Heavy peta-ing; fondling SSDs in a bad way

Subject: Storage | January 10, 2014 - 12:37 PM |
Tagged: ssd, petabyte, SSD test, endurance

The Tech Report's attempts to test SSDs to destruction have hit the 500TB mark, with three two-bit MLC NAND drives and one three-bit TLC model all trying to survive.  They are using raw SMART data to keep track of sectors reallocated from the spare area to replace flash which has died due to repeated usage.  So far the Samsung 840 with its three bit TLC has suffered the most loss of sectors but like the other drives it has not shown much performance degradation.  There have been a few other bumps in the road during the tests, check out the full story here.

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"Our SSD Endurance Experiment has reached the half-petabyte mark, so it's time for another checkup."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

CES 2014: Gigabyte BRIX MAX is Haswell based Android NAS Device

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2014 - 02:31 PM |
Tagged: CES, CES 2014, gigabyte, brix, brix max, haswell, Android, NAS

While browsing the Gigabyte suite at CES I came across a very interesting new product from Gigabyte that falls into the Brix family.  The Brix Max is a larger version of the Brix SFF chassis (taller) that includes support for four 2.5-in hard drives.  Powered by a 4th Generation Intel Core (Haswell) Core i5-4250U processor, this system is aimed towards the NAS market.  In particular, those that want tiny NAS devices.

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With a total fluid capacity of 1.2 liters (please don't fill your Brix with liquid...), the Brix Max includes a USB flash port, 802.11n Wi-Fi, HDMI output, Gigabit Ethernet and four USB 3.0 ports.  Maybe more surprising is the fact that this unit was running Android and marks the first time we have seen a Haswell platform running the OS.

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Gigabyte demoed the Brix Max powering a handful of networked devices and providing media content and backup storage for all sorts of other operating system.  I am still not sure what kind of software was running on the Android OS to facilitate the NAS functionality but the Max includes the ability to set users, partition different share locations and more.  Hopefully we'll be able to get a sample in at the offices to test out and let our readers know how an Android-based NAS can perform.

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PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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CES 2014: ADATA shows new PCIe SSD and unique OTG flash drive

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2014 - 08:20 PM |
Tagged: PCIe SSD, OTG, CES 2014, CES, adata

ADATA will be rolling out their own PCIe SSD, this solution opting for the SF3700 controller due out later this year. Their demo produced the same 1.8 Gb/sec sequential read speed we saw over at Kingston earlier today:

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While the above solution is SF3700-equipped M.2 adapted to standard PCIe by a ustom PCB, ADATA was also showing an operational PCB which had the components direct mounted:

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Note the heat sink to help dissipate the heat produced by the SF3700. We hope the heat output will be optimized as development of this new controller progresses.

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We also saw a unique spin on the OTG-style USB flash drive we'd been seeing all around CES this year:

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Instead of having a common center containing the flash memory, they have made the center section into more of an adapter to bridge the super-small USB drive (right) across to the micro-USB port (left). An advantage of this format is that you could use the same adapter to bridge pretty much any standard USB flash drive over to an Android device.

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CES 2014: Plextor launches M6e PCIe SSD (and a sneak peek)

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2014 - 08:02 PM |
Tagged: plextor, PCIe SSD, M6e, CES 2014, CES

This morning Plextor launched their new M6e PCIe SSD. Their press blast appears after the break, but before you do so, check out the pics we grabbed earlier today:

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The M6e is essentially an interposer board that simply interfaces the Marvell controller / Toshiba flash M.2 PCIe SSD to a standard desktop class PCIe connector. This solution is slower than the upcoming SF3700 solution being implemented by Kingston and ADATA, but this product is shipping now, while the SF3700 will not be production ready for at least another six months time.

Full press blast appears below:

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CES 2014: Kingston shows PCIe SSD, comfy headsets, DDR4, and gaming seats

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2014 - 07:47 PM |
Tagged: SF3700, Predator, OTG, Need For Seat, kingston, CES 2014, CES

We swing by Kingston this morning to see what was cooking. Here we go:

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OTG compatible dual micro / standard USB drive that's physically a tiny bit smaller than the Corsair model we saw yesterday.

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This was probably the most comfortable headset I've ever put on. The padding is real leather wrapped over memory foam, and the arms are aluminum for durability. It really didn't feel like it was on at all, aside from the reduction in background noise from the room, assisted by the denser memory foam.

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Here is a reference Intel chassis populated with a whopping 384GB of DDR4-2133.

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This modules were populated with Hynix DDR4 modules.

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...and this staggering speed and capacity was able to be run by the reference board in multi-channel mode. That's a serious amount of RAM running at a serious speed. Speaking of things running at serious speeds:

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Here is the Kingston HyperX Predator, a PCIe SSD. The unreleased LSI SandForce SF3700 is capable of 1.8 GB/sec as it is a native PCIe implementation. The only catch is we will have to wait until mid-late 2014 for these to launch. Kingston is ready, but SandForce is not. Here is the 2.5" version of the same, demonstrating that the SF3700 is also capable of configuring for a SATA 6Gb/sec link:

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We also saw some cool looking "Need For Seat" office / gaming chairs. They were fairly comfortable, and the backs pivot nearly flat, just like the seats in your car:

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In addition to differing looks, each model has a different cushion layout, so I recommend trying to sit in the one you intend to buy prior to doing so.

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CES 2014: Corsair Flash Voyager GO - closer look

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2014 - 11:20 PM |
Tagged: usb, On-The-Go, Flash Voyager GO, flash, corsair, CES 2014, CES

Earlier today, Corsair announced the Flash Voyager GO combination micro USB (OTG spec) / USB 3.0 (standard connector) drive. Being the storage nut that I am, I got a closer look while the rest of the PCPer gang were checking out the new cases, keyboards, and power supplies. Here are some more detailed pics for your viewing pleasure:

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Connected to an Android smart phone:

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Connected to a laptop:

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Yes, you're seeing things correctly. The 'back' end opposite the micro-USB port is actually another USB port supporting USB 3.0 speeds.

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

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CES 2014: OCZ shows Barefoot/Toshiba powered Vertex 460 and new Z-Drive 4500

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2014 - 10:56 PM |
Tagged: z-drive, toshiba, ssd, ocz, CES 2014, CES, barefoot 3

Earlier today we swing by OCZ for a look at what was new. First up is a fresh launch, the Vertex 460:

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This new SSD will sport a Barefoot 3 M10 controller driving Toshiba 19nm flash. With OCZ's recent acquisition by Toshiba, this makes things handy, as OCZ can now source this flash at a much lower cost. I suspect much of OCZ's lineup will make a similar transition as time goes on.

Also up is a few changes in the enterprise sector:

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The Intrepid (center) sticks around, while the PCIe solutions get a bit of a shuffle. To the left is the Z-Drive 4500, which is a shorter iteration of OCZ's previous enterprise offerings.

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The Z-Drive XL (right) may look a bit familiar from the back. It's actually a slight repackage of the Z-Dive R4. The main tweaks here were cooling optimizations and a heatsink that keeps the same form and function as the smaller 4500.

We will have a review of the Vertex 460 up in a few weeks time, and we are happy to see OCZ won't be going anywhere any time soon.

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CES 2014: PEPCOM Tidbits: Western Digital and Linksys

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2014 - 10:20 PM |
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, router, linksys, CES 2014, CES, 802.11ac

Western Digital:

Last night at the PEPCOM Digital Experience, we swung by Western Digital's booth. While there are no new launches at CES, it's always nice to see the full spread all laid out on display:

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4TB Green and Black, 1TB Blue, Ultra Slim drives, and of course the Black2.

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The other table shifts to backup and external storage, scaling up through the My Cloud to the larger EX4.

Linksys:

My eye was also caught by the behemoth of a router that is the Linksys WRT1900AC!

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This beast is way more than an evolution on the old WRT54G. While there are four antennas, the dual band Marvell radios are only 3x3 capable. They can, however, choose among the four antennas to achieve the best possible throughput. The '1900' rating comes from 1300Mbps (5GHz) + 600Mbps (2.4GHz). This router will be Open-WRT capable out of the box, so you can expect the folks like DD-WRT and Tomato to have usable firmware built very shortly after launch, which is expected sometime around April of this year. Let's check out the ports:

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Not only is there USB3, but we also have eSATA for even faster connectivity. Throughput to connected storage should be stellar as the on-board CPU will be a 1.2 GHz dual core ARM. Radios and CPU will be cooled by a built-in fan, and Linksys also noted they will be launching an 8 port Gigabit switch in a matching (and stackable) form factor. Open source firmware buff tech note: 128MB Flash, 256MB RAM. MSRP: $299.

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CES 2014: Micron makes further advances in DDR4 memory

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2014 - 09:57 PM |
Tagged: ram, micron, memory, ddr4, CES 2014, CES

While the Crucial did not have much in the way of new flash memory product launches this year, Micron as a whole has been busily churning out further revisions of DDR4 memory. While our visit last year only revealed a single prototype for us to look at, now we have all of the typical form factors covered:

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From top down we have enterprise, enthusiast, OEM, and SO-DIMM form factors, all populated with DDR4 parts. All that needs to happen now is for motherboard and portable manufacturers to get on board with the new technology. As with all chicken-and-egg launches, someone needs to take the first plunge, and here we can see Micron has certainly been on the leading edge of things. That enterprise part above is a full 16GB (not bits!) of DDR4 capacity.

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Source: Micron DRAM

CES 2014: Corsair Flash Voyager GO is On-The-Go (OTG)

Subject: General Tech, Storage, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2014 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: OTG, On-The-Go, Flash Voyager GO, corsair, CES 2014, CES

So this makes sense, finally. USB On-The-Go is a specification which allows for devices to perform as either a USB Host or a USB Slave at will. In other words, your can plug your phone into your PC via its MicroUSB 3.0 (Update: It looks like I'm wrong and it's Micro USB 2.0) connection to synchronize files and charge it and then, later, have that same port accept USB thumb drives. Of course, that requires a USB storage device with a MicroUSB 3.0 2.0 plug.

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The Corsair Flash Voyager GO USB OTG is one such thumb drive. It has the ability to plug into MicroUSB 3.0 2.0 ports on Android OTG-compatible phones and tablets. For convenience, it also has the ability to plug into full-sized USB 3.0 making it useful for both phone and laptop or desktop. USB 2.0 is also supported. It registers as a standard USB Mass Storage Device so no special software is required for Windows, Mac OSX, or Linux.

I find this very interesting albeit I am not a mobile user. I do wonder when we will see large capacity harddrives using this standard. It seems like a natural progression as demand for phones with video-out increases. Flash memory is nice but, when compared to microSD cards which are not vulnerable and hanging out of the USB port, I am not sure if there is enough capacity. Again, I am not a mobile user. I know that someone out there already has their credit card out.

The Flash Voyager GO will be available in 16 GB ($19.99 USD), 32 GB ($29.99 USD), and 64 GB ($49.99 USD) variants. It is rated to transfer at up to 135 MB/s over USB 3.0.

Press release after the break.

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Source: Corsair