Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Western Digital

Introduction and Packaging

Introduction:

Last October, Western Digital launched the My Cloud. This device was essentially a network connected version of their My Book line of external hard drives, but with Internet connectivity and apps that could reach back to the My Cloud even when you were away from home. One month later, WD launched the My Cloud EX4, a much beefier version which supported redundant arrays of 4 hard disks, redundant network and power, and a load of other features. There was a rather large gap in features between these two devices, as the only RAID option was more of a small business one. Today Western Digital closed that gap:

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The My Cloud EX2 is essentially a My Cloud, but with dual drive bays, and a few additional features. Check out this projected trend below:

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You can see there was a definite void in the 2-drive range that needed filling. With those two drives, you get a few options for redundancy or capacity+speed:

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All standard RAID options for a 2-bay appliance are met here, though the vast majority of users should opt for the default RAID-1 mirrored set.

 

Packaging:

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Packaging is simple here with only a power adapter, ethernet cable, and quick start guide needed.

Read on for more on Western Digital's new My Cloud EX2!

Overclocked SSDs are fast but also power hungry

Subject: Storage | February 27, 2014 - 02:22 PM |
Tagged: SSD 730, ssd, Intel, Overclocked

Today marks the release of the first overclocked SSD to hit the market, the Intel 730 which is based on the SSD DC S3500 and SSD DC S3700 series for data centers.  As these were drives specifically crafted for the datacenter they were both more expensive than consumer models and were optimized for completely different uses.  The new Intel 730 drive is overclocked, the NAND functions at 600MHz compared to the DC's 400MHz and the cache RAM speed is jumped up to 100MHz from 83MHz.  The Tech Report discovered that extra frequency comes at a price, the wattage consumed by this drive is significantly higher than just about any other SSD they have reviewed, no wonder Intel labels this as specifically for desktops.

Make sure to check out Allyn's fresh off the presses review of this drive and don't let his temperature readings shock you too much.

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"Intel's new 730 Series desktop SSD is rather unique. It's based on the company's datacenter drives, it has an extra flash die onboard, and the controller and NAND are both clocked well beyond their usual speeds. We take a closer look."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

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Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Intel
Tagged: SSD 730, ssd, Intel

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging

Introduction:

Intel launched their first consumer SSD more than five years ago. Their very first SSD, the X25-M, might have gotten off to a bit of a rocky start, but once the initial bugs were worked out, it proved to be an excellent example of what a 3Gb/sec SATA SSD was capable of. While the competition was using 4 or 8 flash channels, Intel ran circles around them with their 10-channel controller. It was certainly a great concept, and it most definitely had legs. The very same controller, with only minor tweaks, was able to hold its own all the way through into the enterprise sector, doing so even though the competition was moving to controllers capable of twice the throughput (SATA 6Gb/sec).

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The various iterations featuring Intel's 10-channel controller, spanning the 20GB cache SSD (left), original X25M and X25-E (center), and  finally X25-M G2, SSD 320, and SSD 710 (right).

While the older controller was extremely nimble, it was bottlenecked by a slower interface than the competition, who had all moved to the more modern SATA 6Gb/sec link. Intel also moved into this area, but not with their own native controller silicon. The SSD 510 launched in 2011 equipped with a Marvell controller, followed by the SSD 520, launched in 2012 with a SandForce controller. While Intel conjured up their own firmware for these models, their own older and slower controller was still more nimble and reliable than those other solutions, proven by the fact that the SSD 710, an enterprise-spec SSD using the older 10-channel controller, was launched in tandem with the consumer SSD 510.

Fast forward to mid-2013, where Intel finally introduced their own native SATA 6Gb/s solution. This controller dropped the channel count to a more standard figure of 8, and while it did perform well, it was only available in Intel's new enterprise 'Data Center' line of SSDs. The SSD DC S3500 and SSD DC S3700 (reviewed here) were great drives, but they were priced too high for consumers. While preparing that review, I remember saying how that controller would be a great consumer unit if they could just make it cheaper and tune it for standard workloads. It appears that wish has just been granted. behold the Intel SSD 730:

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Continue reading our review of the Intel SSD 730!!

Western Digital launches surveillance-oriented WD Purple series of 3.5" HDDs

Subject: Storage | February 25, 2014 - 08:00 AM |
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, surveillance, Purple

Western Digital has several lines of hard disks to choose from. You have Greens, Blues, Blacks, enterprise RE's, and even ones named after dinosaurs. Then came a mix of RE and GP in the form of the RE4-GP. Then came the Red series, which carried some more of the enterprisey features from the RE series over into a NAS-tailored drive that sipped power like a Green. Then there was the AV-GP which took a green and tweaked the firmware to better handle multiple video streams being read to and written from the disk simultaneously.

You'd figure they had every possible angle covered, but apparently there was a hole to fill. Turns out the home / small business surveillance market is a bit of a big deal. We're talking about those security systems you see capturing 16 or even 32 video streams simultaneously. Add the fact that these larger systems tend to store their streams to a RAID as opposed to a single disk. What was needed was a drive capable of handling a greater number of simultaneous streams than an AV-GP, while also carrying over the RAID features of the Red, and doing so without driving costs into the enterprise territory of the SE/RE.

Behold the solution:

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The WD Purple is an Advanced Format HDD that is optimized for recording up to 32 HD video streams simultaneously:

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Writing 32 separate streams to a hard drive would usually lead to the heads thrashing about, trying to keep up with what appears to be random writes. The Purple has much smarter firmware that has been tuned for this specific purpose (seen above maintaining 50% idle time while handling 32 HD streams). While these firmware optimizations would hurt performance in normal consumer use, for heavy surveillance usage, this is likely the closest you can get to SSD performance for this application - without high cost/GB of using solid state as a solution to such a capacity hungry problem.

Speaking of cost/GB, Purple drives are quite reasonable, starting at $89 for 1TB up to $199 for the flagship 4TB capacity.

Press blast after the break:

Toshiba Launching HG6 SSD Series In Multiple Form Factors

Subject: Storage | February 21, 2014 - 01:49 PM |
Tagged: toshiba, toggle NAND, M.2, hg6, 19nm

Toshiba has announced a new series of solid state drives under it's own brand. Called the HG6, the new Toshiba drives come in 2.5," mSATA, and M.2 form factors and range in capacity from 60GB to 512GB. Despite the acquisition of OCZ, it appears that Toshiba will continue to produce drives internally and under the Toshiba name.

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The new Toshiba HG6 SSDs are aimed at both consumer and business use with multiple form factors to allow the drives to be used in ultrabooks, desktops, and servers. The drives will be available in 2.5" SATA 6Gbps (7mm and 9.5mm), mSATA, and the newer M.2 specification. The drives use Toshiba's 19nm Toggle 2.0 MLC NAND flash. Toshiba has not release random read/write numbers, but claims that the drives achieve up to 534 MB/s sequential reads and 482 MB/s sequential writes.

Enterprise friendly features include QSBC ECC (Quadruple Swing-By Code error correction) and TCG opal 2.0 compatible self encryption.

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The Toshiba HG6 SSD series will be available in March 2014. The company has not yet released pricing information on the new drives, however.

Source: Toshiba

LaCie Ships Industry's First 5TB External Hard Drive

Subject: Storage | February 20, 2014 - 02:37 PM |
Tagged: LaCie, external drive, 5TB, thunderbolt

That didn't take very long, Toshiba just announced their 5TB drive and now LaCie has announced an external drive with 5TB of storage.  You will need Thunderbolt to properly interface with it, perhaps a good thing for users since transferring 5TB over USB 2.0 is not the most enjoyable experience.  This also means you can pick up the 5 bay model called 5big and have 25TB of external storage available for you.

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CUPERTINO, CA – Today, LaCie announced the availability of 5TB, 7200 rpm hard–drive capacities in its 5big Thunderbolt Series, 2big Thunderbolt Series and d2 Thunderbolt Series. Delivering external storage products that range from 5TB single drive systems to 25TB RAID solutions boosts storage capacity by 20 percent. This increase showcases the company's commitment to provide the fastest, highest capacity storage solutions on the market.

Increasingly larger file formats for film and photography have driven the demand for more storage capacity. The availability of 5TB hard drives enables LaCie to deliver significantly more storage capacity in its same compact desktop designs. This saves professionals valuable desktop space.

LaCie's 5big Thunderbolt now features a capacity of up to 25TB, which makes it the largest 5–bay storage solution on the market. Combined with industry–leading speeds up to 785 MB/s*, it is the ideal product for video professionals to pair with a Thunderbolt–enabled computer, like the new Mac Pro, to drive 4K workflows. Photography professionals will appreciate the larger capacities of the d2 Thunderbolt and 2big Thunderbolt, with the same fast transfer speeds and responsive photo browsing that they depend on from these products.

The new capacities are also available on the LaCie 2big Quadra and d2 Quadra storage solutions. All products can be purchased at the LaCie Online Store and LaCie Resellers.

Source: LaCie

When size trumps speed; the WD Black 4TB HDD

Subject: Storage | February 17, 2014 - 03:35 PM |
Tagged: western digital, Black, 4TB, hdd

There are still many times when having a huge amount of storage at a low price is more important than having the speed of an SSD and the Western Digitial Black family of drives is perfect for those scenarios.  This 7200RPM HDD has five 800GB platters and a 64MB cache in the 4TB model TechARP reviewed though you can get smaller models if you so desire.  While the drive will not compete against and SSD you can see in the review that this drive tops the other platter based models performance by a noticeable margin.  If you need a large amount of space but can't pay around $1.00/GB then don't forget that HDDs are also still evolving.

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"The new-generation Western Digital Black family differs from the previous generation by its use of Advanced Format Technology, which allows for greater capacity and throughput. The new Western Digital Black family now consists of five models, which differ only in their storage capacities."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: TechARP

Toshiba Goes up to 5TB with Enterprise 3.5-inch HDDs

Subject: General Tech, Storage | February 16, 2014 - 03:37 AM |
Tagged: toshiba, hdd, 5TB

We may see an internal hard drive with up to 5TB of storage from Toshiba. This is an enterprise SKU but, either way, it is a step beyond the tyranny of 3TB models dotted with 4TB options at a higher price per gigabyte. For example, Newegg.com lists a 3TB Caviar Green at $114 with the 4TB version going for $164.

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You might just be, Toshiba. You might just be.

The push to 3TB was fairly difficult, due mostly to software limitations in addressing more than about 2.2TB per drive. 3TB was uncommon for internal storage, although external USB drives avoided the issue. And then came the flood. Back in 2011, disastrous flooding exploded prices of hard drives. The world was cut to a fraction of its production. With standard 2TB drives over doubling in price, the industry took forever to return. Ryan, at the time (October 2011), noted that the days of 2TB for $89 would be gone for a while; that is the exact price which Newegg lists, today. Even worse, we basically did not see 4TB until almost 2013.

It is a good step, though. I hope this reaches other companies and the consumer space in reasonable time. While I am dreaming, just maybe it could push down prices on existing models? I am looking at you, 4TB disks.

Toshiba's MG04 series drives will be available in both SAS and SATA models with sizes up to 5TB. Samples will begin to ship this month.

Source: Toshiba

SSD2Go Pro on the go

Subject: Storage | February 6, 2014 - 03:01 PM |
Tagged: ssd, angelbird, SSD2Go Pro, usb 3.0

SSDs are perfect for mobility as they can be larger than USB drives and with a good controller they can saturate the USB 3.0 or eSATA bus which is good news for those filming or taking pictures on a trip.  The SSD Review has been using the Angelbird SSD2Go USB 3.0 External SSD for a long time now and it has survived quite a few trips.  The speed is also impressive, ATTO reports 533MB/s on eSATA and over 400MB/s using USB 3.0.  It also comes in snazzy colours.

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"As a bit of a personal example, we reviewed the Angelbird SSD2Go USB 3.0 External SSD last June and that SSD has since been around the world and back, and then some. Wherever my camera equipment goes, it goes."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

A second look at the TOCZshiba Vertex 460

Subject: Storage | January 24, 2014 - 03:21 PM |
Tagged: 19nm, Indilinx Barefoot, ocz, sata, ssd, vertex 460

Legit Reviews also had a chance to try out the new OCZ 460 that Al reviewed recently, on a system with a different Z77 motherboard and slightly slower processor.  Not many of the benchmarks overlap so you can gain a bit more insight into the performance of this drive before you purchase it.  In the end their conclusion is similar, this is one of the best SSDs they've encountered and should be available at a very decent price per gigabyte.

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"Legit Reviews is checking out the new OCZ Storage Solutions Vertex 460 SSD today! We received a 240GB version this time around for evaluation which is pretty much the typical size of a review sample anymore. The Vertex 460 carries the same Barefoot 3 M10 controller we saw in the Vertex 450 and is now paired with 19nm Toshiba MLC NAND. The performance specifications are impressive for what is essentially an entry-level ‘performance’ drive with reads hitting 545MB/s max and 525MB/s writes max. Read on to see how it performs!"

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Storage