONFi in the retail models. Hardware Canucks saw decent performance at a price in line with the market, but it is up to you to decide if you are willing to forgive Kingston and purchase this new SSD.
"Kingston has long been known as a company that caters to budget-minded buyers and that's exactly what their new HyperX Fury SSD does. However, this time performance is also a priority."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- SanDisk Extreme PRO 480GB SSD Review @ OCC
- Silicon Power Slim S70 240GB SSD Review @ NikKTech
- Plextor M6 Pro SSD @ HardwareHeaven
- Kingston V310 SSD @ HardwareHeaven
- Crucial MX100 256GB Solid State Drive Review @ Madshrimps
- Kingston SSDNow V310 @ The SSD Review
- AMD Radeon R7 240GB @ eTeknix
- Angelbird SSD wrk 256GB @ eTeknix
- Seagate Wireless Plus 2TB Mobile Device Storage Review @ NikKTech
- Synology DiskStation DS415play @ Legion Hardware
Subject: Storage | August 26, 2014 - 01:18 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Seagate, hdd, 8TB, Cleversafe
Sometime in the next quarter you will be able to pick up a 3.5" Seagate HDD with 8TB of storage on it. These are aimed at data centres so they will have reduced power usage and are likely to have an impressive warranty attached, though that along with the high storage density will cost you a bit to purchase. They do not offer much in the way of specifics, no platter count or cache size are listed in the PR but you can expect to find out more about them in the very near future.
CUPERTINO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Seagate Technology plc (NASDAQ:STX), a world leader in storage solutions, today announced it is shipping the world’s first 8TB hard disk drive. An important step forward in storage, the 8TB hard disk drive provides scale-out data infrastructures with supersized-capacity, energy-efficiency and the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) in the industry for cloud content, object storage and back-up disaster recovery storage.
“As our world becomes more mobile, the number of devices we use to create and consume data is driving an explosive growth in unstructured data. This places increased pressure on cloud builders to look for innovative ways to build cost-effective, high capacity storage for both private and cloud-based data centers,” said Scott Horn, Seagate vice president of marketing. “Seagate is poised to address this challenge by offering the world’s first 8TB HDD, a ground-breaking new solution for meeting the increased capacities needed to support the demand for high capacity storage in a world bursting with digital creation, consumption and long-term storage.”
A cornerstone for growing capacities in multiple applications, the 8TB hard drive delivers bulk data storage solutions for online content storage providing customers with the highest capacity density needed to address an ever increasing amount of unstructured data in an industry-standard 3.5-inch HDD. Providing up to 8TB in a single drive slot, the drive delivers maximum rack density, within an existing footprint, for the most efficient data center floor space usage possible.
“Public and private data centers are grappling with efficiently storing massive amounts of unstructured digital content,” said John Rydning, IDC’s research vice president for hard disk drives. “Seagate’s new 8TB HDD provides IT managers with a new option for improving storage density in the data center, thus helping them to tackle one of the largest and fastest growing data categories within enterprise storage economically.”
The 8TB hard disk drive increases system capacity using fewer components for increased system and staffing efficiencies while lowering power costs. With its low operating power consumption, the drive reliably conserves energy thereby reducing overall operating costs. Helping customers economically store data, it boasts the best Watts/GB for enterprise bulk data storage in the industry.
“Cleversafe is excited to once again partner with Seagate to deliver to our customers what is truly an innovative storage solution. Delivering absolute lowest cost/TB along with the performance and reliability required for massive scale applications, the new 8TB hard disk drive is ideal for meeting the needs of our enterprise and service provider customers who demand optimized hardware and the cost structure needed for massive scale out,” said Tom Shirley, senior vice president of research and development, Cleversafe.
Outfitted with enterprise-class reliability and support for archive workloads, it features multi-drive RV tolerance for consistent enterprise-class performance in high density environments. The drive also incorporates a proven SATA 6Gb/s interface for cost-effective, easy system integration in both private and public data centers.
Subject: Storage | August 19, 2014 - 02:04 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: western digital, portable, my passport, hdd
It's the 10th anniversary of Western Digital's My Passport line. To celebrate the occasion, they have launched an updated series:
The My Passport Ultra is available in 1TB and 2TB capacities, in both 'Metal' and 'Anniversary' Editions. The aluminum enclosures have an old-school radio-dial style finish. Both editions communicate over USB 3.0. While the Anniversary model comes out in September, the Metal Edition is now shipping at $89 for 1TB and $139 for 2TB.
Subject: Storage | August 19, 2014 - 01:20 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, R7 240, ssd, radeon r7, barefoot 3, 19nm, toshiba mlc
We have seen the Barefoot 3 controller that AMD used in their first SSD before in OCZ's Vector 150, but not exactly like this. The controller has been optimized to work with Toshiba's 19nm and is clocked slightly higher than the Vertex, though AMD will not say by how much. That may account for the reduction in daily writes to 30GB/day and the warranty period to 4 years but as it is OCZ that is handling the warranty it is hard to determine the exact reasoning at this point. On the plus side the MSRP is also reduced by $28 to $164 which still falls short of reaching the magic $0.50/GB mark. The Tech Report tested the 240GB model here, as with other SSDs you can expect the 120GB to be slightly slower and the 480GB model to perform slightly faster.
"AMD is getting into the storage business. The Radeon R7 SSD combines OCZ's Barefoot 3 controller with Toshiba's 19-nm MLC NAND, custom firmware, and a snazzy new sticker. We take a quick look to see what's what."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- AMD teams with Toshiba's OCZ for Radeon R7 SSD line @ The Inquirer
- AMD Radeon R7 SSD 240 GB @ techPowerUp
- AMD Radeon R7 SSD @ HardwareHeaven
- OCZ AMD Radeon R7 @ The SSD Review
- AMD R7 Series 240GB @ Kitguru
- Angelbird SSD wrk 512GB @ Custom PC Review
- Kingston HyperX FURY 240GB SSD Review @ NikKTech
- Kingston HyperX FURY 240 GiB SSD Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Thecus N2310 Soho/Home NAS Server Review @ Madshrimps
Subject: Storage | August 18, 2014 - 03:15 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: 512GB, angelbird, silicon motion, SMI, ssd, wrk
The simple look and extra care that went into manufacturing the Angelbird wrk SSDs show that they are serious about breaking into the market. They have launched at a price slightly higher than average for the market but also bring the best sequential reads that Al has seen yet on a SATA drive. Legit Reviews pried the drive open to reveal the Silicon Motion SM2246EN SATA III 6Gbps SSD controller previously seen on Corsair, PNY, ADATA and Transcend SSDs, along with MLC flash and 256MB of DDR3 cache. In Legit Reviews testing of the drive they concluded that you should pick up the 256GB or 512GB model for the extra performance that it brings, you will not be disappointed.
"Angelbird might night be a household name, but the Austrian company has been around in the SSD market for a number of years and has gotten a reputation for having high quality products. When we found out that Angelbird was coming out with a new SSD product like called the SSD wrk we couldn’t wait to get our hands on one of these drives and see what Angelbird has to offer consumers. Read on to find out!"
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Angelbird SSD wrk 512GB SSD Review @HiTech Legion
- Angelbird SSD wrk SSD @ The SSD Review
- Angelbird SSD wrk 512 GB @ techPowerUp
- Angelbird 512GB wrk @ Kitguru
- OCZ ARC 100 240GB @ eTeknix
- Plextor M6S 256GB SSD Review @ Hardware Canucks
- OCZ ARC 100 @ HardwareHeaven
- OCZ RevoDrive 350 480GB PCIe SSD Review @ Neoseeker
- Kingston SM2280S3 120GB M.2 SATA SSD Review @ Legit Reviews
- Icy Dock ICYCube 4-Bay External Enclosure Review @HiTech Legion
- Brinell Single-Action Stick 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Review @ NikKTech
Subject: Storage | August 13, 2014 - 02:38 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: toshiba, ssd, sata, ocz, barefoot 3, ARC
Before even looking at the performance the real selling point of the new OCZ ARC 100 is the MSRP, the 240GB and 480GB models are slated to be released at $0.50/GB and will likely follow the usual trend of SSD prices and drop from there. The drives use the Barefoot 3 controller, this one clocked slightly lower than the Vertex 460 but still capable of accelerating encryption. Once The Tech Report set the drive up in their test bed the performance was almost on par with the Vertex 460 and other mid to high end SSDs, especially in comparison to the Crucial MX100.
"OCZ's latest value SSD is priced at just $0.50 per gig, but it hangs with mid-range and even high-end drives in real-world and demanding workloads. It's also backed by an upgraded warranty and some impressive internal reliability data provided by OCZ. We take a closer look:"
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- OCZ ARC 100 240GB SSD @ Kitguru
- OCZ ARC 100 240GB SSD Review @ Legit Reviews
- OCZ ARC 100 240GB @ Legion Hardware
- OCZ ARC 100 SSD @ SSD Review
- OCZ ARC 100 240GB SSD Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Samsung 845DC EVO 3-bit Toggle MLC and 845DC PRO 3D V-NAND SSDs @ The Register
- Synology DS412+ - Network Attached Storage @ Funky Kit
Subject: Storage | August 8, 2014 - 02:16 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ultrastar, hgst, enterprise ssd, 20nm
HGST has refreshed their 12Gbit/s SAS series of Ultrastar SSDs with denser 20nm which has upped the read speeds though the writes do suffer somewhat. As they are enterprise drives they have rather impressive lifespans, the 800GB is rated at 25 full drives writes/day for the length of the 5 year warranty. They also offer encryption and erasure tools that are superior to enthusiast drives, along with a much higher price tag. The Register also offers information on the new Ultrastar HDDs and a link to the spec sheets but as of yet we do not have any benchmarks.
"HGST has refreshed its Ultrastar enterprise SSD line, using denser 20nm NAND to replace the previous 25nm flash, doubling capacity, upping read performance but lowering write performance a tad in the process."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Toshiba THNSNJ HG6 256 GB @ techPowerUp
- Crucial MX100 512GB SSD Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Hynix SH920 128GB SSD @ Kitguru
- Kingston SSDNow V310 960GB SSD Review @ Legit Reviews
- Silicon Power Slim S60 240GB SSD Review @ NikKTech
- Kingston HyperX Fury 240GB @ eTeknix
- Samsung 845DC PRO @ The SSD Review
- Leef Supra 3.0 and Ice 3.0 16GB Flash Drive Review @ Legit Reviews
- Netgear ReadyNAS 516 @ Legion Hardware
- Synology DS414slim @ techPowerUp
- Thecus N7710-G NAS Server Review @ NikKTech
- Synology Embedded DataStation EDS14 @ Legion Hardware
- Seagate Enterprise Capacity 3.5 HDD v4 6TB Review @ Neoseeker
Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | August 7, 2014 - 05:37 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: ssd, SM2256, silicon motion, sata, FMS 2014, FMS
Silicon Motion has announced their SM2256 controller. We caught a glimpse of this new controller on the Flash Memory Summit show floor:
The big deal here is the fact that this controller is a complete drop-in solution that can drive multiple different types of flash, as seen below:
The SM2256 can drive all variants of TLC flash.
The controller itself looks to have decent specs, considering it is meant to drive 1xnm TLC flash. Just under 100k random 4k IOPS. Writes are understandably below the max saturation of SATA 6Gb/sec at 400MB/sec (writing to TLC is tricky!). There is also mention of Silicon Motion's NANDXtend Technology, which claims to add some extra ECC and DSP tech towards the end of increasing the ability to correct for bit errors in the flash (more likely as you venture into 8 bit per cell territory).
Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | August 7, 2014 - 05:25 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: ssd, sata, PS5007, PS3110, phison, pcie, FMS 2014, FMS
At the Flash Memory Summit, Phison has updated their SSD controller lineup with a new quad-core SSD controller.
The PS3110 is capable of handling TLC as well as MLC flash, and the added horsepower lets it push as high as 100k IOPS.
Also seen was an upcoming PS5007 controller, capable of pushing PCIe 3.0 x4 SSDs at 300k IOPS and close to 3GB/sec sequential throughputs. While there were no actual devices on display of this new controller, we did spot the full specs:
Full press blast on the PS3110 appears after the break:
Subject: General Tech, Storage, Shows and Expos | August 7, 2014 - 02:17 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: ssd, phase change memory, PCM, hgst, FMS 2014, FMS
According to an HGST press release, the company will bring an SSD based on phase change memory to the 2014 Flash Memory Summit in Santa Clara, California. They claim that it will actually be at their booth, on the show floor, for two days (August 6th and 7th).
The device, which is not branded, connects via PCIe 2.0 x4. It is designed for speed. It is allegedly capable of 3 million IOPS, with just 1.5 microseconds required for a single access. For comparison, the 800GB Intel SSD DC P3700, recently reviewed by Allyn, had a dominating lead over the competitors that he tested. It was just shy of 250 thousand IOPS. This is, supposedly, about twelve times faster.
While it is based on a different technology than NAND, and thus not directly comparable, the PCM chips are apparently manufactured at 45nm. Regardless, that is significantly larger lithography than competing products. Intel is manufacturing their flash at 20nm, while Samsung managed to use a 30nm process for their recent V-NAND launch.
What does concern me is the capacity per chip. According to the press release, it is 1Gb per chip. That is about two orders of magnitude smaller than what NAND is pushing. That is, also, the only reference to capacity in the entire press release. It makes me wonder how small the total drive capacity will be, especially compared to RAM drives.
Of course, because it does not seem to be a marketed product yet, nothing about pricing or availability. It will almost definitely be aimed at the enterprise market, though (especially given HGST's track record).
*** Update from Allyn ***
I'm hijacking Scott's news post with photos of the actual PCM SSD, from the FMS show floor:
In case you all are wondering, yes, it does in fact work:
One of the advantages of PCM is that it is addressed at smaller sections as compared to typical flash memory. This means you can see ~700k *single sector* random IOPS at QD=1. You can only pull off that sort of figure with extremely low IO latency. They only showed this output at their display, but ramping up QD > 1 should reasonably lead to the 3 million figure claimed in their release.
Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | August 6, 2014 - 03:03 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: ssd, pcie, NVMe, Marvell, FMS 2014, FMS, controller, 88SS1093
Marvell is notorious for being the first to bring a 6Gb/sec SATA controller to market, and they continue to do very well in that area. Their very capable 88SS9189 controller powers the Crucial MX100 and M550, as well as the ADATA SP920.
Today they have announced a newer controller, the 88SS1093. Despite the confusing numbering, the 88SS1093 has a PCIe 3.0 x4 host interface and will support the full NVMe protocol. The provided specs are on the light side, as performance of this controller will ultimately depend on the speed and parallelism of the attached flash, but its sure to be a decent performer. I suspect it would behave like their SATA part, only no longer bottlenecked by SATA 6Gb/sec speeds.
More to follow as I hope to see this controller in person on the exhibition hall (which opens to press in a few hours). Full press blast after the break.
*** Update ***
Apologies as there was no photo to be taken - Marvell had no booth at the exibition space at FMS.
Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | August 5, 2014 - 04:19 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: FMS, vnand, tlc, ssd, Samsung, FMS 2014, Flash Memory Summit
Just minutes ago at the Flash Memory Summit, Samsung announced the production of 32-layer TLC VNAND:
This is the key to production of a soon-to-be-released 850 EVO, which should bring the excellent performance of the 850 Pro, with the reduced cost benefit we saw with the previous generation 840 EVO. Here's what the progression to 3D VNAND looks like:
3D TLC VNAND will look identical to the right most image in the above slide, but the difference will be that the charge stored has more variability. Given that Samsung's VNAND tech has more volume to store electrons when compared to competing 2D planar flash technology, it's a safe bet that this new TLC will come with higher endurance ratings than those other technologies. There is much more information on Samsung's VNAND technology on page 1 of our 850 Pro review. Be sure to check that out if you haven't already!
Another announcement made was more of an initiative, but a very interesting one at that. SSDs are generally dumb when it comes to coordinating with the host - in that there is virtually no coordination. An SSD has no idea which pieces of files were meant to be grouped together, etc (top half of this slide):
Stuff comes into the SSD and it puts it where it can based on its best guess as to how it should optimize those writes. What you'd want to have, ideally, is a more intelligent method of coordination between the host system and the SSD (more like the bottom half of the above slide). Samsung has been dabbling in the possibilities here and has seen some demonstrable gains to be made. In a system where they made the host software aware of the SSD flash space, and vice versa, they were able to significantly reduce write latency during high IOPS activity.
The key is that if the host / host software has more control over where and how data is stored on the SSD, the end result is a much more optimized write pattern, which ultimately boosts overall throughput and IOPS. We are still in the experimentation stage on Storage Intelligence, with more to follow as standards are developed and the industry pushes forward.
It might be a while before we see Storage Intelligence go mainstream, but I'm definitely eager to see 3D TLC VNAND hit the market, and now we know it's coming! More to follow in the coming days as we continue our live coverage of the Flash Memory Summit!
Subject: General Tech, Storage | July 29, 2014 - 07:24 PM | Scott Michaud
You might remember Allyn say that Samsung's 850 Pro is the closest to total saturation of SATA 6Gbps. The other option that we have seen is the bunch of SSDs that are attached to a PCI Express bus. HGST, formerly Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, has just SAS'd back (that was a terrible pun... which I refuse to apologize for) with a Serial Attached SCSI 12 Gbps model (pdf link). They claim a maximum read throughput of 1100 MB/s, with 64K chunks, and 130,000 IOPS, with 4K random accesses.
The drives will be based on Intel 20nm enterprise-grade NAND with two bits per memory cell (MLC). Its durability is rated at 25 full driver writes per day for 5 years. Models will range from 100GB, all the way up to 1600GB (1.6TB).
While I am limited to Google Translate, there does not appear to be any price or availability information provided. They are enterprise drives, however, so I expect it to be above typical consumer drives.
Subject: Storage | July 28, 2014 - 03:52 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: adata, SP610, corsair, Force LX, 512GB
Two drives are competing for the budget segments money on Legit Reviews, the $250 Corsair Force LX 512GB and the $240 ADATA SP610 512GB SSD. 512GB should be enough for most budget users to store their needed software on and save them the cost of an HDD but which will offer the most value for the money? Both drives have Silicon Motion's SM2246EN controller and 20nm Micron MLC NAND, the same 3 year warranty and the same physical measurements. Does one stand out over the other? Read the full review to see.
"Solid-State Drive (SSD) have been steadily growing in capacity and thanks to improvements to the manufacturing processes the price of NAND and SSD controllers has been falling at an impressive rate. This means that fairly large SSDs are now fairly affordable and something the for the average consumer can justify purchasing."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD Review @ Madshrimps
- Crucial MX100 256GB @ eTeknix
- ADATA SP610 SSD Review (512GB) @ The SSD Review
- Plextor M6S PX-256M6S 256GB SSD Review @ NikKTech
- SanDisk Extreme PRO 480GB SATA SSD @ Custom PC Review
- Crucial MX100 512GB SSD Review @ TechwareLabs
- Kingston SSDNow V310 960GB SSD Upgrade Kit Review @ NikKTech
- Sandisk Extreme Pro 480GB @ Kitguru
- Intel SSD Pro 2500 Series 240GB Enterprise SSD Review @ Legit Reviews
- Intel P3700 NVMe SSD Installed In a Win 8.1 Consumer PC – Drivers Benched @ The SSD Review
- Samsung 845DC PRO 400GB SATA SSD @ Custom PC Review
- SSD Throughput, Latency and IOPS Explained – Learning To Live With Flash @ The SSD Review
- ALLONE Cloud Disk Drive 101 RAMDisk Review (32GB) – 500K IOPS of DDR3 Storage @ The SSD Review
- Silicon Power Superior SDXC UHS-1 64GB Review @ Madshrimps
- Patriot STELLAR 64GB USB/microUSB 3.0 OTG Flash Drive Review @ OCC
- Lexar JumpDrive P10 64GB @ Funky Kit
- Toshiba Nearline MG04ACA500A 5TB SATA III HDD Review @ NikKTech
- Thecus N2520 2-Bay NAS @ eTeknix
- Synology DS414j Budget-friendly 4-bay NAS Server Review @ Madshrimps
- QNAP TS-451 @ Legion Hardware
- Synology DS415play @ Kitguru
Subject: Storage | July 23, 2014 - 06:21 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, Red Pro, red, 6tb, 4TB
Western Digital has extended its Red line with 5 and 6TB models, sporting 1.2TB per platter. Performance is expected to be slightly improved over the older / smaller capacities of the Red. The upgraded line will use an improved 'NASware 3.0' firmware, which makes improvements to Western Digital's software based vibration compensation. These improvements mean WD can now support up to 8 Reds in a single chassis (up from 5 with NASware 2.0).
Also announced was the new Red Pro line, available in capacities up to 4TB. The Red Pro is just as it sounds - a 'Pro' version of the Red. This model borrows more features from WD's enterprise line, making it very similar to an SE series HDD. Imagine a Red, but at 7200RPM and more aggressive seek times. The Red Pro also borrows the enterprise-grade 5-year warranty and is supported in chassis up to 16 bays, thanks to built-in hardware vibration compensation. When all is said and done, the Red Pro is basically a WD SE with firmware tweaked for NAS workloads.
We typically have our WD reviews post right at the NDA. On this piece, we opted to hold back as we've been working with Western Digital on some abnormal performance results we saw with the 6TB Red. Below are the results seen in Iometer. Note that the 6TB Red failed to demonstrate the expected 'ramp up' seen with other drives. HDDs normally show increased performance as Queue Depth increases. This is because the HDD controller is able to see multiple pending requests and optimize its access pattern. The more commands in the queue (higher QD), the more the HDD can optimize the pattern, and therefore the higher resulting IOPS seen.
As you can see above, the 6TB Red appears to behave as if NCQ is disabled. Some might argue (in reviews that have already published) that the drive still performs well, but the plain truth of the matter is that a HDD effectively operating without NCQ removes the drives ability to scale when multiple commands are issued. Any test issuing more than one command simultaneously will see a lesser result as compared to a properly configured drive, so things like streaming multiple videos or several users actively simultaneously accessing a NAS will see a negative impact on performance.
The 4TB Red Pro did not demonstrate the issues noted above, and Western Digital has just issued this statement in response to our feedback. Here it is:
WD has learned that initial production units of WD Red 5* and 6 TB drives perform below our expectations in random-read benchmark tests when measured with specific testing software. We have found a configuration setting to be causing these particular test results, for which we are developing a firmware update to correct the configuration setting. In the intended application -- multi-drive NAS systems -- the drives have performed to our high expectations in WD’s labs and by our system partners; users will experience normal WD Red performance.
WD is committed to providing optimally performing storage products, designed for intended applications, and we will have a firmware update available through the WD Red Product Customer Service support line as it becomes available.
*Limited quantities of 5 TB have shipped with the earlier configuration setting.
We have decided to publish the full article covering both new drives, including the 6TB Red in its (currently shipping) misconfigured form. It will go live once I add the necessary verbiage explaining the misconfiguration seen on the 5TB and 6TB Red.
Stay tuned for that piece later tonight (**EDIT** our review is now live **EDIT**), as well as a follow-on piece to be published as soon as we have the updated firmware from Western Digital.