Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Various

Introduction

Back in 2006, storage tech talk was intermittently buzzy with a few different innovations. One was wrapped around the pending release of Windows Vista, particularly two bullets on its feature list: ReadyBoost and ReadyDrive. In parallel with all of the Ready_____ talk, many tech pundits asked why it would be necessary to have the flash talk to Windows through special drivers. Why couldn't the flash memory just act like a larger RAM cache already present on?

samsung.jpg

A prototype ReadyBoost-enabled HDD by Samsung.

The answer, which nobody was aware of at that time, was that management of flash memory was a tricky thing to do successfully. It would not be until several years later that SSD's would (mostly) beat the issues of Long Term Performance and other issues that crop up when attempting to store randomly written data onto a device that can only be erased in relatively large blocks.

ReadyDrive required a special 'Hybrid' disk drive to be connected to and recognized by Windows Vista, containing both spinning platters and flash memory. Vista would then place frequently used small files on the flash. Since flash memory has negligible access times when compared to seek times of a HDD, the drive overall would boot significantly faster. Other tasks using those cached system files also saw a benefit. While ReadyDrive looked great on paper, there were very few devices ever released that could take advantage of it. Seagate was the earliest to release such a drive, and their Momentus 5400 PSD laptop drive did not see the light of day until Vista was nearly a full year old.

Continue reading our roundup of the best hybrid storage solutions on the market today!!

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: OCZ

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging

Introduction

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.

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Specifications

  • 128GB Max Performance
Max Read: up to 535MB/s
Max Write: up to 170MB/s
Random Write 4KB: 7,700 IOPS
Random Read 4KB: 37,000 IOPS
  • 256GB Max Performance
Max Read: up to 535MB/s
Max Write: up to 270MB/s
Random Write 4KB: 12,000 IOPS
Random Read 4KB: 37,000 IOPS
  • 512GB Max Performance
Max Read: up to 535MB/s
Max Write: up to 400MB/s
Random Write 4KB: 16,000 IOPS
Random Read 4KB: 37,000 IOPS
  • 1TB Max Performance
Max Read: up to 560MB/s
Max Write: up to 400MB/s
Random Write 4KB: 19,500 IOPS
Random Read 4KB: 45,000 IOPS
 
Yes, you read that right. 1TB - in a 2.5" form factor SSD! HDD's hit this mark not too long ago, and while a 1TB Octane will most certainly cost a pretty penny, there's something to be said for SSD's so rapidly catching up to HDD's for a given form factor.

 

block diagram pic.png

Here's a basic block diagram of the new Everest controller from Indilinx. All of the usual bits are present, of particular note being the ability to drive 8 channels, with each channel rated at 4-way. This should mean an Everest could theoretically drive 32 flash chips.

Continue reading our review of OCZ's new Octane Indilinx Everest 512GB SSD!

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: OCZ Technology
Tagged: z-drive, ssd, r4, pcie, pci-e, ocz

Introduction

Introduction:

Back in June of last year, OCZ released the RevoDrive, followed up rather quickly by the RevoDrive x2. A further jump was made with the introduction of VCA 2.0 architecture with the RevoDrive 3 and 3 x2. Each iteration pushed the envelope further as better implementations of VCA were introduced, using faster and greater numbers of PCIe channels, linked to faster and greater numbers of SandForce controllers.

While the line of RevoDrives was tailored more towards power users and mild server use, OCZ has taken their VCA 2.0 solution to the next level entirely, putting their sights on full blown enterprise purposing. With that, we introduce the OCZ Z-Drive R4:

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Continue to the full review for all the details!

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: OCZ Technology
Tagged: ssd, PCIe SSD, pcie, ocz

Introduction

Introduction:

Back in June of last year, OCZ released the RevoDrive, followed up rather quickly by the RevoDrive x2. Both models represented a new way of economically bundling multiple SSD controllers behind an integrated RAID solution. This broke the mold for storage, as the vast majority of end users were stuck with the common 2.5" form factor SATA SSD (as well as trying to figure out where to put one inside their desktop case full of 3.5" drive bays). Since all desktops had PCIe slots, the Revo concept just seemed to make sense.

Now on the 1-year mark since the original Revo, we have the RevoDrive 3. OCZ has opted to skip the staggering of releases and is also releasing the 4-channel version, the RevoDrive 3 x2. Today we will be looking at the latter, in 480GB form factor. Here's a look at the new silicon:

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Continue to the full review for all the details!

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: OCZ Technology
Tagged: ssd, sata, sandforce, ocz, 6Gb

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging

Introduction

Just over a month ago, OCZ released the Vertex 3, an immediate follow-up to the Vertex 3 Pro. At the time they promised an even cheaper solution at some point down the line. We've now seen that come to pass. Following the same convention as with the last series, the lower cost solution will be called the Agility 3. This is meant to be a mid-grade performance drive, as there is to also be a 'Solid 3' model on the horizon, but for today we'll focus on the new Agility.

Specifications

60GB Max Performance*

  • Max Read: up to 525MB/s
  • Max Write: up to 475MB/s
  • Random Write 4KB: 50,000 IOPS
  • Maximum 4K Random Write: 80,000 IOPS

120GB Max Performance*

  • Max Read: up to 525MB/s
  • Max Write: up to 500MB/s
  • Random Write 4KB: 50,000 IOPS
  • Maximum 4K Random Write: 85,000 IOPS

240GB Max Performance*

  • Max Read: up to 525MB/s
  • Max Write: up to 500MB/s
  • Random Write 4KB: 45,000 IOPS
  • Maximum 4K Random Write: 85,000 IOPS

    *Max performance achieved using Native SATA 6Gbps chipset. Please refer to product sheet for additional performance metrics.

Their * note is very important. You won't be able to hit the best possible performance marks without using these newest SATA 6Gb/sec drives in conjunction with native SATA 6Gb/sec storage controllers. There are just too many bottlenecks and other irregularities seen with the aftermarket / add-on solutions at this time, and they just can't stack up against a good native chipset implementation.

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Intel

Introduction

For the past few months, we've seen rumors upon rumors of a hybrid combination of the H67 and P67 chipsets into a 'Z' series. As the storage editor, I don't normally focus on a chipset update unless there is a corresponding increase in SATA bus speeds and/or ports available on the newer product.

This time things were different. While the Z series had the same SATA bandwidth specs as its older brothers, there was an extra feature that was rather huge in the storage world: Smart Response Technology.

Z68-blockdiagram.gif

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Intel
Tagged:

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging

Less than a month after the introduction of the 510 Series SSD, Intel has released the 320 Series. This is essentially a 'G3' X25-M, running at the usual SATA 3Gb/sec speeds. While it won't be as fast in a straight line as the 510 series, the 320 has the extremely nimble 10-channel controller under its belt. Check out our review to see how it fared against the competition, as well as against the other Intel models.

Introduction:   
 
Today we take a look at the third generation of Intel's native SSD controller solution. What started life as the X25-M series has now been dubbed the 320 Series. This falls in line with Intel's new naming scheme, where all SSD lines get some form of a 3-digit number. 3xx Series are SATA 3Gb/sec, while 5xx Series are 6Gb/sec.
 
The X25-M series got off to a shaky start in life, as the initial shipping version was plagued by some long-term fragmentation issues discovered by yours truly. The plague was short lived, thankfully, as Intel stepped up to the plate and corrected these problems in firmware. The second generation model was released without a hiccup, but the addition of TRIM support via firmware saw some problems as well. Those were eventually ironed out and all was good once again.
 
Last month we saw Intel launch the 510 Series. The unit did not live up to our expectations from an Intel controller - mostly because an Intel controller it was not. Just as they were blind sighted and rushed a 6Gb/sec motherboard solution to the market, Intel did the same with the 510, opting for a Marvell controller. Sure they worked some of their own firmware magic into it, but there is only so much you can squeeze out of a given piece of hardware. Their Sandy Bridge launch did not go so great either, as some of our readers are still getting their motherboards replaced with correctly functioning B3 versions.
 
The 320 Series boasts 25nm flash memory. PC Perspective got a first hand look at 25nm production early last year. We had been waiting for this memory to make an appearance in an Intel part, and our wait is finally over. To revisit what 25nm flash does for us, check out this pic:
 
 
 
From left: 130nm (128MB) in 2003, 90nm (512MB) in 2005, 50nm (1GB) in 2007,
34nm (4GB) in 2009, and finally 25nm (8GB) flash now being produced at IMFT.
To the far right is the now standard flash memory TSOP packaging.
 
A single die of 25nm flash holds a whopping 8GB. While multiple dies can be stacked inside each chip package, the more you stack, the greater chance a failed part will cause a TSOP to be considered bad during the production process. For this reason, larger die capacities and fewer dies per chip make things cheaper to produce all around. This should make for some competitive pricing as well.

 
 
Specifications:





An important note: the 320 series, while packaged and sold to consumers, is also rated for enterprise use. This is the first MLC based Intel SSD to make such a claim. The ratings above were for consumer applications. Here are the ratings for enterprise usage where the drive will see heavy random writes spread across 100% of the available drive capacity:
 
 
Intel is failing *way* conservative, assuming no use of TRIM and 100% of the drive full of 4k random writes. This would make many other SSD's choke completely, so I'm shocked to see Intel be brave enough to even provide such a rating. I hit our sample really hard for half a day and was not able to get IOPS to fall as far as their rating.

Packaging:
 
  
 
Our 320 series sample came in the standard OEM packaging with the new style of sticker. The retail packaging comes with a CD and 3.5" adapter bracket in the box.
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Intel
Tagged:

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging

Today we take a look at the newly released Intel 510 Series SSD. This is Intel's first SATA 6Gb/sec offering. They chose to go with a non-Intel branded controller, which took us by surprise to say the least. Can Intel's SSD gurus transform a previously competing controller into something that can compete with their previous 10-channel monsters?

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: OCZ Technology
Tagged:

Introduction and Specifications

Another week, and another Vertex 3 release from OCZ! This time we take a look at the consumer oriented model, with more usable space and a promise of comparable performance. How will this new model really stack up against the enterprise-grade workhorse?

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: OCZ Technology
Tagged:

Introduction and Specifications

Today we take a look at the first OCZ drive to hit the SATA 6Gb/sec mark - the Vertex 3 Pro. We break in our SandyBridge testbed to try and unlock the full potential of this new SandForce controlled SSD. Come on in for the full scoop on this exciting new drive!

Author:
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Zalman
Tagged:

Introduction and Specifications

One new product Zalman added to their lineup in late in 2010 was the ZM-MH200 dual hard drive docking station. This docking station supports 3.5" and 2.5" SATA drives as well as other storage components like micro SD cards, regular SD cards, and USB 2.0 devices.

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Samsung SSD
Tagged:

Introduction and Specifications

Today we take a look at Samsung's newest offering - the 470 Series SSD. This drive sports a new controller with some very promising specs. Our storage guru goes on a seek and destroy mission to see if any weaknesses present in the older generation SSD's. Check out or full review for the scoop.

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Kingston
Tagged:

Introduction and Internals

Today we take a look at the new Kingston HyperX Max 3.0 external SSD. This drive connects via USB 3.0 and performs quite well. Once cracked open, we discovered the internals are identical to that of the Kingston SSDNow V+ second generation series of (internal) SSD's, sporting the Toshiba HG2 series controller.

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Viking
Tagged:

Introduction

Viking Modular Solutions is a producer of various lines of DIMM and SSD products. With that, they have combined the power of a SandForce SSD with the packaging of a DIMM to create the SATADIMM. This little guy takes its power (and space) from a standard DIMM slot and connects to the system via a standard SATA 3Gb/sec. This makes it perfect for enterprise applications (think 1U server rack-mount chassis). Come check out this innovative solution!

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: OCZ Technology
Tagged:

Introduction, Packaging and Specifications

Today Allyn looks at the next iteration of the OCZ RevoDrive - the x2! This new card opens up two more channels of throughput over the RevoDrive, demonstrating how well the SI RAID solution can scale with quad-Sandforce units behind it.

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Western Digital
Tagged:

Introduction

2.5 and 3.0 TB is here! Western Digital has pushed internal 3.5" drive capacity to 3 TB, breaking past the 2 TB barrier. Pushing platter density to 750 GB is quite an achievement, but taking a single HDD past 2^32 available sectors introduces some serious compatibility issues at both the OS and driver level.

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: OCZ Technology
Tagged:

Introduction and Packaging

Today we take a look at OCZ's newest offering in next generation Solid State Storage technology, coupled with a completely new take on storage interface technology. When USB3.0 and even SATA 6Gb/sec are not fast enough, just invent something new!

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: 3DCOOL
Tagged:

Introduction

This week our storage guru takes a look at the PhotoFast GBox mini. THis little device converts from USB3.0 to SATA, so you can transfer data from externally attached SSD's and 2.5" HDD's at lightning speed.

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Corsair Components
Tagged:

Introduction and Packaging

Since the release of the revamped and larger capacity OCZ Agility 2, other manufacturers of Sandforce-based SSD's have followed suit on the quest for less flash over-provisioning. Today we look at current offerings from Corsair, OWC, and Patriot.

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: General
Tagged:

Part 1 of 3 - Intel, Sandforce

** Updated 07 Jul 2010 ** Tired of bouncing back and forth between review sites, manufacturer sites, and retailers in search of your next SSD? Allyn has compiled a huge list of all current and popular SSD's, grouped by controller type, manufacturer, and model.