Intel announces new DC S3700 Series of datacenter SSDs

Subject: Storage | November 5, 2012 - 12:39 PM |
Tagged: ssd, s3700, enterprise, datacenter

Today Intel officially launched a new line of enterprise-oriented SSDs. Dubbed the DC S3700 ('DC for Data Center', 'S' for SATA), this new line fills the large interface speed void left by the older 710 Series, which was limited to SATA 3Gb/sec speeds.

Intel SSD DC S3700 RightAngled.jpg

The S3700 makes some big promises and we are expecting samples shortly. Here's the tally of what's to come:

  • Intel designed 8-channel controller ASIC and firmware
  • SATA 6Gb/sec interface
  • 7mm x 2.5" form factor
  • Random 4k writes 15x faster and reads 2x faster than SSD 710
  • 75,000 4k random read IOPS (all models)
  • 19/32/36/36k 4k random write IOPS (for 100/200/400/800GB capacity)
  • 500MB/sec sequential reads (all models)
  • 200/365/460/460 MB/sec sequential writes (for 100/200/400/800GB capacity)
  • 25nm MLC-HET IMFT flash
  • Rated for 10 Drive Writes per Day (DWPD) over a 5-year lifetime
  • Solid-State-Capacitor backed power-loss protection
  • Shipping in volume ~Q1 2013
  • 1k qty pricing: $235/$470/$940/$1880 ea. for 100/200/400/800GB capacities

The cost of just over $2/GB should be very enticing for an enterprise-grade SSD, but the most interesting tidbit I got from the briefing was that Intel claims this drive will achieve a <500us response time for 4k random writes, 99.9% of the time. Most SSDs will begin to show intermittent peaks in latency when hit with sustained 4k random access. The S3700 Series should mostly eliminate that issue. More to follow on that front once we can log some hours on a sample.

Plextor's M5 Pro features new flash and a new controller

Subject: Storage | October 26, 2012 - 02:52 PM |
Tagged: plextor, m5 pro, ssd, toggle NAND, Marvell, Monet 88SS9187-BLD2

The Plextor M5 Pro introduces both Toshiba's new 19nm toggle NAND and Marvell's new 8-channel dual core Monet controller.  [H]ard|OCP tried out the 256GB model, availble for $250, and were impressed not only by the performance but also the error correction abilities and the system utilities which were included.  They were disappointed that the familiar Plextool software is not supported by this drive but they feel it is only a matter of time before Plextor remedies that issue.  Check out the results of the benchmarks in their full review.

H_M5_Pro.jpg

"Plextor brings the M5 Pro with the new Marvell Monet controller powering its banks of high performance Toshiba Toggle NAND. This is the debut of the first SSD with 19nm Toshiba Toggle NAND, the debutof the new Marvell Monet 88SS9187-BLD2 controller. We take a look and see what these new components bring to the table."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: [H]ard|OCP

A quick look at the data on Apple's Fusion Drive

Subject: Editorial, Storage | October 24, 2012 - 08:26 PM |
Tagged: hybrid, fusion drive, fusion, apple

Yesterday, amongst a bunch of other announcements, Apple mentioned a 'new' technology that was built into OSX (10.8.2 and up).

fusion drive 1-.png

Dubbed 'Fusion Drive', this tech enables the late 2012 Mac Mini and iMac models to have a pseudo-hybrid drive. There's been a lot of speculation today on just how this technology will work, but I've cut through the chaff to try and shed some proper light on just how this new thing works, and how it is so different than any other 'hybrid' solution out there.

First, it's not a hybrid drive. The iMac or Mac Mini comes with an SSD and a HDD. Two individual SATA devices. Both devices appear as individual drives, even in Disk Utility. Where the magic happens is that OSX can be configured (and is pre-configured in these new systems) to combine the two drives into one drive that presents itself to the user as a single logical volume. The important point is that the drives are 'fused' together, not merged or mirrored. The SSD and HDD each have their own partition, and OSX can reach beneath the Fusion layer and shift files back and forth between the two as it sees fit. Frequently used apps and files can be shifted back and forth between the SSD and HDD, as seen in the below pic:

fusion drive 2-.png

The biggest differences are in that since it's not a mirrored hybrid solution, where the SSD space is not available, and a failure of the HDD causes loss of all data. Fusion Drive combines the two volumes and *adds* the space together, and the apps or files will sit on either device (but not both). All files written go to the SSD first and are later shifted to the HDD in the background. This is actually a very smart way to handle things. The entire OSX install always stays on the SSD, so there is no concern of OS files 'rolling off' of the SSD cache, causing intermittent slowdowns. More (perhaps most) importantly, if the HDD fails on a Fusion Drive setup, OSX should theoretically just keep on chugging, albeit without access to the files or apps that were stored on the HDD. On the flip side, if the SSD were to fail, the HDD could simply be mounted in Target Mode under another Mac, and all files stored to that drive could then be recovered. Sure you won't get everything back in these scenarios, but it provides *much* more flexibility for data recovery, and it's worth repeating the fact that an HDD failure in any other hybrid solution results in the loss of ALL data.

A couple of other quick gotchas: You can still dual boot with boot camp under a Fusion Drive setup, but the boot camp partition will only be at the end of the HDD, not on the SSD. Windows will not only run slower because it's on the spinning disk, it will run slower because the latter portions of a HDD typically see about half of the throughput as compared to the start of that disk. Also, you are only allowed *one* additional (non-Fusion) partition on the HDD, which can be used for another OSX install *or* for the Boot Camp Windows install. Users who prefer to boot greater than two operating systems on their newer Mac will have to do so with Fusion Drive disabled.

More to follow as more data comes in. For now I'm only working off of the other speculation and the Apple Support Page on the matter.

$50 cache SSD anyone?

Subject: Storage | October 17, 2012 - 07:39 PM |
Tagged: cache, ssd, sandisk, ReadyCache 32GB

SanDisk has been making flash based storage product for quite a long time and while they may not come to your mind when you are thinking of buying an SSD, they do have a variety of product lines available.  [H]ard|OCP recently reviewed their 32GB ReadyCache SSD, which is powered by their own software and is a full sized SSD, so you won't need an mSATA slot in order to use the device.  SanDisk also ensures your data's integrity by copying any data it is going to cache, so that a copy remains on your HDD in case the SSD dies on you.  [H] were impressed by the ability of this drive to cache multiple HDDs and RAID volumes, a trick many other solutions can not manage.  If you are looking for an inexpensive and easy way to increase your PCs performance you could do a lot worse than SanDisk's ReadyCache.

H_Sandish.jpg

"SanDisk enters the caching solution market with the SanDisk ReadyCache 32GB SSD. This SSD provides instant acceleration to users' computers through intelligent software provided by Condusiv Technologies and hardware from SanDisk. By adding two tiers of data storage, both SSD and RAM, this solution looks promising."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: [H]ard|OCP

AMD Launches Radeon RAMDisk, Free 6GB Disks With AMD Memory

Subject: Storage | October 10, 2012 - 09:30 PM |
Tagged: ram disk, radeon ramdisk, radeon memory, amd memory, amd

AMD launched a new Radeon branded memory product today called the Radeon RAMDisk. Despite the rather unoriginal name, it is a piece of software that will allow you to use a portion of your system RAM as a hard drive-like storage device where you can install programs. AMD has partnered with Dataram to develop the software.

The AMD Radeon RAMDisk will create drives up to 64GB in size, and is designed to be used with AMD's own Radeon-branded DDR3 modules (though other manufacturer's RAM will work as well). The RAM disk offers up almost-instantaeous access times and impressive read and write speeds for your applications and virtual machines.

Radeon RAMDisk.jpg

According to AMD, the Radeon RAMDisk can reach read speeds as high as 25,600 MB/s with DDR3 1600 RAM and up to 1700% faster game loading times than a traditional mechanical hard drive. It further supports the Windows operating system (Vista and above), and has a minimum system requirement of 4GB of system RAM.

The software costs $18.99 at time of writing for the full version.

The best part about this announcement though is the release of a freeware version of the Radeon RAMDisk that can create disks up to 6GB with AMD-branded RAM or 4GB with RAM from any other manufacturer! While that is fairly limiting in that you are not really going to be able to put much ont there (and installing games is almost out of the question entirely) you can still do a lot with a 4GB RAM disk by installing Office, photo editors, virtual machines (like Peppermint Linux), and other heavily used programs to speed up the important stuff.

You can acess the full press release on the Radeon RAMDisk website.

Download links:

If you have been with the site for at least the year that I’ve been writing here, you will know that I’m a huge fan of RAM disks. So, naturally, when I was passed the press release I just had to try it out.

While the extent of the performance increase is going to vary from program to program, the drive itself is extremely fast. When copying a .iso file to the Radeon RAMDisk, it was limited by my SSD's read speed, for example.

File Transfer To RAMDisk limited by SSD.jpg

The RAM Disk was set up om my main desktop which has basic specifications as follows:

  • Intel Core i7 -860 CPU
  • 8GB (4 x 2GB) G.Skill DDR3 at 1333 MHz and 9-9-9-24 CAS timings
  • Gigabyte P55-UD3R Motherboard
  • 4096 MB Radeon RAMDisk
  • 80GB Intel X25-M G2 SSD
  • 2TB Samsung Spinpoint hard drive
  • Windows 8 RTM

In addition to the file copy tests, I also used the HDTune benchmark to measure transfer speeds. Needless to say, RAM blows solid state NAND out of the water in speed (though it does cost more and is volatile storage).

graph (1).jpg

In fact, it pulled such impressive numbers from HDTune that it skewed the chart a lot. Those little blips underneath it are from my Intel X25-M G2 80GB SSD and my 2TB Samsung Spinpoint mechanical hard drive. 

graph.jpg

HDTune also reports access times and burst speeds. The RAM disk had a 0.0 ms access time, the SSD has a 0.1 ms access time, and the mechanical hard drive brought up the rear with a 13.9 ms access time. Interestingly, the Samsung hard drive actually beat the SSD in burst speed. The RAM disk crush both of the other drives by a significant margin, however with a burst speed of 5,155 MB/s.

Over the years, I have used a RAMDisk for hosting photo editors as as using the drive for media I was currently working on. It worked well at the time, but the free software was not exactly what I would call stable. However, the AMD software is a mere 6.2 MB download that installs quickly and is easy to configure. The UI is spartan (and resembles Windows Classic), but it gets the job done and has yet to crash on me after trying to break it today (heh). It does not feel "janky" at all, and I have to give AMD and Dataram props for that.

Below are screenshots of the Radeon RAMDisk interface. You can create new disks as well as loading saved ones.

Yes, RAM being faster than hard drive storage is not new information, but I did find it surprising just how much faster it was, even compared to my SSD. Heck, even compared to a DDR2 based RAM disk, it was fast. It really puts into perspective why the hard drive is the slowest aspect of modern computers, and why things can slow to a crawl when the CPU has to reach out past the internal cache and system RAM to the hard drive to fetch data. If you are running a system with a lot of 'extra' RAM, I encourage you to take AMD's new Radeon RAMDisk software for a test drive. It's time to give those DDR3 DIMMs a workout!

Do you use RAM disks to speed up your favorite applications?

Source: AMD

It's expensive but impressive, Acer's new Aspire S5 Ultrabook

Subject: Storage | October 7, 2012 - 03:33 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, Aspire S5, Aspire S Series, acer

The Acer Aspire S5 is a 13.3", 1366x768 ultrabook with a Intel Core i7-3317U, 4GB of DDR3 and two 128GB SSDs in RAID 0.  At its thickest point it measures 0.59" and overall is a blazing fast ultraportable system, in fact TechSpot saw some results where the S5 outperformed a system with OCZ's RevoDrive X3 PCIe SSD inside. Connectivity options are very impressive as well with not only the usual suspects,USB 3.0 and HDMI, there is also a Thunderbolt port on the back.  The news is not all good however, as this ultrabook is likely to cost around $1400 which is much higher than the supposed sub-$1000 ultrabook price requirement.

TS_s5.jpg

"'Easier said than done' is the best phrase I can think of to describe Intel's ultrabook initiative. On paper, the plan seemed easy enough, although manufacturing partners and knowledgeable consumers alike would testify that it's been anything but. Aspirations to compete with Apple's ultrathin MacBook Air have been met with a number of compromises as hardware makers struggle to find the perfect blend of features while keeping the overall price somewhere around Intel's $1,000 target.

Could a few hundred bucks tacked on the top end make a difference between a vanilla ultrabook and something truly special? That's something Acer is willing to gamble on with its latest flagship ultrabook. "

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

More Mobile Articles

Source: TechSpot

The Vertex series returns to it's roots with the Indilinx infused Everest 2 controller

Subject: Storage | October 7, 2012 - 03:05 PM |
Tagged: ocz, Vertex 4, indilinx everest 2, ssd, 240gb, Marvell 9145

The Vertex 4 series from OCZ will end up being an intermediary controller between the old Marvell 9145 based Indilinx design which OCZ now owns and a new controller that is being designed in house by OCZ and the Indilinx team which came as part of the acquisition.  That doesn't mean this drive should be avoided, the prices are quite good with the 512GB model being one of the most affordable new drives on the market. [H]ard|OCP's testing had it performing at the top of the pack in many benchmarks and the drive comes with a 5 year warranty so you are getting quite a lot for a relatively low price.

H_OCZVertex240.jpg

"The Vertex 4 is a departure from OCZ's tried and true model of using third party controllers and firmware for its SSDs. Taking control of the firmware with the Vertex 4 gives OCZ the ability to tune the SSDs for speed and performance at lower queue depths and optimize for low latency. We test to see if the Everest 2 Platform delivers."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Intel Atom D2500 and D2550 Processors Powering Upcoming NAS Devices

Subject: Storage | October 7, 2012 - 12:44 AM |
Tagged: Thecus, qnap, NAS, Intel, atom d2550, atom d2500, asustor

Earlier this week, Intel announced that two of its Cedar Trail Atom-series processors would be powering several upcoming Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices. Intended to be used in devices for home and small business users, they will feature either the Intel Atom D2500 or D2550 processor. Centralized content vaults, so-called personal clouds (internet and LAN-accessible storage), and security systems are all possible uses of the Intel Atom CPU-powered NAS boxes.

Intel Atom Inside.jpg

Both 32nm chips have a 10W TDP, 1MB of L2 cache, and are clocked at 1.86GHz. The D2500 has two cores while the D2550 is a dual core part with HyperThreading for a total of four threads. Both processors have an integrated northbridge and a PowerVR SGX545 GPU. The D2500 has the integrated GPU clocked at 400MHz while the Atom D2550’s SGX545 GPU is running at 640MHz.

  D2500 D2550
Cores (with HT) 2 / 2 2 / 4
Clockspeed 1.86 GHz 1.86 GHz
L2 Cache 1 MB 1 MB
Graphics Clock 400 MHz 640 MHz
TDP 10 W 10 W
Pricing (tray) $42 $47

The Intel-powered NAS boxes will have anywhere from two to eight hard drives and offer up a number of features. For example, the storage devices will be able to integrate the McAfee AV SDK to run virus scans on your media files on the NAS itself. And thanks to the GPU, platforms with storage and the Atom chips will be able to support up to two external displays. The example Intel provided is a security system where the D2500/D2550 can power a computer with lots of attached storage and up to output up to four HD video stream on up to two displays thanks to GPU acceleration.

Thecus-N5550_front_open.jpg

The Thecus N5550 NAS using the Intel Atom processor.

NAS boxes from QNAP, Asustor, and Thecus will be available at launch, with additional devices from other manufacturers coming in the future. The Thecus device is available for purchase now for around $600 without hard drives pre-installed.

On the small business side of things, Intel has announced that Mostor and Dane-Elec have also jumped on board to provide optimized software for the hardware used in business environments.

Read the full press release on Intel's website.

Source: Intel

Western Digital launches 4TB RE Series in both SATA and SAS flavors

Subject: Storage | September 27, 2012 - 08:00 AM |
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, RE, RAID Edition, raid

Today Western Digital announced a new line of RAID Edition (RE) drives. While the WD RE series is not new, preceded by the RE4-GP and faster spinning RE4, it was certainly overdue for an update.

WD RE 4TB.jpg

This update brings the maximum capacity to 4TB and includes a SAS line as well. SATA connectivity will be 6Gb/sec, while SAS will employ dual port full duplex connectivity for the higher end enterprise sector. These drives appear to use the same platter capacity scheme employed by the recent WD Red Series, though the PR blast states 800GB/platter. I'm awaiting clarification on that point, as the math doesn't seem to work out evenly. Pricing is at a premium for these models, as they are intended for enterprise use. Mid to high $400's for SATA and SAS. Pricey, but still 1/10th of current good deals on SSDs.

Press blast (and detailed pricing) after the break!

Samsung smashes the 830 series with the 840 Pro

Subject: Storage | September 25, 2012 - 05:02 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, 840 Pro 512GB, 840, mdx, pro, ssd

Allyn wasn't the only one blown away by the performance and efficiency increase of the new Samsung 840 Pro 512GB SSD, anyone who had a chance to review this drive saw incredible performance.  It is not yet available for purchase but you can expect to see the 256G at $270 and this 512GB at around $600 when they do become available.  Inside the 3-core eight channel MDX controller is paired with eight 64GB modules of Samsung’s new 21nm MLC DDR-2 toggle mode NAND, which give this drive its incredible speed.  SSD Reviews came to the same conclusion that Al did, we need a new interface as SATA 6Gb/s is already being saturated by high end SSDs.

DSC00689.JPG

"Our report on the Samsung 840 Pro SSD begins post take off from Pearson Int’l Airport in Toronto and on route to Seoul, South Korea. Having had this SSD in our hands for some time, even the enormity of the Samsung 840 family release celebration cannot overshadow the performance of what just might be the hottest solid state drive to hit the streets to date. How does just under an extra hour laptop life and 100,000 IOPS grab you to start?"

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: SSD Review

The media might last a million years, what about the reader?

Subject: General Tech, Storage | September 25, 2012 - 01:19 PM |
Tagged: hitachi, foresight

Hitachi has created a sliver of quartz glass 2cm square and 2mm thick with the storage density of a CD, 40MB/in2 which they claim will remain viable for millions of years.  Even radiation, water, most chemicals and heat above 1000C will not damage the data stored on this chip and in theory dropping it shouldn't hurt it too much either.  Long term storage is a real problem, in some cases paper documents have a better chance of surviving long term in a readable state than do optical or magnetic media.  That doesn't even bring readers into the loop, there are many obsolete formats which cannot be read by current readers and finding an old working Zip drive is not an easy task.  Hitachi told The Register that they foresee no problems increasing storage density which is good considering the size of crystal you would need for large sized storage.  As long as someone can read the binary etched into the glass they would recognize that there was data stored there, on the other hand what is the likelihood they would be running a compatible file system.  At least the data will still be there which is more than you can say for the vast majority of storage media used today.

ElReg_hitachi_glass_storage.jpg

"Company researchers displayed the storage unit, consisting of a sliver of glass 2cm square and 2mm thick, which can hold 40MB of data per square inch, about the same as a standard CD. The data is written in binary format by lasering dots on the glass in four layers, but the researchers say adding more layers to increase storage density isn't a problem."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Samsung Launches New 840, 840 Pro SSD Series at Global SSD Summit

Subject: Storage | September 23, 2012 - 10:00 PM |
Tagged: ssd, Samsung, pro, mdx, 840

Good morning from Seoul, Korea!

620805_10151209317846830_1723132250_o.jpg

I'm here at the Samsung Global SSD Summit, where Samsung has officially launched their 840 Series of SSDs. This new controller features many advancements which enable it to climb past 100,000 IOPS in random reads (!!!). Samsung also claims peaks of 90,000 IOPS in random writes. These are seriously high numbers for any SATA SSD, and we will be publishing our full review of the 840 Pro once the NDA lifts later this evening (tomorrow morning for everyone back in the states).

photo 1.JPG

Unfortunately there is nothing more I can disclose at this time, but stay tuned for more info! While all of you are sleeping tonight, I will be attending several briefings covering the 840, and those juicy tidbits will all be filtered into our review, so don't miss this one!

photo 2.JPG

Press Blast after the break:

HGST Working With Helium To Inflate Hard Drive Capacities

Subject: Storage | September 19, 2012 - 11:27 AM |
Tagged: western digital, WD, patter density, hitachi, hgst, helium, Hard Drive, 6tb

Western Digital-owned Hitachi Global Storage (HGST) recently announced that it is pursuing the mass production of helium-filled hard drives. The culmination of six-plus years of research and development, Hitachi’s engineers have come up with a workable solution to craft a sealed enclosure to contain the helium and internal drive hardware over the long term and in a way that can be mass produced. While the company is not ready to talk specifics or announce individual products, HGST (Western Digital) is going on record in stating that its helium-filled “hard drive platform” will offer up performance, power efficiency, and capacity improvements in a 3.5" form factor (with up to seven platters) sometime in 2013.

helium hard drives.jpg

Don't try this at home folks, it won't actually work :).

The current crop of hard drives have small holes on the top to allow air pressure equalization, as the drives are not a fully-sealed design (and is why dunking them in oil is a bad idea). The proposed helium-filled hard drives would change that design, by being fully sealed from the outside environment after being filled with the noble gas. Steve Campbell, CTO at HGST stated the following in the company's press release:

 “The benefits of operating a HDD with helium fill have been known for a long time. The breakthrough is in the product and process design, which seals the helium inside the HDD enclosure cost effectively in high-volume manufacturing,”

But why exactly is helium better for hard drives? In short, the gas is one-seventh (1/7) as dense as the air around us. This reduction in density allows for the platters to spin faster, or at the same spindle speeds at today's drives while experiencing less resistance and turbulance from versus an air-filled hard drive. Thanks to the reduced drag force, Hitachi can pack the platters closer together, which means that it can place more platters into the 3.5" hard drive form factor than ever before – up to seven with the current design. Further, the motor does not have to work as hard to drive the platters which results in quieter operation and more power savings. HGST also claims that using helium allows for better thermal conductivity, and allows the helium-filled hard drives to run up to 4°C cooler than an equivalently-configured air-equalized drive. Granted, 4°C is not that much of an improvement when looking at a single drive (or even a few in a desktop system), but it can add up to some decent cooling savings when these drives are utilized in datacenters.

Hitachi Global Storage does not yet have any specific products to announce publicly, but the company did offer up a few performance numbers that certainly seem promising – an in line with the company's goal of reducing the "total cost of ownership," or TCO. In addition tot he temperature improvements, the company claims up to 23% power reduction versus air. And when HGST factors in its seven-platter design, they have managed to bring the Watts-per-Terabyte (W/TB) 45% versus current drives. Assuming the helium-aided hard drives use the same (or more) amount of platter area as the company's previous drives, Hitachi/Western Digital could offer up to 7TB hard drives when combined with the company's 1TB per platter areal density improvements.

It has the potential to get even better, however. Should the engineers be able to integrate Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) – similar to what Seagate is pursuing – helium hard drives could offer up approximately 85TB 3.5" drives thanks to the additional two platters. Previously, Seagate envisioned up to 60TB HAMR hard drives in the 3.5" form factor. Those numbers are fairly far off in the future (and theoretical), however. On the other hand, Seagate believes that 6TB HAMR hard drives are reasonably close to public consumption, and if a HAMR drive could also benefit from the extra platters, potential spindle speed improvements, and power savings of using helium, I think 8TB+ is not out of the question while using less power than a traditional air-equalized (not sealed) 6TB HAMR-equipped hard drive.

Extremetech does bring up an interestng point about pricing, though. Mainly that helium is much more expensive than simply using the air around us! And as it is used up, it will only get more expensive, which are likely costs that will be passed onto consumers. Fortunately, it should not be too much of a premium that customers would have to pay (over a traditional hard drive) because a 3.5" hard drive will need only a small amount of the helium gas to realize the benefits, according to PC Perspective's resident storage guru Allyn Malventano.

What do you think about the prospects of a heluim-filled hard drive? Will we see such devices within our lifetimes, and just how much will these things cost? I suppose we'll have to wait until next year to find out!

Source: HGST

Hynix does Sandforce SSDs as well as LAMD

Subject: Storage | September 17, 2012 - 07:34 PM |
Tagged: Hynix, Strontium Hawk Series, ssd, SandForce SF-2281, synchronous NAND

Hynix jumped into the world of SSDs with the first model containing a LAMD controller, their Neutron series.  Obviously Hynix are not limiting themselves to that controller as the release of the new Strontium Hawk series demonstrates, with the well known SF-2281 controller making an appearance.  When the SSD Review began their testing they expected results in line with other SandForce based drives but soon found themselves very pleasantly surprised.  With compressed data, this drive surpassed other 120GB models and kept up with some 240GB models, a very impressive feat but not as impressive as the results they saw when checking out the incompressible data benchmarks.  It would seem that Hynix has found a way to beef up performance in a way no other SandForce drive has managed yet.  This review is well worth checking out.

SSDR_SSDFront1.jpg

"The production of a non-LAMD based SSD for Hynix is actually not that shocking as an exclusive contract between Corsair and LAMD was in place long before the Hynix purchase. The length of this contract is not known, however, it accounts for probably one of the smartest moves made by Corsair to date. The performance of their newly released LAMD controlled Neutron Series has taken the industry by storm and can be seen in our recent review of both the Neutron and Neutron GTX."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: SSD Review

IDF 2012: Western Digital shows off 5mm Hybrid HDD

Subject: Storage | September 12, 2012 - 02:08 PM |
Tagged: idf, idf 2012, western digital, wdc, 5mm, hybrid hdd

At the Technology Showcase yesterday during IDF I got see in person the new Western Digital hybrid hard drives that will combine a single platter spinning disk with a NAND flash for a hybrid solution at under 5mm thick.

wdc2.jpg

You can see that is barely enough z-height for a standard installation screw and this will really help get larger amounts of storage into thinner devices.  WD will have it available in 500GB and 1TB versions though the 1TB model will come in a slightly higher 7mm variety. 

wdc1.jpg

The WD Blue models will be spinning disk only while the WD Black will combine as much as 32GB of flash memory but it could vary based on the specific OEM request and considerations. 

wdc3.jpg

Another requirement of this new form factor is the need for a new connector, conveniently named SFF-8038, that handles both power and data. 

We are still waiting for pricing information, but another wave of hybrid technology looks to be on its way!

OCZ Vector SSD Spotted - Indilinx Barefoot 3 Controller

Subject: Storage | September 11, 2012 - 09:48 PM |
Tagged: ocz, idf, idf 2012, vector, ssd, Indilinx, barefoot 3

While wandering around San Francisco today, I was stopped by a stranger on the corner of Market and 4th to show me something he found outside the convention hall.  It LOOKS like an SSD PCB but what do you think?

1.jpg

What you have here is a the internals of a new OCZ Technology SSD brand called Vector that will sit ABOVE the Vertex 4 in the product stack.  This SSD uses the as yet unreleased Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller.

2.jpg

The drive should be available sometime in Q4 of this year and it marks the first complete Indilinx controller design - no Marvell or other third party intellectual property to be found.

That's all we know for now but you can be sure we'll have the details as they are released!!

Western Digital Hybrid Hard Drives: 5mm 500GB Sampling

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Storage | September 10, 2012 - 05:50 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, ssd caching, ssd, Hard Drive

Western Digital has been sampling 5mm-thin 2.5” hard drives designed for Ultrabooks. They have currently announced partnerships with Acer and ASUS to include these drives in future ultrathin laptops. Western Digital has currently only listed capacities of 500GB for the spindle portion of the drive but no word how much MLC flash will be included to cache most used files. The product will be discussed during the company’s investor day on the 13th of this month.

At this stage SSDs are pretty much the missing link to a fast and responsive computer.

Prices have dropped to under one dollar per gigabyte ($1/GB) a few months ago with some models reaching 70c/GB – and those are the good ones too. The massive drop in price is still about an order of magnitude more expensive than spindle hard drives and consumers are using whatever space they can get. Several solutions exist to balance the speed of SSDs with the storage effectiveness of HDDs.

One solution is to include both in a single drive and keep the most used data in the SSD cache. Western Digital has just released samples of 5mm-thin hybrid hard drives for OEMs to put in extremely thin laptops.

I wonder if they're feeling chip-er...

Users who purchase laptops often have the mistaken assumption that a faster processor directly leads to increased response. That is certainly the case when comparing an Intel Atom to an i5 – but an i3 will probably spend just as much time idle and awaiting instructions from the hard drive as an i5 would.

Western Digital has not broken the SSD market despite their long success with spindle storage. It makes sense that Western Digital will push into the market with the starting point from which they are most comfortable. Western Digital has been shipping SSDs for over two-and-a-half years at this point but never really gained any traction.

It looks like Western Digital is realizing that they need to mix SSDs with what they know best and do something innovative to get a unique hook in the market – buying just a little more time.

The drive which has been announced today will contain a storage capacity of 500GB with an undisclosed amount of MLC NAND flash memory caching the most used data. The hook to differentiate themselves from other hybrid hard drives is its size: 5mm compared to the more common 9.5mm.

The Ultrabook market could be a lucrative wave to ride for the time being and give them even more capital to invest future SSDs. Hopefully they will not wait for solid state storage to creep up on them twice. Fool you once…

Western Digital is expected to discuss and showcase this product more at their Western Digital Investor Day on this Thursday, September 13th, 2012.

Corsair's newest SSD is the bomb!

Subject: Storage | September 7, 2012 - 08:24 PM |
Tagged: LAMD, Amber, corsair, neutron

The new kid in the SSD controller wars is LAMD, or Link_A_Media which is paired with 256GB of IMFT 25nm NAND in the new Corsair Neutron SSD.  [H]ard|OCP loved what they saw, the lowest recorded latency in their max read tests and their max write tests.  This great result may not shock those of you who have encountered LAMD in the past, they have provided enterprise class products for a long time now, they are only new to the consumer/enthusiast market.  Check out the next great SSD controller on the market, which will hopefully drive Indilinx, Intel and Sandforce to better their upcoming controllers.

H_Neutron.jpg

"Corsair innovates as the first company to market a consumer LAMD controlled SSD. While the Corsair line currently utilizes both of the highest performing controllers on the market, the new LAMD controller has generated more than its fair share of interest, so we take a look and see how the newest entrant to the SSD realm fares."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Deal for September 4th - Plextor 256GB SSD for $195

Subject: General Tech, Storage | September 4, 2012 - 06:11 PM |
Tagged: ssd, plextor, deal of the day

Today's deal comes from TigerDirect and will allow you jump on the SSD bandwagon for a more than reasonable price.  How does a 256GB Plextor M5 series SSD for just $195 with free shipping sound? 

deal0904.png

Source: LogicBuy

Western Digital Releases 2TB Thunderbolt-connected My Book VelociRaptor Duo

Subject: Storage | August 30, 2012 - 10:49 PM |
Tagged: western digital, WD, VelociRaptor, my book, duo

We took a look at the 1TB VelociRaptor back in April. Well now Western Digital went and stuck a pair of them into an oversized My Book chassis, connected it via Thunderbolt, and voala:

vraptor_duo.jpg

This is a nice little external storage device that can be configured as a RAID 0 or 1. My Book Duos can even be daisychained to support RAID 10! Daisychaining allows up to four My Book Duos to be connected simultaneously. The price is a bit steep, but seems to be in-line with other Thunderbolt enabled products. More to follow once we get a sample in for review!