WD Red drives *do* support TLER...

Subject: Storage | August 3, 2012 - 02:25 PM |
Tagged: western digital, WD, TLER, red, raid, hdd

This morning I received a tweet about WD Red drives not supporting Time Limited Error Recovery. TLER is the feature which allows a RAID comprised of Reds to much more gracefully handle drive failures and/or read errors. It's carried down from enterprise drives like the RE4 and RE4-GP.

120711-023332-8.59-.jpg

I'm posting this quick note here to let the masses know that the Red drives *do* in fact support TLER. It's a primary component of NASware - the NAS aware firmware that drives the Reds. Here's the official reply I received from Western Digital:

WD does enable intelligent error recovery controls, which is not the same as a desktop drive.  WD's exclusive NASware technology is built in each WD Red drive, which reduces the concern with using desktop drives in a RAID environment.
More info on details of NASware can be found here:  http://www.wd.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=810

Western Digital has assured me they are tracking down where the miscommunication occurred.

 

Seagate lets you guess the SSD manufacturer it wants to buy

Subject: General Tech, Storage | August 1, 2012 - 10:01 PM |
Tagged:

CFO of Seagate, Pat O’Malley, is looking to purchase a solid state drive manufacturer but will not confirm rumors that OCZ is who they have in mind. They then acknowledge that there is only one company who would make sense for them to acquire.

It is kind-of like you are trying to be stealthy with your interest in a girl in your classes – but it is all throughout the gossip circles. Also, you say you like tall blonde women and there is only two in your program; the other is Intel, nothing more needs to be said.

oczorly.jpg

Ya CZ.

Reuters arranged a discussion with Pat O’Malley, the Chief financial officer (CFO) of Seagate. During the interview, O’Malley announced that Seagate would be interested in purchasing an SSD manufacturer with a strong presence in the enterprise market. O’Malley was further questioned about rumors of Seagate purchasing OCZ. The response was about as thinly veiled as a non-answer could be before it would be considered a confirmation.

“We look at all technology product providers but what I would say is that on the enterprise SSDs, there’s probably only one of them that really makes and significant money.”

And they certainly will make significant money now – as investors binge a little to own a few extra shares.

“We don’t do any comments on official policy on M&A ((Mergers and Acquisitions)) until it’s done.”

Directly.

Update: As commentors and coworkers have mentioned -- it would not be too far fetched for Seagate to be talking about companies such as FusionIO. Still -- OCZ feels most likely to me.

Source: Reuters

A little DIY hard drive unbricking

Subject: Storage | July 30, 2012 - 01:31 PM |
Tagged: Seagate, repair, DIY, bricked

While this trick will not work on all bricked HDDs, if you have a Seagate 7200.11 HDD that is failing because it is convinced it is always in a busy state then you should check out this story on Hack a Day.  While the initial step of detaching the circuit board and blocking some connections with piece of cardstock can be handled with easy, it will take some expertise to use an Arduino or serial-TTL converter to issue commands to the HDD controller.  It is a good thing that there is a tutorial to walk you through the steps to unbrick your HDD, besides in the worst case scenario your HDD will still be a brick so it is worth a shot.

HaD_seagate-firmware-bug-repair.jpg

"Hard drive firmware is about the last place you want to find a bug. But that turned out to be the problem with the Seagate HDD which he was using in a RAID array. It stopped working completely, and he later found out the firmware has a bug that makes the drive think it’s permanently in a busy state. There’s a firmware upgrade available, but you have to apply it before the problem shows its face, otherwise you’re out of luck. Some searching led him to a hardware fix for the problem."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: Hack a Day

Drobo 5D and Drobo Mini with Thunderbolt Available for Pre-order, Final Pricing Announced

Subject: Storage | July 25, 2012 - 01:58 PM |
Tagged: thunderbolt, redundant storage, drobo mini, drobo 5d, drobo

We covered the new Thunderbolt-equipped Drobo units last month, and they are looking like promising additions to the company’s lineup. Both Drobo units were slated for a July release, and they are right on track. You can now pre-order the Drobo 5D and Drobo Mini from a number of retailers including Amazon, NCIX, B&H Photo, and Tiger Direct among others.

For the uninitiated, the Drobo 5D is a five bay Drobo S with upgrades. It features USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt interfaces as well as an mSATA SSD to improve performance. Like the predecessor, it will accept standard 3.5-inch desktop drives. You can pre-order it now for $849.

The Drobo Mini on the other hand forgoes desktop drives to achieve a much smaller form-factor. It will accept up to four 2.5-inch laptop hard drives (or SSDs if you want crazy speeds). The Drobo Mini is further able to connect to your computer using either USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt. Like the Drobo 5D, it has an integrated mSATA port (not included). You can pre-order this little redundant storage system for $649.

You can find more information about the new Drobo products on the company’s website. The full press release is available here..

Source: Drobo

OCZ Announces New Indilinx Barefoot 3 Controller

Subject: Storage | July 18, 2012 - 07:19 PM |
Tagged: ssd, aragon, Indilinx, barefoot 3, ssd controller

During a recent earnings call, OCZ CEO Ryan Petersen made an interesting announcement relating to the company’s solid state drives (SSD). Specifically, it concerns OCZ’s subsidiary company Indilinx which was purchased in 2011 for $32 million of OCZ common stock. According to a transcript provided by SeekingAlpha, OCZ is working on a new SSD based on the company’s Barefoot 3 controller. That controller is especially intriguing because it is reportedly being internally-developed and will use a new Aragon SSD processor which is a controller chip running at 400 Mhz with an optimized and custom RISC instruction set.

ocz-logo.jpg

The Aragon core is further a 32-bit chip based on TSMC’s 65nm process node. It is using certain IP that is being licensed from an as-yet-unnamed third party. Allegedly, it is able to execute most instructions and branches in a single clock cycle. Bearing in mind that this is an announcement to shareholders, OCZ has stated the following about the new controller:

“When implemented in SSD controller, this gives the core a much higher performance than when using an off-the-shelf embedded safety field. And this design opens a world of new possibilities for game changing SSD solutions as it supports unprecedented levels of processing power.”

Beyond that we do not know what kind of performance to expect from the drives, but we should not have to wait too long to find out. OCZ should begin sampling the drives sometime between August and September of this year and are hoping to make them available for purchase by the holiday shopping season in Q4 2012.

It will be interesting to see where this new OCZ/Indilinx controller stands in relation to the other controller makers. Here’s hoping that it can give SandForce and Intel a run for their money and give us even more competition to drive down SSD prices for consumers!

You can see the full transcript over at SeekingAlpha.

Source: SeekingAlpha

Super Talent's fast and inexpensive USB 3.0 flash drives

Subject: Storage | July 18, 2012 - 04:25 PM |
Tagged: super talent, ST1, ST2, usb 3.0

If you need fast and portable storage then a USB 3.0 flash drive is the way to go as there is a large difference in speed when you compare it to the previous USB 2.0 standard.  Super Talent currently offers two versions the the ST1 which uses ToggleMode DDR and has and advertised speed of 90MB/s read and 16MB/s write speeds as well as the ST2 which has dual channel MLC flash and 67MB/s read and 24MB/s write speeds.  The other difference between the two models is the capacity, with the ST1 going from 8GB to 16GB and the ST2 available in sizes up to 32GB.  Check out the real world results at Legit Reviews.

LR_supertalent_top.jpg

"The two drives we have to review today are the Super Talent Express 3.0 ST1 4GB and the Express 3.0 ST2 8GB. These two are the smallest capacity drives of their respective lineups. The ST1 ranges from 4GB-16GB, and the ST2 ranges from 8GB-32GB. The ST1 uses Super Talent’s ToggleMode DDR (double data rate) flash which claims 90MB/s read and 16MB/s write speeds. The ST2, however, uses a dual channel MLC flash, claiming 67MB/s read and 24MB/s write speeds..."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Intel adds 240GB model to Intel SSD 330 Series and lowers prices

Subject: Storage | July 16, 2012 - 02:55 PM |
Tagged: ssd, intel 330, Intel

Good news SSD fans Intel has not only extended their SandForce SF2281 based 330 line, they have also dropped prices across the board.  The new 240GB Intel SSD 330 should be on sale for $194, dropping comfortably below the $1/GB mark.  Intel has reduced the costs to their resellers as well, by up to 38 percent on 520 Series, 10% - 18% for the 320 Series and 27% - 34% on the 330 Series.  These price changes may not directly translate into the same savings for those purchasing from major retailers but it will certainly have some impact.  For instance, right now the Intel 330 180GB model will cost you $160 while the 120GB 320 model remains $170.  The 520 series also remains above $1/GB but with this announcement from Intel you should really keep a close eye on PC Perspective and your favourite retailers for price changes.

Intel_SSD_330.png

Source: Intel

MSI Possibly Working on SandForce SF-2000-series SSD

Subject: Storage | July 14, 2012 - 07:43 AM |
Tagged: storage, ssd, SF2000, sandforce, msi

The solid state market is heating up as spindle-based drives continue to sell at much higher prices than last year and NAND flash is getting cheaper. The latest entrant may be motherboard and laptop vendor MSI, if a recent addition to SandForce’s SSD partner list holds true.

msi_ssd.jpg

Unfortunately, we do not have any further details so it’s hard to say what sort of drive this will be other than it will use solid state NAND flash. Being a 2000-series SandForce controller is promising for performance, however. Stay tuned for more details as they develop. I’m excited to see what MSI can bring to the SSD table, and here’s hoping that they break a cost/GB record (I can dream heh). For now though, we will have to suffice with the currently available SSD options, which you can check out on our SSD Decoder at pcper.com/ssd. What do you think about the prospect of an MSI SSD?

Source: SandForce

Kingston Launches DataTraveler Locker+ G2 with hardware-based AES256 encryption

Subject: Storage | July 10, 2012 - 09:18 PM |
Tagged:

Kingston has announced an addition to their USB drive lineup, this time a securely encrypted model featuring hardware-based AES-256 crypto.

DTLGpG2_top_angle_open_32gb_hr.jpg

It might not be the fastest out there, as the controller chip only supports USB 2.0 speeds, but the pricing looks to be highly competitive for a part with this encryption capability. The Locker+ also features software capable of securely storing login information for up to 20 internet accounts. As a bonus, the front end software responsible for unlocking the secure store is compatible with both OSX and Windows systems.

Intro MSRP:

  • 4GB -   $18
  • 8GB -   $21
  • 16GB - $37
  • 32GB - $82

Full release after the break!

Source:

Western Digital releases 'Red" series of SOHO NAS hard drives

Subject: Storage | July 10, 2012 - 08:04 AM |
Tagged: western digital, wdc, red, NAS, hdd, Hard Drive

** Note ** - Full review has been posted HERE!

Today Western Digital launches their Red series of hard drives. These are basically Caviar Greens that are specificially tuned to operate in small RAID configurations - namely home and small business NAS solutions containing up to 5 drives. These drives carry over some of the features present on Western Digital's Enterprise lines while adding a few of their own.

DSC00328.JPG

We got samples of the Red in yesterday evening, so instead of going on with conjecture derived from the news post, I'll hit you with the new features and a bit of my initial impressions from our early benching:

  • Extremely quiet operation thanks to a new dynamic balancing mechanism built into the spindle motor hub. The drive essentially re-balances itself on-the-fly as temperatures change, etc.
  • Seeks are equally quiet - quiet enough that a bunch of these doing random access outside of an enclosure would barely be audible from only a few feet away.
  • Great sequential throughput (~150MB/sec at start of disk, ramping down to ~65MB/sec at the end).
  • Random access times in the 20ms range - likely due to the very quiet seeking mechanism.
  • Red Series drives will all be advanced format (i.e. internally addressed by 4k sectors).
  • Reds will all be 1TB/platter, available in 1, 2, and 3TB capacities. This gives similar throughput figures regardless of capacity purchased.
  • 3-year warranty, with a 24/7 support hotline specifically for Red owners.
  • Red drives feature a QR code on the label to assist with any support issues down the road.

DSC00327.JPG

I'm not kidding about the quiet operation. The only sound the Red makes is reminiscent of a DVD spinning at low speed, in a sound deadening enclosure. There is no motor whine whatsoever and the head actuator is nearly inaudible. I have to almost lay my head on the drive to tell it is seeking at all.

A full review with all of the gory details will be up later today. For now I leave you with the WD press release after the break, along with this nifty QR to get you more info on the Red Series:

wd red qr.png

*note - the QR page may not yet be live.

Source:

Corsair Force Series GS SSDs with Toggle NAND Boost Performance of SandForce Lineup

Subject: Storage | July 5, 2012 - 03:35 PM |
Tagged: ssd, corsair, Force Series GS, toggle NAND

The new Corsair Force GS series come in four sizes, 180GB, 240GB, 360GB, 480GB.  All are SATA 6Gbps drives and powered by the Sandforce 2200 controller but there are differences in speed because of the different sizes of drive, though perhaps not in the breakdown you would expect.  The smaller 180GB and 240GB models sport specifications of:

  • Max Sequential R/W (ATTO): 555 MB/s sequential read
  • 525 MB/s sequential write
  • Max Random 4k Write (IOMeter 08): 90k IOPS (4k aligned)

smallerGS.png

The two larger drives have slightly slower listed random write speeds, with the 360GB having slightly improved sequential writes:

  • Max Sequential R/W (ATTO): 555 MB/s sequential read
  • 530 MB/s sequential write
  • Max Random 4k Write (IOMeter 08): 50k IOPS (4k aligned)

largerGS.png

Finally the largest 480GB model is slower at everything:

  • Max Sequential R/W (ATTO): 540 MB/s sequential read
  • 455 MB/s sequential write
  • Max Random 4k Write (IOMeter 08): 50k IOPS (4k aligned)

You can head over to Corsair and see the drives yourself.  If you are looking to purchase the drives their MRSPs are $189.99 for 180GB, $239.99 for 240GB, $349.99 for 340GB and $489.99 for 480GB capacities, meeting the ~$1/GB we all like to see.

Source: Corsair

Remember the OCZ Vertex 4? The 256GB model is less than $1/GB!

Subject: Storage | July 4, 2012 - 03:53 PM |
Tagged: Vertex 4, vertex, ocz, Indilinx, ssd

It has been a while since Allan first reviewed the Indilinx Everest 2 powered OCZ Vertex 4 so it seems like a good time to refresh your memory.  That is not just because newer firmware is increasing the performance of this drive but also because the 256GB model can be had for under $1/GB!   You can see the performance against over a dozen other SSDs of varying prices at TechSpot, where it might not hold the top spot for overall performance it fares very well when you consider the price to performance ratio.  That is not to say it is the least expensive drive available but it deserves to be in your list when you are considering a new SSD for your system.

TS_V4.jpg

"Although SandForce controllers have powered much of OCZ's solid-state lineup, the company is shifting to its own solutions after purchasing Indilinx early last year. The "Octane" flash drives were the first to use the Indilinx Everest controller last holiday season and now that its SF-2281-based drives are over a year old, OCZ has begun phasing Everest into the rest of its offerings, including the Vertex series.

The Vertex 4 series is aimed at performance buffs, with initial Indilinx Everest 2 based models offering capacities of 64GB, 128GB, 256GB and 512GB. Performance is the name of the game here and OCZ doesn't disappoint."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: TechSpot

Sandisk Launches PCIe Solid State Accelerators (SSAs)

Subject: Storage | July 3, 2012 - 12:21 AM |
Tagged: ssd, slc, server, sandisk, PCIe SSD, flash, enterprise, caching

Flash storage company Sandisk has recently jumped into the world of enterprise PCI-E caching SSDs – what they are calling Solid State Accelerators. Currently, they are offering a 200GB and 400GB model under the company’s Lightning PCIe series. The SSDs feature a proprietary Sandisk controller driving 24nm SLC NAND flash, a PCI-E 2.0 x4 interface, and maximum power draw of 15 watts.

The Lightning Accelerators use the NAND flash for Sandisk’s own foundry and offer a large performance boost for servers and workstations over hard drives and SATA SSDs. It is capable of 410 MB/s sequential reads or 110,000 IOPS. Further, when using 4KB and 8KB blocks, the drives can reach 23,000 and 17,000 read/write IOPS respectively. Other specifications include an average response time of 245 microseconds, and less than 30 millisecond maximum response times. The Solid State Accelerators also feature sustained read and write latencies as low as 50 microseconds.

 

SandiskSSA.jpg

Sandisk has built the drives so that they can be configured as boot drives, storage drives, or caching drives. The company supports up to 5 drives in a single system, for a maximum of 2TB of flash storage. In addition, Sandisk is offering up its Flashsoft software that allows the Lightning Accelerators to be used as caching drives on Windows-based systems. Unfortunately, that is an additional cost which is not included in the already pricey SSDs (good thing for corporate expense accounts!).

Speaking of pricing, the 200GB LP206M has an MSRP of $1,350 while the 400GB LP406M has an MSRP of $2,350. Both cards have five year warranties and a MTBF rating of 2 million hours. You can find more information on the Sandisk Website.

It will be interesting to see how this Sandisk accelerator stacks up to the likes of the Intel 910 and FusioIO drives! The FusionIO FX, for example, gives you 420GB of QDP MLC NAND for $2,495, which works out such that Sandisk has a slightly lower cost-per-gigabyte value and SLC flash. We will have to wait for some independant reviews to say which drive is actually faster, however.

 

Source: Sandisk

Remember the old days when you could buy a 1TB drive for under $100?

Subject: General Tech, Storage | June 29, 2012 - 03:25 PM |
Tagged: hdd, Futuremark, thailand

While it is easy to understand why the destruction of a good portion of the HDD industries manufacturing capabilities caused by the flooding in Thailand would effect both the availability and pricing of HDDs it is not so easy to explain what those manufacturers are doing now.  It is not just the reduction in warranty to 1 year which we previously informed you about, it is the bizarre pricing which adds to the confusion.  This is an industry which has collapsed into two major players, with two others appearing to compete but in reality are working with or outright owned by the two major players.  They are under siege from the SSD industry which offers longer warranty, better performance and prices which are falling quickly; making the high prices and lousy warranty offered by HDD manufactures quite unattractive.  The Tech Report assembled an array of graphs which display the state of the hard drive companies as well as some suggestions on the best current deals in HDDs if you are inclined to pick one up.

TR_samsung.gif

"Mechanical hard drive prices rose sharply after last year's Thailand flooding. Prices have fallen since, but their decline has slowed in recent months. We take a closer look at the numbers."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

OCZ returns to Indilinx for the Vertex 4

Subject: Storage | June 21, 2012 - 06:37 PM |
Tagged: Vertex 4, vertex, ocz, Indilinx

Just in case you didn't believe Al's review of the new OCZ Vertex 4 or because you want to see the difference between the 512GB version he reviewed and the 128GB version that costs a lot less, you can check out what OCIA thinks right here.  AS you would expect, the lower capacity results in lower performance thanks to the reduction in the amount of channels but at a tested 511.51MB on Sandra and an IOPS score of 99514 slow is a relative term.  If you are going to pick up this drive update to the newest firmware, OCIA tested with 1.4.1.3 and saw a big performance difference from the previous firmware version.

OCIA_710_11_full.jpg

“The Everest 2 platform comes as a result of OCZ’s acquisition of Indilinx in early 2011 but it isn’t the first time we have seen the Indilinx brand stamped on a Vertex drive. The company launched the original Vertex SSD as one of the pioneering flash storage solutions for mainstream users with an Indilinx controller under the hood. OCZ jumped on the SandForce bandwagon with the Vertex 2 and Vertex 3 but have come full circle back to an Indilinx solution with the Vertex 4... well, sort of. But we’ll get to that in just a bit.”

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

Source: OCIA

Drobo releases new Thunderbolt + USB 3.0 '5D' and 'Mini' - both mSATA SSD accelerated

Subject: Storage | June 21, 2012 - 09:06 AM |
Tagged: ssd, msata, drobo

I have a warm spot in my heart for Drobo products ever since I spent months trying to break one (unsuccessfully). With that I am now pleased to report on their announcement of two new products.

Drobo 5D - Right Front-.jpg

First is the Drobo 5D, which is basically a 5-bay Drobo S on steroids. It updates the interface to USB 3.0 + Thunderbolt and speeds up IOPS and multi-stream performance by way of an mSATA SSD. The SSD does not take up a drive bay as it is installed beneath a trap door un the bottom of the 5D:

Drobo 5D SSD Bay.png

Next up is the Drobo Mini. This little guy carries the same connectivity as the 5D, but is *much* smaller:

Drobo Mini Hand.png

The drop in size comes from a change in the form factor of installed storage. It takes up to 4 2.5" form factor drives. Performance should be similar to that of the 5D, primarily based on it also sporting that integrated mSATA port. I suspect the mini will go over very well with the mobile / MacBook / Ultrabook crowd, as being able to carry a small box with large redundant storage is a great idea for mobile workstations.

Drobo Mini Drive Insert.jpg

More to follow as availability will be announced in July. Pricing is expected to be below $650 (thunderbolt cable *included*). Press blast after the break.

SK Hynix to acquire Link_a_Media Devices for $248 million

Subject: Storage | June 20, 2012 - 11:13 PM |
Tagged: Link_a_Media, LAMD, Hynix

First OCZ buys Indilinx, then LSI buys SandForce, and now for another acquisition:

You may recall Link_a_Media devices seemingly coming out of nowhere these past few weeks, releasing an SSD controller present in the new Corsair Neutron Series of devices, and scoring an award at Computex. Even though the new LAMD controller is brand new and largely untested, it has gotten enough traction to be scooped up by a larger company - in this case Hynix. Hynix is a big name in RAM devices. We frequently see Hynix RAM in our SSD reviews, and the parts also appear in much of the shipping DDR3 RAM. More to follow as news continues to flow (and especially once Corsair Neutron reviews start appearing).

Link_a_Media Devices has been around for a while, though not in the SSD market. They have previously made chips integral to Toshiba HDD's.

Press blast after the break.

Deals for June 18th - 2TB Buffalo LinkStation Live for $135

Subject: Editorial, Storage | June 18, 2012 - 09:56 AM |
Tagged: deal of the day, external drive, Hard Drive, buffalo

Today's deal offers us a 2TB version of the Buffalo LinkStation Live, a NAS device (network attached storage) that allows users to easily backup their systems while being able to share the resources on the drive at the same time. 

deal0618.png

The Buffalo LinkStation Live series of drives allows you to access the NAS through Android and iOS applications over the web, supports transfer rates as high as 1 Gbps, is Apple Time Machine compatible and integrates a BitTorrent client too.  A copy of NovaBACKUP Professional is included for users to install and setup easy, automated PC backups.  And you can use the LinkStation Live as a DLNA media server to boot. 

Today, LogicBuy has a deal on this unit for $135 with free shipping, using a coupon code found in the product's description. 

Source: LogicBuy

Corsair's new SSD lineup Toggles between Marvell and SandForce models

Subject: Storage | June 14, 2012 - 06:28 PM |
Tagged: corsair, toggle NAND, IMFT NAND, performance series, Marvell 9174

Corsair's 256GB Performance Pro SSD is the member of the Performance series which utilizes Toshiba Toggle NAND and the Marvell 9174 controller.  At $340 it is a little more expensive than some other comparable drives, however that may be well deserved for after their testing [H]ard|OCP put this drive in the same category as the Intel 520 in general performance.  In fact during some tests they found it to be faster than the lauded Intel SSD, which is no mean feat.  That performance, along with a solid three year warranty helped Corsair pick up a Silver Award from [H].

H_cor_per_pro256.jpg

"Today we review the 256GB Corsair Performance Pro SSD. Corsair provides enthusiasts with both sides of the SSD controller coin by offering both Marvell and SandForce controlled SSDs in its product lines. Today we will take a look at the Marvell powered 256GB SSD and the Toshiba Toggle NAND that Corsair has chosen for it."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

New MacBooks Sporting 6Gb/s Samsung 830 Series SSD Controllers

Subject: Storage | June 13, 2012 - 10:08 PM |
Tagged:

In case some of you are fans of the Samsung 830 Series SSDs (like I am), you'll be pleased to see this litle tidbit over at iFixit:

830-apple.png

Now that just says Samsung on the parts, and Samsung makes more than an 830 Series, but all of their other series are 3Gb/sec SATA and below. For further confirmation, here's a quick clip from my review of the 830 Series:

830-pcper.png

(particular interest on the controller part numbers - in that they are identical)

I see this as great news for the new MacBooks. The more devices those 830 Series SSDs get put into, the better.