CES Storage Roundup Part 2 - Corsair, Patriot

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 12, 2012 - 12:29 AM |
Tagged: ssd, patriot, memory, flash, corsair, CES

While roaming Vegas, we came across lots of storage goodies. Here are a few:

Corsair

Corsair showed their line of SSD's, with a new addition:

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The new addition is on the right. This is the 'Accelerator' series, an SSD primarily meant for caching duties:

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The Accelerator series will be available in 30, 45, and 60GB capacities, and will be packaged with caching driver software for those not running a Z68 or better caching capable Intel board.

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Also on display was a refresh to the Voyager, Voyager GT, and Survivor series, bringing their interface up to USB 3.0 speeds.

Patriot

We also saw Patriot's lineup:

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Pictured above, from top down, is the following:

  • Wildfire (Sandforce 6Gb/sec / Toshiba Toggle-mode flash)
  • Pyro SE (Sandforce 6Gb/sec / IMFT Sync flash)
  • Pyro (Sandforce 6Gb/sec / IMFT Async flash)
  • Magma (Phison / Async flash)
  • Mac Series (identical Pyro SE, but Apple certified)

Next is the USB lineup, with many new USB 3.0 models replacing the older 2.0 units. The Transporter series is a bit shorter than it used to be, which is a welcome bonus.

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Here are Patriot's portable flash offerings, consisting of high capacity SD cards and Phison-driven mSATA and smaller (!) form factors:

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This is 'mSATA mini', which is about half the length of a standard mSATA SSD. On the other end of that spectrum is a 240GB Macbook Air unit (just off camera in the above pic).

Stay Tuned!

...I've got a few more goodies to post!

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

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

CES Storage Roundup Part 1 - Toshiba, Kingston

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 11, 2012 - 09:26 PM |
Tagged: toshiba, ssd, memory, kingston, flash, CES

While roaming Vegas, we came across lots of storage goodies. Here are a few:

Toshiba

Toshiba was showing a 19nm flash memory wafer and all of their products containing them.

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They seem to be taking their SATA SSD lines less seriously, as there were none on display. While there were no SSD's to speak of, there were USB devices:

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There was also plenty of SDHC, including their own SD WiFi card - used to upload photos as they are taken.

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They were also showing an SDXC card. While the shown card was a functioning 64GB unit, the SDXC format is capable of taking to cards up to 1TB in capacity.

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Kingston

We saw some cool stuff over at the Kingston booth:

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If you look inside that case, you'll see they are now making an mSATA SSD:

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They also showed their ever expanding line of USB 2.0 and 3.0 devices:

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...and this really tiny model, which packs 8GB of storage into something barely big enough to unplug without the use of needle nose pliers:

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Stay Tuned!

...more storage stuff is coming soon!

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

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

Victorinox SSD makes its debut at CES - 1TB thumb drive connected via USB or eSATA

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 10, 2012 - 08:39 PM |
Tagged: CES, usb, ssd, eSATA

Victorinox stopped me in my tracks while walking around the Pepcom Digital Experience last night. I'd heard there was a 1TB USB drive, but assumed it would be one of those things that was purely a concept and wouldn't be out for another year or two. Then I saw this:

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That larger drive (center left) is a *working* 1TB SSD in a thumb drive form factor. Sure it's on the larger side, but it's no bigger than the typical 32GB USB 3.0 thumb drives are at present. One side of the SSD contains a user-programmable e-ink display, which persists even with power removed. The other side shows the beginnings of a thick stack of PCB's and stacked flash memory:

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Pictured above is one of flash memory packages alongside the controller. Here's a side view:

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Within this package is a sandwich of 4 thin PCB's housing a total of 4 special flash memory packages. Each package can contain an interleaved stack of 16 (!) 2xnm dies. By interleaved I mean 8 dies make up a data channel to the controller, so each package provides 2 channels. This makes the assembled device physically equivalent to an 8-channel SSD - just neatly folded and shrunk into this relatively tiny device. Since all of you know I love ripping these things apart to see what makes them tick, well, Victorinox beat me to it and had one disassembled already:

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The last really cool and unique part of the design is right here:

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This is a picture of the underside of the *top* of the USB connector. This part is normally the standard steel top of a USB connector, but here Victorinox has engineered a 7-pin eSATA connector into it. Modern laptops typically have an eSATA connector that is also physically and electrically compatible with USB - using the USB portion of the connector to provide extra power when a powered eSATA device is connected. eSATA devices have a connector that can plug into this hybrid port, but not into a standard USB port. This device switches that concept around, in that it is physically compatible with both USB 3.0 and eSATA ports - and can function in eSATA mode when connected to the latter. This yields reduced latency when compared to USB, which introduces more overhead.

 

Victorinox expects to ship these in sizes from 64GB all the way up to the 1TB capacity later this year. Estimated cost of the largest capacity? $3,000.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

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

OCZ shows Kilimanjaro platform in the form of mini PCIe through Z-Drive R5

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 10, 2012 - 04:32 AM |
Tagged: CES, ssd, r5, r4, ocz, cloudserv

Earlier today we got our first hands-on of OCZ's new Kilimanjaro platform. This is the result of a joint venture between OCZ and Micron. The premise is simple: Most SSD and even PCIe storage devices use SATA as the primary or intermediate interface. This adds latency to the connection, and eventually limits the ultimate IOPS a given device can achieve. Kilimanjaro employs a new type of controller that takes commands directly from the host system via a single lane of PCIe 2.0, and in turn directly drives 4 channels of flash. This is all done without any SATA or SAS communications whatsoever. Here is what the simplest form of this platform looks like:

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This may be a bit confusing to some. The above pic is *not* of an mSATA device. Recall that mSATA borrowed the physical specification of mini PCIe (like the Wi-Fi adapter in most laptops). This device could plug into one of those slots (or even a hybrid mini-PCIe/mSATA port), and would link to the system via a PCIe 2.0 x1 link. This makes it capable of 50,000 IOPS and 500MB/sec - speeds similar to that of a good SATA 6Gb/sec SSD. The advantage of this platform is twofold. First is the lower latency achieved by getting rid of the middle man (SATA). Second is the way PCIe bridged storage can scale. The current far extreme of this comes in the form of the Z-Drive R5:
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This is essentially the same as the mini-PCIe device we just looked at, except there are 16 of them. The 16 PCIe 2.0 1x devices are interleaved evenly through a special PHY to a PCIe 3.0 x8 link to the host system. This makes for some insane bandwidth and IOPS possibilities. I'm fairly certain that the placard in the above pic was meant for the half-height (8 channel) R5, since the platform is capable of up to 7GB/sec and 2.5 million IOPS in the full height form factor. Marvell and OCZ still have a little ways to go on driver and firmware development for this new platform, so it may be a few months before we see it in the wild. Once that happens, we might see mid-point models with 2-4 controllers replacing the RevoDrive series shortly thereafter.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

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

OCZ Continues to Push the Performance and Capacity Envelope for Cloud Optimized Solid-State Storage

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2012 - 06:05 PM |
Tagged: z-drive r5, z-drive R4 CloudServ RM1616, ssd, PCIe SSD, ocz, indilinx everest 2, chiron 4TB SSD, CES

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 9, 2012 - International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2012 - OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs), today announces the debut of new and exciting SSD solutions. Using the world's most popular technology tradeshow as a platform, OCZ's latest SSDs demonstrate a commitment to advancing flash storage technology into greater realms of performance and versatility, further driving adoption in client and enterprise applications.

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"CES represents a great opportunity for us to showcase our latest storage technology, and highlight next generation cloud-optimized solid state solutions that address today's enterprise needs," said Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ Technology. "Once again we have been able to leverage our increased R&D strength and our understanding of client needs to change the face of solid state storage and deliver innovative new solutions far ahead of our competitors, demonstrating technology leadership across all product categories."

OCZ will introduce next generation solutions designed to deliver higher performance, reliability, and storage capacity to meet the demands of the enterprise market with industry-leading products. OCZ products to be unveiled at CES include:

Z-Drive R5 – Utilizing the OCZ and Marvell co-developed Kilimanjaro platform, the fifth generation Z-Drive R5 is designed to accelerate "big data" like never before. As the world's first PCIe x16 Gen 3 SSD, which supports up to 16GB/s of total bandwidth, the R5 will be 2012's most advanced SSD, featuring performance that reaches up to an incredible 2.52 million IOPS and 7.2GB/s sequential transfers per card, with unlimited scalability and performance aggregation capability. With optional power fail protection the R5 will be available in a range of form factors including full height, half height, and 2.5-inch PCIe. The R5's industry-leading performance and storage capacities make pure flash storage in mission-critical applications possible.

Indilinx Everest 2 – The SATA 3.0-based third generation Indilinx controller is designed specifically for I/O-intensive workloads in a wide range of applications, supporting sequential speeds of up to 550MB/s, and up to 105,000 random read and 90,000 Random Write IOPS with the newest 2xnm flash technology. The Everest 2 platform supports up to 2TB capacity in a compact 2.5-inch form factor.

Z-Drive R4 CloudServ RM1616 – Making 16TB of storage on a single PCIe card a reality, the new Z-Drive R4 CloudServ RM1616 is the newest addition to the award-winning R4 Series. With performance of up to 6.5GB/s and over 1.4 million IOPS, the Z-Drive R4 CloudServ's level of concentrated performance and capacity enables system architects to design more productive infrastructures while lowering operating costs associated with hard drive technology.

Chiron 4TB SSD – The world's fastest and highest capacity SATA SSD for the enterprise, the Chiron Series provides a staggering 4TB in a compact 3.5-inch form factor. With performance exceeding SATA 3.0 bus capabilities, Chiron delivers speeds above 560MB/s and 100,000 IOPS. Eliminating the need for high capacity HDDs as anything other than backup devices, the Chiron Series enables mass SSD storage and is capable of deploying up to 96TB of storage in a 4U rackmount server chassis.

OCZ's enterprise showcase demonstrations will include, among others, an IBM System x3650 M3 highlighting the performance potential of the new Z-Drive R5 PCIe Gen 3 in a Linux server environment, as well as a HP ProLiant DL370 G6 server equipped with two Z-Drive R4 RM1616s delivering 1,400,000 IOPS per card with Windows Server 2008. In addition, drives based on the next-generation Indilinx Everest 2 platform will be demonstrated, as well as a prototype of "Lightfoot," an external Intel Thunderbolt SSD unveiling a new generation of high-performance portable storage.

 

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

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

OCZ shows a new R4 - the Z-Drive R4 CloudServ, with 16 (!) SandForce 2200 SSD's!

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2012 - 04:10 PM |
Tagged: z-drive, ssd, r4, pcie, ocz, CES

OCZ has a monster of a Z-Drive R4 on display at Storage Visions. We looked at the original 1.6TB R4 back in September. That one had 8 SF-2200 controllers on-board. This new R4 has 16!

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This R4 has a beast of a VCA 2.0 controller. It's cooled by heat pipes, can handle up to 16 SATA links, address up to 16TB of storage, and pass up to 1.4 million IOPS across a PCIe bus at 6.5GB/sec (yes, GigaBytes). Note: this is not the R5, it's just a *really* fast R4.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

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

CES 2012: OCZ Chiron is world's fastest and highest capacity SATA SSD

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2012 - 04:02 PM |
Tagged: CES, ocz, chiron, sata, ssd

OCZ is taking the lid off of even more SSD products at CES 2012 and we have another pretty impressive piece of hardware called the Chiron to show.  Basically a follow up to the OCZ Colossus drive we reviewed back in November of 2009, the Chiron claims to be the fastest and highest capacity SATA-based SSD.

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The Chiron will be available in capacities of up to 4TB and will fit in the standard 3.5-in form factor of traditional hard drives.  This would enable users to finally use SSDs for their mass storage though prices will likely be the limiting factor for some time to come.  Server OEMs will be able to deploy up to 96TB of SSD-based storage in a standard 4U rackmount server. 

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Based on OCZ's upcoming Indilinx Everest II controller, the Chiron will have transfer rates as high as 560 MB/s and over 100,000 4k IOPS.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

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

CES 2012: OCZ shows DDR based SATA 6Gb/sec aeonDrive

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2012 - 03:45 PM |
Tagged: ssd, ocz, CES, aeondrive

Today at Storage Visions we saw OCZ displaying their new aeonDrive. This is a pure RAM based SSD meant for high end database applications where thousands of random writes per second take place continuously.

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This is a multiple layer PCB, with extra connections that appear to allow even more to be stacked together. The unit pictured is only 32GB capacity, but considering it's all RAM, that's quite a bit.
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While the RAM is DDR3-1333 from Micron, we figure it's running at a lower clock rate, since all of that data passes through a single SATA 6Gb/sec interface. OCZ claims up to 140,000 4K IOPS and >500,000 single sector (512 byte) IOPS. Those figures are essentially saturating the capabilities of SATA 6Gb/sec.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

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

CES 2012: OCZ Shows Lightfoot, Thunderbolt External SATA Drive

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2012 - 03:01 PM |
Tagged: thunderbolt, ssd, ocz, lightfoot, CES

Today at the Storage Visions conference before the start of CES 2012, OCZ was on hand to show off a few new items they have planned for the year.  First up is the Lightfoot, a successor to the OCZ Enyo external USB 3.0 SSD that we reviewed and really enjoyed our time with. 

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As you can see it looks quite a bit bigger than the original Enyo and that is on account of the increased storage capacity.  You can expect to see sizes as high as 1TB and it will also be available in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB.  

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Here is the Thunderbolt connector that many a Mac user and, hopefully soon, PC users will be able to take advantage of for improved throughput with transfer rates as high as 750 MB/s quoted by OCZ. 

OCZ claims that the one of the benefits of moving to the Thunderbolt interconnect is improved latency and highly accurate time synchronization that will allow for professional audio and video work to be done directly on the drive.  We are pretty eager to see if this is the case...

The time frame for this device is still unknown but we'll see if we can get more information this week by asking the right people. 

UPDATE: OCZ is telling us that Lightfoot will cost about $2/GB, so that 1TB model will run around $2000.  For those a bit more frugal, you can get the 128GB option for something like $250.  

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

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

Victorinox Launches 1TB USB / eSATA II Pocket Knife Flash Drive

Subject: Storage | January 7, 2012 - 11:29 PM |
Tagged: victorinox, 1TB, storage, flash drive, CES, pocket knife

I was over at HardOCP today and saw something awesome: a pocket knife with 1 TB of storage! Victorinox is going to launch two new styles of pocket knife flash drives, and will be showing them off next week at CES. Both drives have up to 1TB of flash storage, a pocket knife like case, a USB / eSATA connection, and a monochromatic LCD screen to display information about the drive.

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Everyone knows your storage runs faster with the knife equipped!

The drives come in two colors, black or red. The red flash drive also doubles as a pocket knife by including a knife and a pair of scissors. The black drive is TSA friendly and is only the flash drive itself in the case. All I know is that it may be time for me to upgrade from my aging 4GB PNY flash drive as this looks cool. On the other hand, they are only USB 2.0, and just thinking about how long it would take to transfer 1TB of data to this thing makes my head hurt.

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more CES news!

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

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

Source: HardOCP

Of Barracudas, VelociRaptors and easy modding

Subject: Storage | January 6, 2012 - 06:17 PM |
Tagged: Barracuda, VelociRaptor, hdd, modding

In the Hardware Leaderboard you will occasionally see a recommendation to partition a 1.5TB HDD into a 300GB partition for your OS and programs, leaving the remainder for storage.  This is because doing so on that size of drive will put the 300GB partition onto the 'sweet spot' of the drive which is functionally faster than the remainder.  Many have been doing this long before the advice was offered on the HWLB and not even thought to recommend it to friends as it has become an ingrained habit that they do not even think of consciously anymore.  Not so TechARP who assembled a guide on how to do this and an explanation of why it is that you gain so much speed from a simple partitioning.  They've recently updated the article so it seems an appropriate time to remind readers about this trick and to perhaps introduce the trick to some who are unaware of it.  Sooner or later 1.5TB drives will fall in price to the point where they are easily affordable again.

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"That's a really catchy title, isn't it? Who wouldn't want to turn a "slow" 7,200 RPM hard disk drive into a super-fast 10,000 RPM Western Digital VelociRaptor? After all, the 300 GB model of the much-vaunted HDD speed king retails for US$ 199.99, while a 1.5 TB Barracuda 7200.11 only costs US$ 109.99. Imagine getting the performance of the VelociRaptor with the capacity and price of the Seagate Barracuda!"

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

Source: TechARP

OCZ Technology and Marvell to Debut Next Generation PCI Express Z-Drive R5

Subject: Storage | January 6, 2012 - 03:27 PM |
Tagged: CES, z-drive r5, PCIe SSD, ocz

SAN JOSE, CA - Jan. 6, 2012 - OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, and Marvell (Nasdaq:MRVL), a worldwide leader in integrated silicon solutions, today unveiled the industry's fastest and most versatile PCI Express (PCIe) storage system, the Z-Drive R5. The increased performance, reliability, and endurance of the Z-Drive R5 is designed to take PCIe-based solid state storage to the next level for enterprise environments.

The Z-Drive R5 features a jointly developed "Kilimanjaro" OCZ and Marvell native PCIe to NAND flash controller platform, allowing for completely scalable performance and redundancy while eliminating the need for a separate storage controller, thus reducing the cost to deploy high performance solid state storage systems in the data center.

The native PCIe Z-Drive R5 offers an intelligent, hardware-meets-software managed solution designed to dramatically accelerate database, enterprise, and virtualization applications. Combining high-performance architecture with OCZ managed software, the Z-Drive R5 provides second-to-none performance, flexibility, durability, and enhanced reliability features, allowing datacenters to rely on a PCIe-based SSD as their primary Tier 0/1 storage solution and a viable end-to-end SAN replacement.

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The Z-Drive R5 is ideal for demanding computing environments and features:

  • Incredible bandwidth capabilities and maximum transactional performance
  • High capacities up to 12TB
  • Ideal for all enterprise data types with both compressible and non-compressible files as well as large data sets
  • Complete storage subsystem management with OCZ Virtualized Controller Architecture 3.0 software functions
  • Compatible with VMware ESXi and ESX, Linux, Windows Server 2008, and OS X to support a wide range of systems and servers
  • Complete power fail protection option for maximum data integrity
  • Full height and half height sizes, ideal for space constrained 1U servers and multi-node rackmount servers - MLC, eMLC, and SLC NAND Flash options

"We are continually pushing the envelope to deliver innovative PCIe SSDs to address challenges that our clients face when processing and managing ever growing amounts of complex data sets," said Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ Technology. "The Z-Drive R5, leverages the powerful Kilimanjaro platform to deliver superior performance, greater capacity, and an enhanced hardware and software feature-set that is unmatched in the industry. This best-of-breed next generation native solution enables clients to eliminate I/O bottlenecks for even the most data intensive server and enterprise storage applications."

"Marvell is excited to work with OCZ on this native PCIe to NAND flash controller platform, based on our 88NV9145 silicon," said Alan Armstrong, vice president of Marketing for the Storage Business Group at Marvell Semiconductor, Inc. "We believe the PCIe SSD market will rapidly shift to a native PCIe to NAND architecture, and the Kilimanjaro platform represents OCZ and Marvell's strong collaboration in bringing this highly scalable architecture to market."

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

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

Velocity Micro Announces Products To Be Shown At CES

Subject: General Tech, Storage, Mobile | January 5, 2012 - 08:18 PM |
Tagged: CES, velocity micro, usb, storage, projector, peripheral, CES 2012

Velocity Micro, a boutique PC builder just couldn't wait until CES 2012 to show off some of their new products it seems, as a recent web page with some punchy font seeks to get consumers excited about their new tablets, projector, and USB optical/external hard drive combination.

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First off, Velocity Micro plans to debut two Android tablets dubbed the Cruz Tablet T507 and T510. Both tablets run the Android 4.0 mobile operating system, and are powered by Cortex A8 processors running at 1.2 GHz. Further, the tablets feature ARM Mali GPUs at 400 MHz, 8 GB of internal storage, 512 MB of RAM, HDMI out, a front facing camera, flash support, and access to the Amazon Appstore. The differences between the T507 and T510 tablets lie in the screen size and lack of rear camera on the T510. The T507 tablet has a 7" capacitive touch screen and has an MSRP of $150 (according to Engadget) while the T510 has a 9.7" capacitive touch screen.

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Next up is an external USB hard drive that also features an optical drive and USB hub. Dubbed the VMUltra Drive, the all in one external drive has a DVD-R/RW optical drive, 500 GB 2.5" SATA Hard Drive, SD Card Reader, and 3 USB 2.0 Ports. Pretty nifty, and if the price is right I may be interested in this myself for my work laptop that lacks optical drive and is running low on storage space (heh).

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Lastly, Velocity Micro is going to debut the Shine Projector. Supporting an "HD" resolution of 1280x768 pixels, the Shine weighs in at 9 ounces. It features a 300 Lumens (160 ANSI Lumens) brightness, 2,000:1 contrast ratio, a one year warranty, and a mini-HDMI input. Also, it's a glossy Ferrari red, sporty.

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more CES Pre-CES coverage!

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

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

Three new drives from Corsair, a pair of SandForce and a single Marvell

Subject: Storage | January 2, 2012 - 03:12 PM |
Tagged: corsair, Force GT, Performance Pro, sata 6Gbs, ssd, SF-2281 controller, synchronous NAND

When dealing with data that can be compressed there is nothing like the SandForce controller to get the job done.  Corsair went with the SF-2281 controller for both their 180GB and 240GB Force  GT SSDs, but they chose a Marvell controller for the 256GB Performance Pro model.  The difference in controllers shows up in Legit Reviews benchmarking, with tests involving compressible data putting the Sandforce drives well in the lead but with the Performance Pro drive providing much more consistent results and leading in real world applications.  Read on to see if your budget and storage desires can be met by one of Corsair's new SSDs.

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"So, what have we learned from this little round up? First off, you can't go wrong with any of the drives here. All feature very fast SATA III performance and come with a standard three year warranty. The Force GT drives promise read and write specifications of up to 555MB/s reads and 525MB/s writes. This is something we observed on the ATTO benchmark where highly compressible data was used. On other benchmarks, the scores were a fair bit lower as the SandForce controllers rely on real time compression of data to optimize performance and the referenced benchmarks used already compressed data. The 240GB fared a little better than the 180GB drive as higher density NAND tends to be a little faster along with slightly different architecture..."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

HDD Warranties Slashed By More Than Half - But Why?

Subject: Storage | December 30, 2011 - 09:45 AM |
Tagged: western digital, wdc, Warranty, Seagate, hitachi, hdd

It's been a few short months since Thailand saw some serious flood damage. The flooding had a huge impact on everything from Automobile production to the making of fiber optic cables. The largest impact to the computer industry was that of storage devices. While flash memory fabs were spared, makers of HDD components were hit hard.

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Hitachi plant in Thailand, partially submerged.

This effect quickly trickled down to the HDD quickly spiking prices by nearly 200% by Halloween. Inventories remained at critically low levels for a 60-day window - long enough to have far reaching impact on the PC industry as a whole. With a key component missing from PC production chains, the effects caused dips in demand from the PC suppliers, eventually trickling back up the chain to other component makers. Intel was forced to scale back their chip production. The industry finally saw a reprieve just a few weeks ago, as HDD production recovered sufficiently as to begin the slow replenishment process, and it started to look like everything would be ok.

...and then the other shoe dropped.

Right as HDD Suppliers started catching up on supply, Western Digital made a surprising announcement. Starting on January 2nd of next year, most of their drive lines will see a drastic reduction to warranty periods. Caviar Blue, Caviar Green, and Scorpio Blue drives see a 50% drop from 3 to 2 years. Seagate quickly jumped on the bandwagon, cutting the 5-year warranties of several of their lines down to three. Even worse, the Baracuda, Baracuda Green, and Momentus (laptop) drives will be cut from five all the way down to 1-year warranties. Seagate's reductions go into effect December 31, 2011.

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The Momentus XT, while technically a Hybrid SSD/HDD, was not spared in the warranty cuts.

This isn't the first time warranties saw an across-the-board cut in duration. Back in 2002, Western Digital and Seagate (as well as Maxtor - since acquired by Seagate), jointly cut their warranties back to just one year. The reasoning back then was claimed to be strictly business, and that it was done to be in-line with the 1-year warranty provided by PC OEM's, but was that the only reason? We would need a bunch of data on HDD failure rates to know for sure...

Continue reading our post about the lowered HDD warranties for more thoughts and analysis!!

Source: The Register

Seagate Completes Acquisition of Samsung’s Hard Disk Drive Business

Subject: General Tech, Storage | December 20, 2011 - 02:52 PM |
Tagged: Seagate, Samsung, sale, partnership, hdd

Back in April of this year we heard that Samsung was going to spin off its HDD department, handing the entire compliment of staff, equipment and trademarked names to Seagate for about $1.4 billion USD total.  Today that sale is complete as Seagate announced the final approval of the acquisition.  This means very little for the consumer over the next 12 months, and not just because of the lack of available HDDs.  Samsung's branding will remain on their HDD lines for the next year and as the entire Samsung team and facilities came with the rights to the products the design and assembly teams will be the same as when they were owned by Samsung.  

Fans of Samsung notebooks and other PCs will also be unaffected as those products tended to utilize Seagate HDDs already, as the two companies have had a long and tight partnership.  After a year we may see many of the Samsung lines disappear as they are folded into pre-existing Seagate product families, though it seems reasonable to hope that the new products will represent the both of best worlds.

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CUPERTINO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Seagate Technology plc (NASDAQ:STX), a world leader in hard disk drives and storage solutions, today announced the closing of the transaction to acquire the hard disk drive (HDD) business of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a world leader in digital consumer electronics and information technology.

Under the terms of the transaction, Seagate has gained select elements of Samsung’s HDD business, including assets, infrastructure and employees that enable Seagate to drive scale and innovation. These assets include Samsung’s leading M8 product line of high-capacity, 2.5-inch HDDs. Samsung employees joining Seagate include a number of senior managers and design-engineering employees from Samsung's Korea facility, who will focus on development of small form-factor products for the mobile compute market. N.Y. Park, senior vice president and general manager, will oversee Seagate’s product development activities in Korea and serve as country manager of the Korea design center, reporting to Bob Whitmore, Seagate’s executive vice president and CTO.

“Together, Seagate and Samsung have aligned our current and future product development efforts and roadmaps in order to accelerate time-to-market efficiency for new products and position us to better address the increasing demands for storage,” said Steve Luczo, Seagate chairman, president and CEO. “It is an exciting time in the industry with rapidly evolving opportunities in many markets including mobile computing, cloud computing, and solid state storage.”

This transaction was announced in April 2011 along with a series of other agreements between Seagate and Samsung. Seagate is supplying disk drives to Samsung for PCs, notebooks and consumer electronics devices. Samsung is supplying its market-leading semiconductor products for use in Seagate’s enterprise solid state drives (SSDs), solid-state hybrid drives and other products. The companies have also extended and enhanced their existing patent cross-license agreement and have expanded cooperation to co-develop enterprise storage solutions.

“The strategic relationship will open new opportunities for the two companies by mutually complementing each other’s creative technology solutions for a broad diversity of IT applications,” said Oh-Hyun Kwon, vice chairman of Device Solutions of Samsung Electronics.

The transactions and agreements substantially expand Seagate’s customer access in China, Southeast Asia, Brazil, Germany and the Russian Federation. Seagate and Samsung also have been working together to ensure that customers continue to receive a high level of service, support and innovation, including activities to align the two companies’ supply bases and delivery infrastructure. To ease the transition of products and technologies, Seagate will retain certain Samsung HDD products under the Samsung brand name for 12 months, and maintain or establish a number of independent operations including sales staff, key production lines and R&D. Customers can find more information at www.seagate.com/samsung.

The combined value of these transactions and agreements is approximately US $1.4 billion, consisting of 45,239,490 Seagate Ordinary Shares and the remaining balance settled in cash. In addition, Samsung will designate a nominee to join Seagate’s Board of Directors.

Seagate does not presently expect significant restructuring costs and expects to achieve considerable reductions in overall operating expenses for the combined business while minimizing the integration costs. As previously stated, Seagate expects that the transactions and agreements will be meaningfully accretive to non-GAAP diluted earnings per share and cash flow in the first full year following the closing. Seagate will provide additional financial information for the combined company on its fiscal second quarter conference call in late January.

Source: Seagate

SSD and HDD Price Analysis: End of Shortage In Sight?

Subject: Storage | December 18, 2011 - 11:20 AM |
Tagged: WD, thailand, ssd, Seagate, hdd, Hard Drive, flooding

The hard drive industry might be recovering more quickly than expected and the entire tech field should be hoping that is the case.  We have been covering the unfortunate disaster in Thailand and the accompanying disruption in the world of storage since things first started hitting the fan in October.  The initial result was a very dramatic price increase on traditional spinning disks - prices going up as much as 200% in some cases.  This week we got our hands on some very interesting data from Dynamite Data, a company focused on channel monitoring, that they were willing to let us share with you.

First, the bad news that we already know about - the price increases we have seen percolate throughout the entire industry in the last two months.

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This graph shows the average price of the top 50 spinning disk drives over the last year in red and the very specific Western Digital Velociraptor 150GB pricing on Amazon.com in blue.  You can see that around October 16th the big price increase began and over the entire ecommerce span that Dynamite Data monitors, prices on the top 50 HDDs went up by 42%.  And while not shown in the graph, other provided data shows that at its peak the low-cost leaders in the HDD market increased their prices by 150% as of early December.

Why did this happen?  Looking at inventory levels clearly shows the drop in availability.

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Based on those same top 50 SKUs, we saw ecommerce inventory drop by 90% in late October (in less than one week!) after the first impact on the supply chain that occurred on October 8th. What is interesting is that it took a week or more for the price changes to take place based on the analysis of the disaster in Thailand.  Much to the dismay of many of the conspiracy theorists out there though this data definitely backs up the price increases from WD, Seagate and others. 

There is an uplifting bit of news in both of the above the graphs though - look towards the end of the time lines of gathered data.  Both show movement in the direction of consumer's interests: a jump in inventory and a drop in average pricing.  WD announced on November 30th that the first of its production facilities was back online and we are already seeing results.  Of course the CEO of Seagate is still claiming that it will take more than a year for the industry to recover but it looks like supply may increase at a quicker rate than initially expected. 

Finally, just for a bit of added bonus coverage, many have wondered if the price increase on traditional spinning drives would affect the pricing of SSDs.  Well, it looks like did at least for a 10 day span.

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Over the last year prices for solid state drives have dropped by 23% on the top 50 devices available with one minor hiccup.  In a 10 day period between the end of October and early November, there was an SSD price increase that isn't explainable by any kind of inventory changes or supply line changes.  This was likely due to the HDD shortage and vendors looking to maximize profits when consumers didn't have access to the low cost hard drives they were used to.  But because the price increase lasted such a short time I think we can clearly see that customers didn't fall for the ploy and the hiccup was quickly self-corrected.

Even though we have been monitoring prices on our own since the Thailand disaster first occurred, it is great to get some hard data to put alongside our presumptions.  While there is tons of bad news still to digest for at least the first two quarters of 2012, the information provided by Dynamite Data provides some hope that the worst is behind us.  If you are interested in more analysis of this data and you will be at CES in January, you should stop by the Storage Visions conference where there will be a short talk on the topic. 

Intel Scales Back Sales Outlook Due To Hard Drive Shortage

Subject: Storage | December 13, 2011 - 03:54 PM |
Tagged: thailand, supply shortage, Intel, Hard Drive, amd

Due to the recent flooding in Thailand, many hard drive and hard drive part manufacturers have had to close down business to conduct repairs. Many technology news sites and enthusiasts speculated that the drive shortages from lost production time would drive the price of hard drives up dramatically as well as decreasing computer sales. The price of drives has indeed skyrocketed; however, it seems as though the fallout on the industry is a bit more widespread that originally thought.

Specifically, the hard drive shortage has even managed to effect semiconductor giant Intel. According to Market Watch, Intel Corp announced that it would be scaling back their sales outlook for the fourth quarter of 2011. While it’s previous sales outlook was an estimated $14.7 billion “plus or minus $500 million,” the company’s revised estimate is @13.7 Billion, with a +/- margin of $500 million. The 1 billion USD reduction may not seem like much for Intel; however, their stockholders have taken note and their shares are down 4 % to a closing price of $24 on Monday (and $23.56 at time of writing). As far as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the decline represents “one of the top decliners.”

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The semiconductor giant is not the only company affected by the drive shortage, however. Arch nemesis AMD’s stock price down 4.3 % for example. The site also cites Applied Materials’ 6.1 % decline. The companies that many assumed would be affected by the hard drive supply shortage included PC OEMs such as Dell and HP whose stock prices have dropped 2.3 % and 1.6 % respectably. Western Digital has begun to spin up production in the area again; however, it is likely too late for the various companies to recover. The article analyst speculates that Intel will continue playing catch-up into the first quarter of next year, and will recover starting in Q2 2012.

The numbers are showing a decline in many technology company’s stock prices likely due to lower than projected profits. It is interesting to see that even Intel felt the waves caused by the shortage. Did you find yourself second guessing computer or hard drive purchases due to increased prices?

Source: Market Watch

OCZ Technology Petrol SATA 6Gbps SSDs Reduce SSD Deployment Costs by Thirty Percent

Subject: Storage | December 13, 2011 - 01:02 PM |
Tagged: ssd, sata 6Gbs, petrol, ocz

SAN JOSE, CA - Dec. 13, 2011 - OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs), today launched the Indilinx Everest-based Petrol SSD Series. The Petrol Series enables further adoption of SSDs in cost-sensitive applications, while taking advantage of real world performance and complete feature set of the Indilinx Everest platform.

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"Until today, SSD adoption has been limited to high performance applications due to the high cost of SSDs in relation to slower rotating discs, and we are proud to once again close the gap in pricing without sacrificing durability," said Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ Technology. "The new Petrol Series showcases the flexibility of the Indilinx Everest platform and NDurance™ Technology, allowing OCZ to deliver the benefits of SSDs to a wide new set of applications while retaining the superior real world performance and reduced latency that separate Everest-based SSDs from our competitors."

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The OCZ Petrol Series delivers bandwidth up to 400MB/s and 35,000 IOPS, and is optimized for the complete spectrum of file types and sizes. Additionally, advanced features unique to Indilinx, such as proprietary page mapping algorithms, allow for steady mixed-workload performance, and innovative latency reduction technology enables superior access times as low as 0.06ms. Petrol ensures the most consistent and reliable performance as well as minimized performance degradation even after the drive's storage capacity is highly utilized.

The OCZ Petrol SSD Series will be available in models ranging from 64GB-512GB capacities throughout OCZ's global channel in the coming weeks.

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High Octane drives from OCZ

Subject: Storage | December 12, 2011 - 02:14 PM |
Tagged: ocz, Octane, Octane 512GB, Indilinx Everest, Indilinx Barefoot, ssd, sata 6Gbs

As has been covered on the front page before, OCZ is making their new Octane lineup of SSDs a little confusing for the enthusiast.  If you are not careful you can end up with the non-SATA 6Gbs S2 model.  The new Octane series does offer an advantage to those using non-compressible data, the Indilinx controller does not do the same compression technique which SandForce uses which will make the performance of this drive consistent regardless of the data being manipulated.  As you might expect Legit Reviews testing does see the top speeds of the new Octane lagging behind SandForce based drives in some cases but the overall performance is neck and neck with Intel as they also do not compress data.  Check out the full review to see a return to Indilinx and a renewal of competition for SandForce controllers.

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"It's interesting to see how OCZ is marketing these Octane new Solid State Drives. They are 'Indilinx infused' vesrus 'SandForce driven'. Indilinx drives have nDurance technology while SandForce has DuraClass technology. I can't help but be reminded of the movie Coming To America where Cleo McDowell comments on his feud with McDonald's: "Look... me and the McDonald's people got this little misunderstanding. See, they're McDonald's... I'm McDowell's. They got the Golden Arches, mine is the Golden Arcs. They got the Big Mac, I got the Big Mick. We both got two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions, but their buns have sesame seeds. My buns have no seeds..."

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