Careful which model of OCZ Octane you pick up

Subject: Storage | December 6, 2011 - 02:47 PM |
Tagged: Octane, ssd, sata 6Gps, ocz, Octane 512GB, Indilinx Everest

If you are looking at OCZ SSDs and are considering the Octane line, please bear in mind that the S2 model which is selling for less than the non-S2 model is a SATA 3Gbp/s drive not a new 6Gb/s capable drive.  The testing done at The Tech Report was on the 6Gbp/s model and they compared this Indilinx Everest powered SSD against a variety of competing SSDs.  The drive comes with a 3 year warranty and comes in 128GB, 256GB, the 512GB model The Tech Report reviewed as well as a 1TB model which will cost a pretty penny.  If you do choose a smaller drive, remember that the reduced channel count will make the drive perform more slowly than the larger models.

TTR_OCZ_Oct.jpg

"OCZ bought SSD controller maker Indilinx earlier this year, and the first product of that acquisition is now out. Join us for a look at the Octane SSD and its new Everest controller."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

Third time is the charm? Seagate releases the third generation of their hybrid drive

Subject: Storage | November 29, 2011 - 06:19 PM |
Tagged: hybrid, momentus XT, hdd, ssd, Seagate, sata 6Gbs

Over the past few years Seagate has been trying to perfect a way to get the best of both storage worlds by combining an SSD as a semi-permanent cache for a large platter based hard drive.  The new Seagate Momentus XT is the third generation of this series, a 750GB HDD with a 8GB SLC SSD available to cache frequently used files and are calling it FAST (Flash-Assisted Storage Technology).  Legit Reviews investigated their performance claims, after repeatedly using the drive to fill the cache as this drive will perform exactly like the platter based drive it is until that cache has moved frequently accessed or slow to load files into the flash memory.  It did seem to reduce boot times and program loading to almost SSD levels, though it does not effect infrequently used programs.  It was significantly less expensive than an SSD so if you tend to do similar tasks on your PC every day and need the large storage space this drive might just be for you.

LR_seagate-slide.jpg

"Overall, we'd certainly recommend the Momentus XT and frankly wouldn't go back to a plain old hard drive unless we were forced to. The expediency of boot and application load times are something that, once you get used to it, you can't seem to live without. Keep in mind that it may take two or three times for the Adaptive Memory Technology to decide that it should be cached and speed things up. On the down side, every operation is not SSD fast, especially if you're performing it for the first time..."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

OCZ Technology Launches Talos 2 Enterprise SAS 6G Solid State Drive

Subject: Storage | November 29, 2011 - 11:52 AM |
Tagged: ocz, talos 2, enterprise, ssd, sata 6Gbs

SAN JOSE, CA – November 29, 2011 - OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, announces the Talos 2 Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) SSD Series, the follow-up to the high performance, high capacity Talos Series previously available only in a 3.5 inch form factor.

With capacities up to 1TB now available in a compact 2.5-inch form factor, Talos 2 offers increased I/O performance and scalability in enterprise storage environments. Talos 2 leverages OCZ Virtualized Controller Architecture 2.0 technology which implements an intelligent complex command queuing structure with unique queue balancing algorithms to provide exceptional performance. Talos 2 SSDs deliver superior random transactional performance at up to 70,000 4K IOPS and features improved mixed workload (75% read; 25% write) performance with up to 42,000 8K IOPS.

OCZ_Talos.jpg

You can bet these SSDs will not be the least expensive per gigabyte on the market

Unlike many SAS SSDs, the Talos Series is dual-ported to offer superior data integrity and increased performance, along with delivering a robust enterprise feature-set including DataWrite Assurance Protection in case of sudden power loss. Talos 2 also includes the option to enable T10-DIF (Data Integrity Field), allowing for the insertion of 8 bytes of additional data during transfers to ensure complete data integrity.

“The Talos 2 SAS solid state drives expand on the original series by offering enterprise customers superior performance, reliability, and density all in a compact footprint,” said Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ technology Group. “The Talos 2 enterprise SSDs are optimized for the most demanding storage systems and provide clients with an easy to deploy solution that vastly improves application performance over traditional SAS based HDDs.”

To address the complete spectrum of applications, Talos 2 SSDs are available in 100GB to 1TB capacities, in MLC, eMLC, and SLC NAND configurations. OCZ is now sampling Talos 2 to strategic customers and the drives will be made available to SMB and enterprise clients through OCZ's global business-to-business channel.

OCZ's new Indilinx powered Octane SSD

Subject: Storage | November 24, 2011 - 05:57 PM |
Tagged: ssd, sata 6Gbs, sata, ocz, Octane, Indilinx, everest

OCZ's new Octane SATA 3 SSDs will be available in sizes up to 1TB, though you can expect to pay a pretty penny for it; not that a 1TB HDD is inexpensive right now.  It uses a pair of new Indilinx controllers and sports 512MB of SYNC DDR3 SDRAM to help those controllers work to peak effectiveness.  It uses OCZ's proprietary NDurance technology to add to the longevity of the drive, a topic near and dear to the SSD enthusiasts heart even if we have yet to see significant failure rates; though certainly the decrease in performance early SSDs showed is both a concern and very much real.  SSD Review had no qualms handing it a Top Value award at the end of their review.

You can also catch Al's review of this same drive at the top of our page.

SSDR_PCBFront4.jpg

"Our review today will be a long awaited look at the OCZ Octane 6Gbps 512GB SSD. Eight months ago, OCZ bought Indilinx with full intention of spreading their wings in the development of their own proprietary controller based on the Indlinx Everest design. OCZ has spoken of higher incompressible data performance, quicker disk access as well as better sustained write performance in a consumer driven SSD that will be immediately available in capacities up to 1TB."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

Source: SSD Review

OCZ Octane 512GB SSD Sneak Peek - Indilinx Has Returned

Subject: Storage | November 22, 2011 - 01:00 PM |
Tagged: ssd, ocz, Octane

A few months back, OCZ acquired Indilinx. Ever since, we've been wondering if the next generation Indilinx offering could stand up to the competition, who has made leaps and bounds since the first generation SSD controllers were released.

It appears that wait is over, well mostly at least. While OCZ's new Octane series does not officially launch until tomorrow, we've been authorized to give our readers a sneak peek:

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From our peek inside we were able to derive that OCZ is using IMFT Synchronous flash memory - the same present in OCZ's Vertex line. There's also a lot of it - our sample is the first 512GB 2.5" SSD being tested in our labs.

...and for those curious on performance, I've also been allowed to sneak a bench out to you. If you're only able to speak about an SSD with a single benchmark, ATTO is probably the way to go:

ocz octane - atto-4.png

Pushing 350 MB/sec writes and 540 MB/sec reads, with very good IOPS performance at 4K (roughly 45k write IOPS).

This new offering from Indilinx/OCZ is looking very good so far. More to follow once the OCZ Octane officially launches tomorrow!

Note: It appears OCZ's Octane product page is live. Hit the link below to check it out.

Silicon Power hits the SSD market

Subject: Storage | November 21, 2011 - 01:03 PM |
Tagged: silicon power, Velox Series V30, ssd, Sandforce SF2281, sata 6Gps

Silicon Power have extended their lineup in a logical manner, with their familiarity with flash based storage it makes sense for them to move into SSDs.  They've chosen proven parts, the SandForce SF2281 is a familiar SATA 6Gb/s controller as are the Intel branded flash chips that make up the 60GB of storage.  As you would expect, similar components produce similar results, but since each manufacturer introduces some differences as do the parts inside the benchmarks for each SSD are slightly different but price remains the factor which most heavily impacts choice.  If you are shopping for an SSD you should check Think Computers review of a drive from a brand you may not have previously considered.

TC_SPV30.jpg

"Silicon Power is not a name you really think about when you think about solid state drives. If you did not know Silicon Power was founded in 2003 and they mainly specialize in memory products. Today we are going to take a look at one of their first SATA 6GB/s drives the Velox Series V30. This drive is powered by the SandForce SF-2281 controller and boast speeds of 550MB/s read and 500MB/s write. Let’s check it out!"

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

Seagate says hard drive industry will take a year to recover

Subject: Storage | November 19, 2011 - 04:25 PM |
Tagged: thailand, Seagate, Hard Drive, flooding

Last month we noticed that hard drive prices were spiking very high and we took a quick look at exactly why this was: most notably, the devastating flooding in Thailand.  While at one point you could buy 2TB hard drives for under the $100 mark when on special, those days seem long gone.  Our original story quoted the CEO of Western Digital as saying it could take "multiple quarters" for recovery to occur.

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Pricing graph from Pricegrabber.com for Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB

According to this quote seen on Bloomberg, Seagate's CEO, Stephen Luczo, says it might be much worse:

The projections by some Wall Street analysts that production will be back to pre-flood levels by summer are nonsense, Luczo says.

“This is going to take a lot longer than people are assuming, until the end of 2012 at least,” he says. “And by then, demand will have gone up.”

Well....crap.  Users looking to build new systems or even buy them from third parties will likely see increases in costs because of this.  And while not every need can really be addressed by SSDs (I type while looking for room on a system using one to install Skyrim...), the hard drive price increases could drive quicker adoption of solid state media in the near term. 

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In the interim, if you happen to find a good deal on spindle based hard drives, you might want to gobble them up!  Newegg has 2TB hard drives starting at $199 while Amazon has some starting at $174.

Source: Bloomberg

Podcast #179 - Sandy Bridge-E Review, X79 Motherboards, a new NAS device from Western Digital, Aquarium PCs and more!

Subject: Editorial | November 17, 2011 - 04:17 PM |
Tagged: x79, western digital, storage, sandy bridge-e, podcast, nvidia, NAS, Intel, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #179 - 11/17/2011

Join us this week as we talk about our Sandy Bridge-E Review, X79 Motherboards, a new NAS device from Western Digital, Aquarium PCs and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Allyn Malvantano

Program length: 1:14:31

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:24 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. 0:02:00 Intel Sandy Bridge-E Review - Core i7-3960X and X79 Chipset Tested
    1. Sandy Bridge-E Prices Leaked In Company Bulletin
  6. 0:27:45 X79 Motherboard Roundup Video Preview
    1. ASUS
    2. Gigabyte
    3. MSI
  7. 0:28:53 Alienware M17x (R3) Gaming Notebook Review: It Glows!
  8. 0:30:25 Thermaltake Toughpower Grand 1200W Power Supply Review
  9. 0:31:20 NVIDIA Reports Q3 2012 Results
  10. 0:39:15 Western Digital launches Sentinel Series of NAS devices, bringing enterprise features to the small business.
  11. 0:46:20 The mineral oil in this Aquarium will be hard on the fish but not your components
  12. 0:53:45 Antec Announces P280 Enclosure
  13. 0:54:50 Win a Free Copy of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim from PC Perspective
    1. You missed it, but Jared H. didn't!
  14. 0:56:15 Bulldozers at Knights Corner; duelling server chips
  15. 0:59:45 More Free Stuff Friday: XFX Radeon HD 6870 and Deus Ex: Human Revolution
  16. 1:00:12 The Intel 32 in 32 Challenge on Facebook
  17. 1:01:22 Free Stuff Wednesday: Gigabyte G1 Assassin X58 Motherboard Giveaway!!
  18. 1:02:15 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Random.org - finally get an answer to "where should we eat tonight?"
    2. Jeremy: Buckets are teh win but to be more useful Disconnect for Chrome is a nice choice
    3. Josh: Fast 120GB SSD for $140
    4. Allyn: Ironkey - now available in MLC
  19. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  20. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  21. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  22. Closing

Kingston Digital Launches its Fastest USB Flash Drive

Subject: Storage | November 17, 2011 - 12:40 PM |
Tagged: usb 2.0, usb 3.0, kingston, hyperx, flash

Fountain Valley, CA -- November 17, 2011 -- Kingston Digital, Inc., the Flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., the independent world leader in memory products, today announced the Kingston DataTraveler HyperX 3.0. The DataTraveler HyperX 3.0 is designed for enthusiasts and gamers, and features the fastest speeds and largest capacities that Kingston has to offer in a USB Flash drive.

Flash11b.jpg

Its high-speed eight-channel architecture provides USB 3.0 data transfer rates of up to 225MB/s read and 135MB/s write. Users can save time associated with opening, editing and copying large files and applications between devices. The fast write speeds also allow users to work on large files or applications directly from the USB 3.0 drive without performance lag.

"Enthusiasts have long known HyperX as the memory of choice for overclockers and power users who need the most performance from system memory," said Andrew Ewing, Flash memory business manager, Kingston. "The new DataTraveler HyperX 3.0 USB Flash drive continues this tradition. With the fastest speeds and largest capacity, this storage device is the perfect solution for users who require high performance and carry a lot of data."

The DataTraveler HyperX 3.0 is available in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB capacities. The 256GB capacity can store approximately 10 Blu-ray Discs (25GB each), 54 DVDs (4.7GB each), 48,640 MP3s (4MB each) or 13,473,684 Microsoft Word files pages with various formatting and basic graphics.

With a durable and sleek design, the Kingston DataTraveler HyperX 3.0 is a terrific portable storage solution for gamers, enthusiasts, early adopters and high-end consumers who require the best performance and highest capacities to carry their digital library. Faster speeds and higher capacities enable users to quickly store their digital files and keep it with them at all times, in HyperX style.

DataTraveler HyperX 3.0 features a metal and rubberized casing with a reinforced key ring hole for daily use. It allows users to keep it with them at all times, as it can be easily attached to a key ring or lanyard.

A video of the device can be found here.

DataTraveler HyperX 3.0 is backed by a five-year warranty, 24/7 tech support and legendary Kingston reliability. For more information visit www.kingston.com.

Kingston DataTraveler HyperX 3.0 Features and Specifications:

  • Capacities: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
  • Speed:
    • USB 3.0: up to 225MB/s read and 135MB/s write
    • USB 2.0: up to 30 MB/s read/write
  • 8-Channel Architecture Backwards Compatible: with USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 ports
  • Solid/rugged design: durable metal and rubberized casing provides increased protection
  • ReadyBoost Support
  • Dimensions: 2.952" x 0.916" x 0.626" (74.99mm x 23.29mm x 15.9mm)
  • Operating Temperature: 32°F to 140°F (0°C to 60°C)
  • Storage Temperature: -4°F to 185°F (-20°C to 85°C)
  • Simple: just plug into any USB port
  • Practical: durable casing with a solid lanyard loop
  • Warranty: 5 Years

Flash11c.jpg

Western Digital launches Sentinel Series of NAS devices, bringing enterprise features to the small business.

Subject: Storage | November 15, 2011 - 08:08 AM |
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, NAS, home, hdd

 Today Western Digital launches their Sentinel line of NAS devices. These Intel Atom powered devices can store up to 12TB when equipped with 3TB drives. The OS of choice is Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials, which supports RAID levels 1 and 5, as well as built in backup routines and the ability to configure the devices dual Gigabit ports with Adaptive Fault Tolerance (redundancy).

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Also available are some interesting yet agressive service options via Western Digital's Guardian Services, which include options for next-day warranty replacement of defective or failed parts, as well as the option to extend the warranty period from three to five years.

Pricing starts at $949.99 for 4TB (3 bay) and $1449.99 for 8TB (4 bay).

Following is the press release, and even more detail and pics should be available from WD themselves once their product link page goes live.

WD® DELIVERS NEW LINE OF NETWORK STORAGE SERVERS FOR SMALL TO MEDIUM BUSINESSES

WD Sentinel™ DX4000 Small Office Storage Server Combines Centralized Storage, Backup-and-Restore Protection for 25 Network Devices and Allows SMBs to Connect, Protect, and Collaborate

IRVINE, Calif. – Nov. 15, 2011 – Western Digital® (NYSE: WDC), the world’s leader in digital storage solutions, is introducing WD Sentinel™ DX4000 (photo), a complete network storage solution designed specifically to meet the demands of today's small-to-medium sized businesses (SMBs). WD Sentinel DX4000 includes the Windows® Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials operating system software and the Intel® D525 Dual Core Atom CPU. The WD Sentinel DX4000 is centralized shared storage and automatic server-based backup and restore for up to 25 devices (PC and Mac®) in the network. It offers complete data protection with built-in hardware and software redundancy for all of the connected devices in the network. With capacities including 4 TB and 8 TB, WD Sentinel DX4000 lets small business owners expand small office server storage capacity as their business and storage demands grow. In addition, the WD Sentinel DX4000 small office storage server acts as the “on-premise cloud storage" for the SMB.

“The WD Sentinel small office storage server is the ideal storage, backup, and secure remote access solution for any SMB,” said Thomas Gallivan, vice president of marketing for WD’s SMB Solutions Group.

WD® Introduces New Line of Network Storage Servers for Small to Medium Businesses

“The ability to have centralized storage that is both on-premise and offers secure remote access provides a small business owner and employees the flexibility needed for today’s mobile lifestyle. WD is providing small business owners with a hands-free solution that offers complete data protection and unparalleled peace-of-mind.”

“The requirement for collaboration across multiple devices and locations necessitates the need for a centralized storage solution in today’s SMB environment”, said David Tuhy, General Manager, Intel Data Center and Connected Systems Group. “Intel is working closely with the industry and companies like Western Digital to provide the technology that is at the core of these storage solutions and provide SMBs a platform to manage, organize and secure their data to ensure business continuity.”

“Built on Windows Storage Server, WD Sentinel gives small business customers the storage and file services capabilities of Windows Server, as well as a solution aimed specifically at the SMB segment,” said Thomas Pfenning, general manager, Storage, at Microsoft. “We are pleased to see WD Sentinel serve our mutual customers.”

Whether they’re personal or professional, digital content and important files are invaluable and often irreplaceable if lost or compromised. WD Sentinel small office storage server provides several ways for businesses to protect their information without user intervention. WD Sentinel comes preconfigured with enterprise-class drives, RAID storage protection, built-in server based backup and recovery software, redundant networking ports and a redundant power option. In addition, WD Sentinel offers users the ability to connect to a “public cloud” storage provider, which offers small businesses an economical and integrated disaster recovery solution against earthquake, theft and fire or water damage.

Software included with WD Sentinel provides business owners and their employees the freedom and flexibility to remotely access files and share files with external employees, independent consultants and satellite offices anywhere in the world.

Five Levels of Data Protection

WD Sentinel DX4000 provides five levels of data protection for every device on the small office network and is supported by WD Guardian Services.

WD® Introduces New Line of Network Storage Servers for Small to Medium Businesses

1. The Drives Inside: Pre-configured with WD’s award-winning enterprise-class drives for durability and reliability.

2. RAID: Featuring levels 1 and 5 for data protection and speed.

3. Daily Backup: Automatic backup and recovery software provides daily full system back ups for up to 25 devices on your network. Simply set it and forget it.

4. Redundant Network Connectivity: Dual Gigabit Ethernet configured in Adaptive Fault Tolerance (AFT) automatically switches to second network port in the event of a network failure.

5. Optional Disaster Recovery Protection: Connect to the small business cloud provided by optional disaster recovery software and store your data offsite for disaster recovery.

WD Sentinel is certified to be compatible with a variety of Operating Systems (OS) including Windows XP, Windows Vista®, and Windows 7. In addition, WD Sentinel is compatible with Mac OS X® Leopard® and Snow Leopard® for file sharing among Windows, Mac and Unix/Linux operating systems and allows businesses to share files with clients, consultants, and inter-office personnel regardless of the OS used.

WD Guardian™Services for Small Business

WD Sentinel DX4000 is backed by WD’s world-class customer service and support. All WD Sentinel small business customers will receive free tech support for 30 days from the time of the first call. WD Sentinel customers may wish to upgrade their service plan to one of three options:

1. WD Guardian Express: Offers next-day parts replacement service including shipping and handling costs.

2. WD Guardian Pro: Offers a one year support agreement with WD service, express parts replacement and priority access to technical support.

3. Guardian Extended Care: Service that extends the product warranty from the standard three year warranty to five years.

The OCZ RevoDrive Hybrid, a PCIe SSD with a HDD piggybacking a ride

Subject: Storage | November 10, 2011 - 01:18 PM |
Tagged: revodrive hybrid, PCIe SSD, ocz

If you have $500 and a free PCI-E x4 2.0 slot then OCZ has a rather unique product you could try out.  This new RevoDrive Hybrid is a 100GB PCIe SSD card with a low power 2.5" Toshiba 1TB HDD spinning at 5400RPM.  You could think of it as similar to an Agility 3 120GB, though in this case it is acting as a very large cache for a HDD using OCZ's proprietary Virtualized Controller Architecture 2.0.  Performance-wise this odd looking beast surprised Hardware Canucks, beating the hybrid drive from Seagate as well as the Intel SRT that they tested against, but they caution prospective buyers about some sacrifices that had to be made by OCZ.  These drives are not quite plug and play, they require software to be installed in order to function properly and it turns out that the software is quite CPU intensive.  Read through the article and see if the sacrifices are worth the gains for your system.

HWC_OCZ_RevoDrive_Hybrid_ang.jpg

"Searches for affordable high capacity SSDs usually come up blank so several manufacturers have begun releasing hybrid solutions which combine the performance of an SSD with the storage space of the hard drive. OCZ's RevoDrive Hybrid is the latest to take on this challenge by combining a 100GB SSD with a 2.5" 1TB HDD. This isn't exactly a match made in heaven but the benefits are tangible."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

Good news storage fans, the motors are revving up again

Subject: General Tech, Storage | November 8, 2011 - 10:54 AM |
Tagged: thailand, nidec, hdd

While Western Digital is still nowhere near the point where they can think about cleaning up their factory and getting started on the road to recovery there is good news for other HDD manufacturers from Thailand.  Nidec, a company which provides about 75% of the global supply of motors for HDDs, also has quite a bit of their manufacturing capacity in Thailand, in the neighbourhood of 62% according to DigiTimes.  Two of their Thailand based plants are back in business and they are redistributing quite a bit of workload to their Philippines manufacturing plants, in the hopes of increasing the supply of these critical motors.

Seagate, Fujitsu and other major HDD manufacturers desperately need these parts in order to help meet the demand from the market before we can even think to see prices begin to return to previous levels.  This is not going to be a quick return since Western Digital and its subsidiaries accounted for about 50% of the HDD market and they have much more work to do in order to repair their factories than Nidec.

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"Nidec currently has 10 production bases in Thailand with eight of them have been damaged by the floods. As water started to recede, Nidec announced its Rangsit plants, which stopped operation on October 13, already resumed production on October 25, while Ayutthaya plants also started operating normally on November 4.

Nidec's two plants in Philippine will also see their monthly capacity rise from 15 million units originally to 25 million units with capacity in China plants also increase from 10 million units to 15 million units. However, the total capacity in the fourth quarter will still drop close to 30% from 140 million units in the third."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: DigiTimes

OCZ Technology Introduces the RevoDrive 3 Max IOPS Edition

Subject: Storage | November 7, 2011 - 02:19 PM |
Tagged: ocz, RevoDrive 3, Max IOPS, X2 Max IOPS, PCIe SSD

SAN JOSE, CA - Nov. 7, 2011 - OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, today launched the RevoDrive 3 Max IOPS and RevoDrive 3 X2 Max IOPS solid state drives. Designed to deliver maximum throughput in multithreaded applications, the new Max IOPS edition is an extension of the company's industry-leading RevoDrive 3 product line, supporting workstation users that require greater transactional throughput and bandwidth.

The RevoDrive 3 X2 Max IOPS series combines a proven cutting-edge PCI Express architecture and OCZ proprietary Virtualized Controller Architecture™ (VCA) 2.0 flash virtualization layer with premium NAND flash components to deliver exceptional 4KB random write performance of up to 245,000 IOPS, along with increased transfer rates at 1900MB/s reads and 1725MBs/ writes.

"The new RevoDrive 3 Max IOPS solid state drives further expand on our original PCIe series, and are designed to deliver even more bandwidth for the most demanding applications," said Daryl Lang, VP of Product Management, OCZ Technology Group. "Engineered to leverage the benefits of multi-threaded processors and applications, the Max IOPS provides both the performance and features required by clients to address the most intensive workloads common in high performance computing and workstation environments."

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The RevoDrive 3 Max IOPS edition will be available in 120GB to 480GB capacities while the RevoDrive 3 X2 Max IOPS edition will be available in 240GB to 960GB capacities, providing ample space for primary persistent storage, multimedia files, and operating systems with the superior durability, energy efficiency, and reliability of SSDs. The new RevoDrive 3 Max IOPS and RevoDrive 3 X2 Max IOPS will be available throughout OCZ's global distribution channel and come with a three warranty.

OCZ's new Sandforce SF2281 firmware update tested

Subject: Storage | November 4, 2011 - 02:36 PM |
Tagged: ocz, firmware, Sandforce SF2281

The Tech Report has been investigating the OCZ 2.15 firmware update for their Sandforce SF2281 based SSDs.  The firmware was released to fix several specific issues that users were encountering which caused BSODs or stuttering during normal usage.  The testing was a little odd for The Tech Report, they certainly didn't see any BSODs after flashing to the new firmware, however they never saw any BSODs on their drives previously.  A little investigation showed them a significant decrease in the number of people complaining about BSODs on forums which leads them to believe the firmware update is effective at what it does.  Even better, the firmware has no real negative effect on the drives performance.

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"SandForce SSDs have been dogged by reports of BSODs and other issues, but new firmware promises relief. We take a quick look at OCZ's recent 2.15 firmware update to see how it affects SSD performance and the BSOD bug."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

Check out LSI's Raid cards before the purchase of SandForce

Subject: Storage | October 31, 2011 - 02:55 PM |
Tagged: LSI, 9265-8i MegaRAID, Adaptec 6805, RAID Card, 6gbps

Many readers may have had their first introduction to LSI with the news that they had purchased SandForce and have never encountered their products.  Understandable as the bill the SSD Review had to face in order to test out the card was just short of $50,000, which is far more than even the most devoted enthusiast is going to pay.  In the realms of the server room however, that represents a fairly major investment but certainly within budget for a large upgrade.  The card its self is powered by the LSIISAS2208 dual-core 6Gb/s ROC-x2 800MHz PowerPC processor and can handle eight storage devices out of the box, for real space you will need to pick up an extender which will raise the total possible number of connected drives to 240.  Drop by the SSD Review to see the current leader of speedy reliable RAID cards; nothing even comes close to this monster.

SSDR_LSI.jpg

"The SSD Review has put together a 6Gbps ShowDown that we don't ever think can be matched. Total value of testing equipment exceeds $45,000 US. Top speeds come in at 2.7GB/s performance performance and over 461000 IOPS and we have absolutely pushed two RAID cards and 13 SSDs as far as we think they can be pushed. Grab a seat and buckle up because this is going to be our best ride yet, one you definitely won't be seeing attempted elsewhere anytime soon!"

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

Source: SSD Review

Intel Releases Updated SSD Toolbox

Subject: Storage | October 27, 2011 - 09:19 PM |
Tagged: trim, toolbox, ssd, Intel, 34nm

Intel recently updated it's SSD Toolbox software to version 3.0. The new version has a few under the hood changes; however, the most obvious change is an overhauled interface. If you're not familiar with the Intel SSD Toolbox, it is a small application provided by Intel to manage and diagnose the company's solid state drive lineup. The software includes tools to optimize the SSD using TRIM functionality, estimate drive health, and provide diagnostic scans to verify data integrity. According to the changelog, version 3 builds upon the previous version by adding:

  • A new graphical interface
  • An integrated help and support system
  • Support for additional languages
  • The ability to update firmware on supported Intel SSDs (SSDs in IDE mode and older 50nm drives need not apply).  Users of older SSDs and those running their solid state drives in IDE mode can update their drive firmware by using this Intel Firmware Update tool.
  • Viewing drive health
  • Displaying estimated remaining drive life
  • Viewing and exporting system information

As mentioned above, the first thing you are likely to notice upon starting the software is the new interface.  Intel has kept the blue and white color scheme of the older versions; however, that is where the similarities end.  Fortunately, Intel has not downsized the tools and you are able to do the same actions as the previous iterations; they are just easier to access.  The interface is now made of two panes split horizontally.  On the left are tabs that users click on to navigate to the various tools while the right side of the window is where the action takes place with the selected tool's output being displayed therein.

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The new Intel SSD Toolbox's home page

For a full breakdown of the new interface in the SSD Toolbox including screenshots and a video, follow this link to the full story!!

Source: Intel

Hard Drive Prices Spike on Thailand Flooding

Subject: General Tech, Storage | October 27, 2011 - 04:00 PM |
Tagged: wdc, shortage, Seagate, Samsung, hitachi, hdd, Hard Drive

Chances are good you have heard about the recent flooding in Thailand - as Yahoo puts it: "The country's worst flooding in half a century, caused in part by unusually heavy monsoon rain, has killed 373 people since mid-July and disrupted the lives of nearly 2.5 million."  Obviously this is a horrific disaster and we feel for the people affected by it.

But there is a tech angle to the story that has been showing up in many of our discussions as late and is the impact this disaster has had on the production of spindle-based hard drives.  Looking for a 2TB hard drive today on Newegg.com this is what I found:

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Prices for hard drives have sky rocketed in the last week or so due to the pending shortage of them across the world.  Many of the top manufacturers have facilities based in Thailand for production as well as partners that are responsible for supplying companies like Western Digital, Seagate, Samsung and Hitachi with the parts they need to produce platter-based drives. 

While we used to talk about finding 2TB hard drives in the $89 price range, the best prices we could find on comparable units today start at $129; and this is for the slower units.  Western Digital Caviar Black drives are starting at unit prices of $229 now!

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Pricing graph from Pricegrabber.com for Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB

If you are careful and shop around, you can still find drives like this for the $149 price point at sellers like Amazon are bit slower to update their prices.  (Scratch that, after publication this was already at $199!)  But don't just blindly purchase drives at this point - do your research!

WD drives aren't the only ones affected.  When doing a search for a Seagate 2TB drive, these were our results:

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When asked for comment, a representative of one of the affected manufacturers expressed concern for the people of Thailand first, but when pressed, said:

"The entire hard drive business is affected. Two of our factories are inundated with water, which supports 60% of our output. But a ton of suppliers that the entire industry uses are also flooded so we are all impacted."

While looking over at WD's press center we found this comment from John Coyne, President and CEO:

In mid-October, to protect our employees and our equipment and facilities, we temporarily suspended production at our two factories in Thailand, which have been inundated by floodwater. In addition, many of our component suppliers have been impacted, leaving material for hard drive production considerably constrained. We are working with suppliers to assess the extent of their impact and help devise short- and long-term solutions. This is a complex and dynamic challenge that will require extensive rebuilding for the Thai people and government, and present unprecedented obstacles to the hard drive industry for multiple quarters.

Obviously with a majority of the facilities affected we can only expect these prices hikes to increase and to linger.  That fact that Coyne specifically notes "multiple quarters" indicates that users likely won't see a return to the pricing we were used to until at least mid-2012.  With competition from solid-state drives heating up, this could be bad timing for companies dependent on spindle drives as the driving revenue source: comparing a $300 SSD to a $90 standard drive is a much different decision than that same $300 SSD and a $240 standard drive of high capacity. 

According to this report from Xbit labs, the industry has "two to four weeks" of hard drive inventory available.  The author claims that this points to the situation not being so dire, but with the WD's CEO stating the effects will be seen for "multiple quarters", I am guessing we will see a major buy-up of inventory from system builders like HP and Dell that will cause drive shortages much more quickly than anticipated.  

PC Perspective will keep tracking the effects on driving pricing and if any player in the business has other input they want to offer us.  Stay tuned!

SandForce jumps into bed with LSI, not OCZ

Subject: Storage | October 27, 2011 - 02:57 PM |
Tagged: LSI, sandforce, merger, purchase

LSI, known for their high quality RAID cards here at PC Perspective have just agreed to purchase our favourite designer of  SSD controllers, namely Sandforce.  The deal is for $322 million in cash, with another $48 million of unvested stock options and restricted shares also being picked up.  This deal makes an interesting pair of bedfellows, with Sandforce being well known by consumers but making few inroads into the server room or other corporate markets.  LSI is the opposite, with very few consumers running out and picking up a $700 SAS RAID controller while in the corporate environment they are a common purchase. 

The two markets are very different; consumers want both speed and affordability in a drive and are quite willing to sacrifice a little reliability to that end.  Corporate usage places reliability first, there is no point having incredibly fast storage medium if it is occasionally unreachable and so are willing to pay a high price for that reliability.  This purchase seems to be indicating that SandForce feels that there is a market for their controller in the corporate world, if they can overcome the reliability and MTBF of their SSD drives.  LSI can provide experience with that in spades, their testing methodology is capable of detecting and pinpointing flaws that a consumer would never notice but which a heavily loaded server might.  This might just see SandForce arrive as a controller in a server room near you.  Keep your eyes peeled for more information from Allyn.

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MILPITAS, Calif., October 26, 2011 – LSI Corporation (NYSE: LSI) today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire SandForce, Inc., the leading provider of flash storage processors for enterprise and client flash solutions and solid state drives (SSDs). Under the agreement, LSI will pay approximately $322 million in cash, net of cash assumed, and assume approximately $48 million of unvested stock options and restricted shares held by SandForce employees.
 
SandForce’s award-winning products include flash storage processors at the heart of PCIe flash adapters and SSDs. Flash storage processors provide the intelligence required to deliver the performance and low-latency benefits of flash storage in enterprise and client applications. With market-proven, differentiated DuraClass™ technology, SandForce flash storage processors improve the reliability, endurance and power efficiency of flash-based storage solutions.
 
The acquisition greatly enhances LSI's competitive position in the fast-growing server and storage PCIe flash adapter market, where the WarpDrive™ family of products from LSI already uses SandForce flash storage processors. The complementary combination of LSI’s custom capability and SandForce’s standard product offering propels LSI into an industry-leading position in the rapidly growing, high-volume flash storage processor market space for ultrabook, notebook and enterprise SSD and flash solutions.
 
“Flash-based solutions are critical for accelerating application performance in servers, storage and client devices,” said Abhi Talwalkar, LSI president and chief executive officer. “Adding SandForce’s technology to LSI’s broad storage portfolio is consistent with our mission to accelerate storage and networking. The acquisition represents a significant, rapidly growing market opportunity for LSI over the next several years.”
 
Michael Raam, SandForce president and CEO, said, “The combination of SandForce and LSI allows us to deliver differentiated solutions in the PCIe flash adapter segment by tightly integrating flash memory and management. In addition, leveraging our flash storage processors with LSI’s comprehensive IP portfolio and leading-edge silicon design platforms will lead to innovative solutions.”
 
The transaction is expected to close early in the first quarter of 2012 subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. Upon closing, the SandForce team will become part of LSI’s newly formed Flash Components Division, with Raam as general manager.

Source: LSI

Pump up the volume; pump up the IOPs? The performance scaling of larger SSDs

Subject: Storage | October 20, 2011 - 05:49 PM |
Tagged: ssd, Corsair Force Series, Crucial m4, Intel 320. Intel 510

We know that there are several reasons that larger SSDs perform better than their smaller compatriots.  More flash memory means more channels for the data to traverse, which has a very noticeable effect on SATA 6Gb/s drives.  The Tech Report demonstrates just how effective a larger SSD can be, with 10 SSDs ranging from 120GB up to 300GB as well as having a healthy mix of different 25nm flash and a variety of controllers.  As you'd expect Sandforce continues their dominance by simultaneously offering better performance and a lower cost than Intel's SSDs.  Of course, the stability and durability of those drives is a hot topic right now.

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"Fresh from rounding up a collection of the latest 120-128GB solid-state drives, we've turned our attention to a pack of 240-300GB models to see how SSD performance scales as one climbs the capacity ladder."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

OCZ Technology Introduces Octane SATA 6Gbps and Octane-S2 SATA 3Gbps Solid State Drives

Subject: Storage | October 20, 2011 - 01:29 PM |
Tagged: Indilinx Everest, Octane, sata 6Gbs, sata, ssd, ocz

SAN JOSE, CA - Oct. 20, 2011 - OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs), today launched the Indilinx Everest-based Octane SATA 3.0 and SATA 2.0 SSD series, striking the ideal balance between capacity, physical size, and speed. In addition to being the world's first SSD to achieve up to a 1TB capacity in a compact 2.5 inch format, OCZ's Octane SSD series combines high-speed data transfer rates with record-breaking access times to provide a superior user experience and improved application performance.

"OCZ has reached an important milestone in the development of its own controller technology," said James E. Bagley, Senior Analyst with Storage Strategies NOW. "The high sustained performance, even with compressed files, the rapid boot feature and high access speeds using SATA 3.0 protocol puts their controller technology in the major league."

"Until now SSDs have been tailored for specific applications, forcing users into a product which maximizes performance for a narrow band of applications, but is significantly lacking in others," said Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ Technology. "The Octane Series solves this problem by providing the highest level of performance across varied workloads including mixed file sizes and mixed compressible and uncompressible data, all while nearly doubling NAND flash endurance."

The Octane series leverages the cutting-edge Indilinx Everest platform to deliver up to 560MB/s of bandwidth and 45,000 IOPS and is optimized for the complete spectrum of file types and sizes. In particular, the Octane's proprietary page mapping algorithms allow for steady mixed-workload performance, mirroring real world conditions across a wide range of applications. The Octane series also includes a number of advanced features unique to Indilinx, including innovative latency reduction technology, enabling both read and write access times as low as 0.06ms and 0.09ms respectively, the lowest of any commercially available SSD. This enhances application responsiveness and enables features such as "fast boot" in consumer applications.

Octane SSDs also come equipped with Indilinx's proprietary NDurance™ technology, increasing the lifespan of the NAND flash memory, ensuring the most consistent and reliable performance as well as minimizing performance degradation even after the drive's storage capacity is highly utilized. In addition, Octane series drives support AES and automatic encryption to secure critical data.

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Octane Product Features:

  • Dual Core CPU
  • Up to 512MB DRAM cache
  • 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB models
  • High sequential speeds: Octane (SATA 3.0) Read: 560MB/s; Write: 400MB/s Octane-S2 (SATA 2.0) Read: 275MB/s; Write: 265MB/s
  • High transactional performance
  • Optimized for 4K to 16K compressed files Octane (SATA 3.0) 45,000 random read 4K IOPS Octane-S2 (SATA 2.0) 30,000 random read 4K IOPS
  • Industry-low latency: Read: 0.06ms; Write: 0.09ms
  • Strong performance at low queue depths (QD 1 – 3) 
  • Up to 8 channels with up to 16-way Interleaving
  • Advanced BCH ECC engine enabling more than 70 bits correction capability per 1KB of data
  • Proprietary NDurance Technology: increases NAND life up to 2X of the rated P/E cycles
  • Efficient NAND Flash management: Dynamic and static wear-leveling, and background garbage collection
  • Boot time reduction optimizations
  • NCQ support up to 32 queue depth - End-to-end data protection
  • TRIM support
  • Industry standard SMART reporting

The OCZ Octane SSD Series will be available November 1st in models ranging from 128GB-1TB capacities throughout OCZ's global channel.